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Bermuda Angle: Getting the Best From an AFIS

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 55 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2005 Pages: 585-593
Peter Downes
Date Published
September 2005
9 pages
This article explores ways to maximize the effectiveness of the AFIS (automated fingerprint identification systems), a computerized searching system for fingerprint and palm print identification, using the unique island of Bermuda’s AFIS.
Since 1926, there has been a fingerprint department on the island of Bermuda with criminals systematically finger- and palmprinted since this time. The database maintains approximately 8,700 (small in comparison to many places) different persons with a large proportion being local residents. However, in July 2003, Bermuda received its first computerized searching system, a stand-alone AFIS with finger and palm latent searching ability. Upon its arrival, best practices in its use needed to be developed. This brief article contains ways that were found to maximize AFIS hits, with the knowledge that enhancing hits entails the good inputting of latents. The AFIS in Bermuda searches each palm as a whole entity, thereby able to cope with full-hand searches with less input from the user. With the AFIS maintaining all finger- and palmprints of police personnel, crime scene hits have been obtained on police personnel. The AFIS can search all fingers and a wide selection of patterns. In having the benefit of whole handprints, there is the ability to search latents left by the lower phalangeal areas of the fingers, not just the distal area. Lastly, active criminals should have multiple sets of their tenprint records input into AFIS in order to gain maximum results. All fingerprint departments are encouraged to investigate systems that have the ability to search all parts of the hand, livescans systems, and the capability of multiple record entries. Figures