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NCJ Number
J D Ferrara
Date Published
47 pages
This manual is intended as a practical guide and basic training tool for novices in latent fingerprint processing and as a handy reference for detectives experienced in this field.
Following a brief history of fingerprint identification, the author defines the terminology used to describe fingerprint patterns. Another section of the manual profiles the structure and operations of the New York City Police Department's Latent Print Unit. The primary function of this unit is to identify latent impressions recovered from various crime scenes and to compare and identify baby footprints. A discussion of latent prints as evidence defines three types of chance imprints: latent (not visible to the naked eye), patent (visible), and plastic (visible and molded). The review of the mechanical aspects of latent print development explains fingerprint powders and their use and tools used for dusting, photographing, and lifting latent prints. Other sections of the manual describe chemical methods of latent print development; procedures for developing, photographing, and lifting latent prints; and reasons why latent prints are not always found at crime scenes. Advice is provided on searching suspected surfaces for latent prints, probable locations to search for latent prints, latent prints on firearms, and the packaging of articles that have latent prints on them. Other topics addressed include elimination prints; the recording of inked fingerprints, palm prints, and major case prints; identification based on fingerprints and on footprints; automated finger and latent print identification system; detection of prints by laser; and determination of the age of latent prints on a surface. The manual's concluding sections discuss latent print development on human skin and the transferring of latent prints from one surface to another. 22 illustrations