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Monday, September 28, 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 Stephanie Potter

Bloody fingerprints on safe of Indiantown church lead to former ...
TCPalm 09-21-09
By Lamaur Stancil (Contact) INDIANTOWN — Bloody fingerprints on a church's cracked safe led the Martin County Sheriff's Office to charge a former worshipper ...

Charge filed in May slaying of Bolingbrook man
Bolingbrook Sun 09-25-09
About a week ago, investigators determined Calloway's fingerprints were inside the car after they got a "hit" on the Automated Fingerprint Identification ...

NY terror plot built on beauty store chemicals, feds charge
Christian Science Monitor 09-24-09
Following the purchases, Zazi checked into a hotel room in Aurora, Colo., that contained a stove where authorities found his finger prints and trace amounts ...

Tempe man arrested in series of condo arson cases
AZ 09-24-09
Police said they found his fingerprints at the scene of two separate fires. They arrested the Walmart store manager Wednesday at his home at the complex ...

Docs Show Caylee Evidence Destroyed 09-25-09
The claim was based on a fingerprint examiner at the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory reporting that she saw the shape or outline of a heart on ...

Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
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IAI Conference Topics -
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Documentation issues as they apply to latent prints
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Historical topics related to latent print examination
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Updated the Detail Archives

Last week

I replied to Drs. Ralph and Lyn Haber as they provided public record of their testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month. Their response to my questions and your feedback on the forum will be the subject of next week's Detail.


This week


SWGFAST Standards for Minimum Qualifications and Training to Competency for Friction Ridge Examiner Trainees

Revised Document for Comment


Note a few revisions in the document:


1) The title of the document now clarifies that it applies only to trainees, not to examiners trained to competency.

2) The preamble clarifies why the document is combined for latent and tenprint examiners. It cites the IAI Resolution 2009-10 which states that both communities practice the same discipline. (exact wording should be posted soon to the forum)

3) The preamble also clarifies that the degree requirement is intended not to apply to friction ridge examiners already trained to competency.

4) Henry classification was moved from a minimum of "Understanding" to "Awareness"

5) New objective 4.1.12

 6) over-all clean-up of the document.

The comment period is listed on the website as being through January 29, 2010. There will also be a way to submit comments through the SWGFAST website very soon. I will announce that in the Detail as soon as it's available.

I would encourage you to review the document in it's intended .pdf format from the SWGFAST website. You can access the previous version of the document text in the Detail 415 on the Archives page. SWGFAST will soon be making available the older versions of all documents on their website, so stay tuned for that update as well.






(To Replace: Minimum Qualifications for Latent Print Examiner Trainees, ver. 2.1, Training to Competency for Latent Print Examiners, ver. 2.1, and Minimum Qualifications and Training to Competency Standards for Latent Print Examiners, ver. 1.0 Draft For Comment)



This outline provides the recommended training program to achieve competency as a friction ridge examiner trainee. A friction ridge examiner conducts analysis, comparison, and evaluation on impressions from the raised portion of the epidermis on the palmar or plantar skin. Complex friction ridge examinations occur in latent print and tenprint environments.1


1 See the International Association for Identification Resolution 2009-10


The friction ridge examiner trainee must demonstrate knowledge of required objectives by successfully completing written tests and practical exercises. The trainee must also communicate an understanding of the objectives and underlying principles. It is also strongly recommended that trainees demonstrate knowledge of the supplemental objectives listed in this document.


Prior to becoming a friction ridge examiner, candidates shall possess a bachelor’s degree. The degree shall be from an accredited institution and shall include science-related coursework. This degree requirement is not intended to apply to friction ridge examiners who are already trained to competency.


In addition to the objectives listed below, the examiner must achieve competency in the objectives outlined in the following SWGFAST documents: Standards for Conclusions and Friction Ridge Examination Methodology for Latent Print Examiners.


Instructors and mentors must have demonstrated competency in the topic areas they instruct.

The training period for a new trainee in the field of friction ridge examination shall consist of thorough instruction (e.g., mentor sessions, research and papers, presentations, moot courts), continued testing, and apprenticeship (supervised casework) for the following duration:


Latent Print


Minimum: One year of full-time latent print work with the majority of the time spent on the analysis, comparison, and evaluation of impressions.


Recommended: Two or more years of full-time latent print work with the majority of the time spent on the analysis, comparison, and evaluation of impressions.




Minimum: Six months of full-time tenprint work with the majority of the time spent on the analysis, comparison, and evaluation of impressions.


Recommended: One or more years of full-time tenprint work with the majority of the time spent on

the analysis, comparison, and evaluation of impressions.


