Latent criteria in SOP

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Latent criteria in SOP

Postby radarmoose » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:38 pm

What do you have written in your SOP regarding when a latent is considered of value or no value, and similarly when a latent is of sufficient quality for AFIS entry or not (or if you don't have it written in an SOP do you still use some sort of standard)? I have seen posts saying some people have this in their SOP, and I've heard people mention it, but I've never heard/seen the specifics. For it to be in an SOP or used as a standard I'm assuming there are some objective criteria, and I'm interested to know how different agencies approach this.

Todd
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby MitchR » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:25 am

I'm new to this community and would like to see some responses to this request. This area is one that could assist our operation greatly. Thanks in advance for responding.
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby MitchR » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:47 am

205 views and no responses; could that be the answer? No one has this criteria codified in their procedures?
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby Charles Parker » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:09 pm

The following are the views of the author and not necessarily those of any public agency or non-profit organization.

Mitch I have several theories why people do not answer anymore:

1. Their agencies really frown on them communicating anything that their agency does not have full control over----that is why so many are make believe names. This is sometimes called a god complex or squashing freedom of speech.

2. They are really concerned over the comments that Defense Attorneys and Defense Experts swim these waters trying to pick up little tidbits here and there that can be used against them.

3. Most fingerprint people are like hard core poker players and hold their cards close to their chest and out of sight and will only share them if someone pays for it.

4. Most fingerprint people could care less, and they are more into it being “A JOB” and not a profession. They are more interested in weight lifting, YMCA, donuts, Academia, and what others think and not what they think.

5. Most fingerprint people have gone underground into what I call e-mail cells where there are groups who communicate with those who have like beliefs but not those with different beliefs. You have the Elite Cells, the Academic Cells, the Science Cells, the Non-Science Cells, the Federal Cells, the State Cells, and the Plain Jane Cells.

Mitch those are my views on why no answer. I would send you mine but we are currently re-writing them for ISO. Give me six months and send me an e-mail and I will send you what I have.
Knuckle Draggin Country Cousin
Cedar Creek, TX
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby MitchR » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:46 pm

Thanks for the response. After 25 years in the business with the past 16 exclusively as a firearm examiner (prior to that a latent/crime scene/trace evidence examiner) I have seen many changes and am well acquainted with reluctance to change, but change is upon the forensic community. One of the guiding principles in forensics is there is "no secrecy of method"; this taints the very idea that we are scientific and unbiased as examiners regardless of the discipline. I understand that attorneys troll these waters the same as I do theirs (NACDL, Innocence Project, et al) but that shouldn't stop professionals from sharing information. I made the request because after all these years I am likely positioned to assume a more managerial role in the department and want to inform myself with best practices presently in the discipline. Thanks for your input and would appreciate any insight into the initial question that began this thread.
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby Michele » Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:11 pm

I didn't initially post this because I recognize that our office may do things a little differently than other offices and I didn't want to confuse anyone (or have to explain why we do what we do). I'm sure my explanation would make for interesting debate but it would also be a little long for a chat board conversation.

We have different parts of our SOP's that pertain to different issues. As an example, when determining value, we aren't making a conclusive decision; we are labeling anything that has the 'potential' to be valuable. There is no criteria for this, it is at the examiners discretion but must pass the verification process (we verify everything). Ultimately I think all our procedures can be summed up by the way we define verification. It seems to cover all aspects of casework and not just the comparison process and the resulting conclusion.

From our SOP:
Verification is the impartial review by another examiner. The verifier needs to determine if necessary documentation exists, sufficient objective data is present, if appropriate tests (consulting and/or blind testing) were completed to arrive at the conclusion, and if any additional steps could be taken to produce better or more accurate results in the case, such as additional AFIS searches. A verifier scrutinizing the comparison and arriving at the same conclusion is corroboration of the results, not confirmation. Individualizations that are not clearly apparent may need additional verification. Additional verification is at the discretion of the examiner(s) but is highly recommended.
Michele
The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it. Alan Saporta
There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. Peter Drucker
(Applies to a full A prior to C and blind verification)
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby radarmoose » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:01 am

Thanks, Michele.

