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Guidelines for Forensic Document Examination, Part 6

NCJ Number
Forensic Science Communications Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2000 Pages: 1-8
Date Published
April 2000
8 pages
The FBI Laboratory's Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination presents its Guideline for the Safe Handling of Contaminated Document Evidence and the Preservation of Associated Trace Evidence.
The purpose of the guideline is to describe safe evidence-handling methods that will preserve document evidence and other types of forensic material. The guideline is intended to apply when the preservation of document evidence is an issue because other forensic evidence coexists with the document. Types of evidence and/or contaminants addressed are documents, latent prints, biological evidence, and trace evidence. The guideline requires that the forensic document examiner have the following available: gloves (cotton, neoprene, or latex); disposable dust mask or other type of mask; indirect vented safety goggles; protective clothing; fume hood; forceps/tweezers; and paper storage bags, sealable transparent document protectors, transparent archival quality document protectors, and biohazard labels. The guideline's section on general procedures requires that items be logged and identified by using an appropriate writing medium, evidence labels, or other markings in accordance with laboratory protocols. Examiners should then determine whether or not the items will be processed for latent prints, contain trace evidence, or contain biological contaminants. Procedures are described for handling and preserving latent print evidence, items that contain trace evidence, and items that contain biological contaminants evidence. Other guidelines' provisions pertain to examination techniques for biologically contaminated document evidence and examiner safety. An explanatory discussion of the guideline addresses latent print evidence, biological contaminants, techniques for the examination of biologically contaminated evidence, and immunizations.