1 Required Objectives


1.1 Performance and Time Requirements (e.g., minimum passing score, minimum or maximum completion time requirement)


1.2 Principles and Foundations

1.2.1 Understand the basic foundations for friction ridge examination (persistence and uniqueness) as a means of identifying the source of an impression

1.2.2 Understand the biology and physiology of friction ridge skin

1.2.3 Knowledge of the history of fingerprints

1.2.4 Understand the use of fingerprints, palmprints, and footprints in criminal and civil applications


1.3 Friction Ridge Pattern Recognition and Interpretation

1.3.1 Understand common terminology (e.g., arch, loop, and whorl) and definitions associated with friction ridge pattern recognition

1.3.2 Understand pattern recognition and interpretation associated with operational needs of the individual agency

1.3.3 Understand friction ridge formations as they relate to recognition, interpretation, and individualization

1.3.4 Awareness of classification systems (e.g., Henry, American, Vucetich, NCIC)


1.4 Friction Ridge Examination (Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, and Verification)

1.4.1 Understand the individual friction ridge structure (e.g., continuity, texture, pore, and edge definition) for determining the existence of individualizing details

1.4.2 Ability to analyze friction ridge details to determine the value for comparison

1.4.3 Ability to recognize and utilize friction ridge flow, scars, creases, and other friction ridge details for supporting the examination

1.4.4 Ability to recognize and properly determine, when possible, the area from which the friction ridges originated

1.4.5 Knowledge of how to properly analyze friction ridge impressions and understand effects such as processing technique, color reversal, pressure distortion, slippage, and overlays

1.4.6 Ability to properly conduct a comparison

1.4.7 Ability to render a proper and accurate conclusion

1.4.8 Understand the practice and purpose of verification by another competent friction ridge examiner

1.4.9 Understand the role of quality assurance measures in friction ridge examination

1.4.10 Knowledge of various methods used to record known friction ridge impressions and the ability to properly evaluate ridge structure based on each method

1.4.11 Knowledge of alteration and mutilation of friction ridge skin

1.4.12 Knowledge of genetic abnormalities of friction ridge skin (e.g., dysplasia, cuspal patterns, dissociated ridges)

1.4.13 Knowledge of the benefits associated with obtaining elimination prints and complete friction ridge exemplars

1.4.14 Knowledge of simultaneous or adjacent friction ridge impressions and their value for examination

1.4.15 Awareness that different policies and standards exist in the United States and other countries regarding friction ridge identification (individualization)

1.4.16 Awareness of the impact(s) resulting from an erroneous conclusion


1.5 Friction Ridge Detection and Preservation (Required for latent print and recommended for tenprint, based on the operational needs of the individual agency)

1.5.1 Knowledge of the generally accepted techniques for the detection and visualization of friction ridge impressions

1.5.2 Ability to assess the effectiveness and results of applied processing techniques

1.5.3 Understand generally accepted preservation methods for friction ridge impressions


1.6 Documentation of Examination

Understand the level of documentation (Required for latent print and recommended for tenprint, based on the operational needs of the individual agency)

1.6.1 Case records

1.6.2 Chain of custody of the evidence

1.6.3 Latent print processing

1.6.4 The examination process

1.6.5 Evidence marking

1.6.6 Report writing


1.7 Communication

Ability to accurately explain friction ridge examinations and conclusions in written and oral form


1.8 Legal Issues

1.8.1 Understand the role of expert witness testimony

1.8.2 Knowledge of factors regarding the admissibility of evidence

1.8.3 Knowledge of relevant court cases and case histories

1.8.4 Understand the rules of discovery and evidence

1.8.5 Knowledge of applicable legal challenges to admissibility

1.8.6 Understand critical challenges to the discipline


1.9 Demonstration of Competency

Ability to demonstrate all phases of training through practical exercises

1.10 Professional Development

1.10.1 Participate in continuing education

1.10.2 Awareness of relevant professional organizations and publications

1.10.3 Adherence to a code(s) of professional conduct



2 Supplemental Objectives


2.1 Principles and Foundations

2.1.1 Understand early methods of personal identification (e.g., scars, marks, tattoos, Bertillon system)

2.1.2 Awareness of personal identification methods other than friction ridge skin (e.g., iris scan, face identification)

2.1.3 Understand the applications of friction ridge impressions for manual or automated repositories for “single print” and “unidentified friction ridge impressions”

2.1.4 Understand the objectives outlined in the SWGFAST Standard for Friction Ridge

Automation Training (Latent/Tenprint)


2.2 Professional Development Goals

2.2.1 Continued formal education

2.2.2 Contribute to educational opportunities (e.g., seminars, conferences, schools, lectures)

2.2.3 Membership in relevant professional organizations

2.2.4 Achieve International Association for Identification (IAI) or equivalent professional certification in tenprint or latent print examination, as applicable




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

Have a GREAT week!

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