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Monday, February 2, 2009

The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
by Kasey Wertheim
Jury expected to begin pondering murder trial verdict
a fingerprint from Darick Anderson left on a cigar box used to store cash in a safe at R.K. Jewelers was all that was needed to unravel the July 2 robbery and double homicide...
The Muskegon Chronicle, Sun Feb 01 18:09:34 PST 2009
Man wanted in Ore. killings arrested in Mexico
INDEPENDENCE, Ore. (AP) - a fingerprint lifted from the gun matched the suspect's prints from when he was arrested in Mexico
KOIN News 6 Portland, Thu Jan 29 04:28:10 PST 2009
California to Prosecute Joseph Edward Duncan
Although confessed child killer and sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan III is already facing three death sentences, the state of California plans to try him for the 1997 kidnapping..., Tue Jan 27 21:38:52 PST 2009
Forensics detective departs
... To be double sure, he sent the prints to the FBI, which confirmed that the prints were a match. ...
Buffalo News, Fri, 23 Jan 2009 11:23:51 GMT

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
Last Week's Board topics containing new posts
Moderated by Steve Everist and Charlie Parker

Public CLPEX Message Board
Moderated by Steve Everist

IAI Conference Topics -
Tampa Bay, Florida - 2009:
Moderator: Steve Everist

No new posts

Documentation issues as they apply to latent prints
Moderator: Charles Parker

  • No new posts

  • ___________________________________
    Historical topics related to latent print examination
    Moderator: Charles Parker

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    Updated the Fingerprint Interest Group (FIG) page with FIG #80; false friction ridges or "Schallamach Waves" from compression in relation to adhesive surfaces, submitted by I. Farrell with help from Ernie Hamm.  Last week was FIG #79; Ridge Disruptions - Injury with a Scar, submitted by Charlie Parker.  You can send your example (anonymously if you desire) of unique distortion through Charlie Parker:  For discussion, visit the forum FIG thread.

    Updated the Detail Archives

    Last week

    We looked at a relevant Crime Lab Report that discusses latent print examination. Although the report seems a bit one-sided and aggressive, they do bring up some points of interest to readers of the Detail this week.

    This week

    we look at a relevant Crime Lab Report that discusses latent print examination. Although the report seems a bit one-sided and aggressive, they do bring up some points of interest to readers of the Detail this week. 

    Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Examination

    • Call for Examples

      Project Management

      Susan Ballou

      Program Manager

      Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES)

      National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

      Melissa Taylor

      Project Manager, OLES/NIST



      Kasey Wertheim
      Max Houck

      Project Dates

      Start Date: December 2008

      Projected End Date: August 2010


      Project Description

      Human factors analysis can be used to advance our understanding of the true nature of errors in complex work settings. Research in this area has identified factors that contribute to inefficiencies and quantified the effects of human and organizational factors on performance of critical tasks The forensic science community can benefit from the application of the substantial body of human factors work to reduce the consequences and likelihood of human error in the scientific interpretation of evidence.

      To assist the forensic community in this effort, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Office of Law Enforcement Standards are sponsoring a series of expert panels to examine human factors in forensic analyses and develop practices to reduce the likelihood of error based on scientific research. The panels will also evaluate various approaches to numerically quantifying measurement uncertainty within forensic science analysis.

      Each discipline-specific working group will be comprised of experts from relevant forensic disciplines, statisticians, psychologists, researchers, and other scientific experts, in addition to representatives from the legal community, professional organizations and other identified stakeholder groups.

      The first working group in the series will focus on latent print analysis. The Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis is charged with examining current policies, procedures, and practices within the field of friction ridge identification to examine human factors in forensic analyses. The panel will examine current scientific research and develop practices for latent print to reduce the likelihood of error. The group will evaluate various approaches to numerically quantifying measurement uncertainty within latent print analysis and will publish its findings and recommendations.

      The Latent Print Analysis working group will 1) review current research relevant to latent print examination; 2) examine current hiring and resource allocation practices, operational processes and procedures, systemic policies, and training curricula and modalities; 3) evaluate the applicability of practices and models used in other fields, including other forensic disciplines, to fingerprint analysis; 4) review the feasibility of implementing new and emerging techniques, methodologies, technologies, and standards within existing resources; 5) identify areas for further study; 6) publish findings and recommendations.


      Project Objectives

      • Develop definitions for human factors terms as applied to fingerprint analysis.

      • Review current practices, processes, and procedures to identify and document where uncertainty and/or variability could occur for the purpose of reducing, eliminating, and/or measuring uncertainty.

      • Review current training curricula and modalities.

      • Evaluate new/emerging methodologies, technologies, and standards based on the ability to achieve expected outcomes; is it

          -Realistic: Can it be followed or achieved with existing resources?


          -Reliable: Does its implementation consistently yield the same result (all factors being equal)?


          -Valid: Is it based on scientific procedures or methodologies?


          -Clear: Is it understood in the same way by everyone concerned and not subject to distortion or misinterpretation?


          -Measurable: Can performance be assessed and quantified?



      This work will identify potential sources of uncertainty within latent print analysis and will lead to the development of guidelines, improved scientifically sound practices, and/or standards aimed at eliminating or minimizing potential sources of uncertainty as well as identifying future research in the area of quantifying uncertainty within pattern recognition disciplines.


      Membership & Collaborating Organizations

      Nominees have been selected based on demonstrated and recognized expertise in the forensic sciences and/or a relevant field of work; ability to balance scientific rigor with practical and regulatory constraints; and ability to work as a member of a team. Nominees represent a range of perspectives and multiple scientific disciplines.


      The group includes representatives from the International Association for Identification (IAI), the Scientific Working Group on Friction Ridge Analysis Study and Technology (SWGFAST), federal and state laboratories, the academic and legal communities, and other related professionals such as statisticians, and experts in human factors.

      The working group is interested in organizational, management, hidden, or individual factors that make comparisons difficult
      as well as weaknesses and vulnerabilities in methods, practices or procedures that contribute to the possibility of error.  I am hoping that members of the Weekly Detail can assist members of the Working Group by providing information that can contribute to upcoming discussions.

      Examples of information that could be provided are below. Please include details and consider both identifications and exclusions as you consider the following questions:

      What factors contributed to the most difficult
      correct conclusion you have ever made?


      Have you or a co-worker ever nearly committed an error?  If so, what factors contributed to the difficulty - and what factors eventually contributed to making the correct conclusion?


      Have you or a co-worker ever actually committed an error?  If so, what factors contributed to the error?


      Have you or a co-worker prevented an error from being committed?  If so, what factors were relied upon or what circumstances occurred that contributed to this scenario?


      Have there been situations or circumstances in your agency that you disagreed with because you felt they could lead to error? What were they and what did you do to correct the issue?

      The working group would sincerely appreciate your insights as you share as much detail as possible without disclosing information you feel may jeopardize the legal status of a case or the position of a co-worker. When possible, we would appreciate your contact information so that I can seek clarification on specific points if required, but anonymous submissions will still be considered - and all submissions to NIST collected from this venue will be anonymous.

      In order to consider your responses, they will have to be submitted this week, so please take some time to begin this task as soon as possible.  I am excited about the product that NIST will produce from this working group, and I hope you can share in contributing to this important endeavor.


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    Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

    Have a GREAT week!