And thanks, Mitch, for your interest (and keeping this topic near the top!)

If you are one who has a reply but are unable to post due to one or more reasons outlined by Charles, please PM me or e-mail me at masulat@wyomingmi.gov. I will keep all replies strictly confidential. I really would like to hear your thoughts as we are updating our SOPs. By the way, just because I use a moniker does not mean I am trying to conceal any identifying information (it was simply a funny combo of youthful nicknames), and I regret any angst it may be causing. I am a crime scene technician/latent print examiner (officially Evidence Technician III) for Wyoming (MI) PD. My info can be verified in any IAI directory.

Thanks,
Todd M. Masula
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby MitchR » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:27 am

Michele wrote:There is no criteria for this, it is at the examiners discretion but must pass the verification process (we verify everything). .


May I interpret this that another examiner has to agree with the primary examiner that the latent is "of value" or "of no value"?
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby Boyd Baumgartner » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:16 am

Gosh Michele, it looks like you plagiarized my office's SOP....

The short answer Mitch is yes, Examiners have to agree on everything including the analysis value. It's really pretty academic though, for instance what if one Examiner thinks an impression is AFIS value and the other says no? We don't then rip up the AFIS runs and invalidate them. The examiner still verifies the AFIS runs, and notes that they do not think the quality warranted an AFIS run and in the instance it's a big deal, they'd provide documentation why they thought that. More often than not if there's disagreement, we keep the print 'open' in the case.

Remembering that we do not know ground truth, it would be somewhat short sighted to be rigid in closing the door on the comparative value of an impression if it is borderline. Regardless, even once we complete the case, it is still open for scrutiny by the Quality Assurance methods, Defense Consultants, or even later generations with better technology or who just need to rework a cold case.
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Re: Latent criteria in SOP

Postby ressinln » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:51 am

Charles Parker wrote:The following are the views of the author and not necessarily those of any public agency or non-profit organization.

Mitch I have several theories why people do not answer anymore:

1. Their agencies really frown on them communicating anything that their agency does not have full control over----that is why so many are make believe names. This is sometimes called a god complex or squashing freedom of speech.

2. They are really concerned over the comments that Defense Attorneys and Defense Experts swim these waters trying to pick up little tidbits here and there that can be used against them.

3. Most fingerprint people are like hard core poker players and hold their cards close to their chest and out of sight and will only share them if someone pays for it.

4. Most fingerprint people could care less, and they are more into it being “A JOB” and not a profession. They are more interested in weight lifting, YMCA, donuts, Academia, and what others think and not what they think.

5. Most fingerprint people have gone underground into what I call e-mail cells where there are groups who communicate with those who have like beliefs but not those with different beliefs. You have the Elite Cells, the Academic Cells, the Science Cells, the Non-Science Cells, the Federal Cells, the State Cells, and the Plain Jane Cells.

Mitch those are my views on why no answer. I would send you mine but we are currently re-writing them for ISO. Give me six months and send me an e-mail and I will send you what I have.

[color=#004080][color=#004080][/color][/color]


Most generalizations are too broad to be of any value. I do suspect, though, that each description above would/could apply to a specific instance at one time or another.
However it is my belief that when we speak to each other, in this type of format, we do it like we are next to each other and not standing in front of an impanelled body of some sort. That is, we are speaking to each other in everyday english and not legal-eeze. Then to exacerbate that, individuals who have polarizing opinions, or ulterior motives, will cull empirical data from the text and draw disingenuous if not wrong conclusions. Then years later a law clerk will pull that statement, from a format just like this one,for a trial and the meaning is now out of context and will be lost to time. Just look at all of the stuff in appeals court regarding: "weapon of like kind", or ambiguous and unambiguous statements made around around miranda (exclamation of disbelief awareness of situation and even where the conjunction or participle was located. On and on ad nauseam...)
I do not speak like I am publishing a legal brief and neither do most people. So why be pulled into court years later for a statement lost to memory and time.
I know many CLPEX's and all of them without question work hard to provide a solid product and to pass on knowledge and information to others in the field.
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