ATF National Laboratories
Types of Fingerprints
- creates a permanent record
- tracks criminal history
- fingers, palms, soles of feet
- establishes presence at the crime scene
Obtaining Inked/Rolled Prints
- Have subject wash hands prior to printing
- Print the fingers, palms, writer's palm
- Note all missing and unprintable fingers
- Make sure prints are clear & legible
- Use thinly rolled ink--not porlon ink pad
- Agent and suspect should sign & date card
- visible/ patent
- Prints are affected and effected by:
- person touching surface
- the receiving surface
- the conditions of the scene
- how item is packaged, shipped & processed at lab
- ATF Form 4473
- the original 4473
- original print card if available
photograph of printcard--not photocopy!
- include palm and "writer's palm" prints
Factors Concerning Prints
- Time between print deposit and development directly effects print recovery.
- Improper shipment techniques can wipe off or eliminate prints.
- Lab specialists have the training, equipment, and are willing to assist
in the field.
Packaging and Shipping
- Make sure all items are dry before packaging and transporting to lab.
- Plastic and visible prints: photograph before object is moved or print
- Invisible prints: with proper training/experience, agents may use superglue
method to fix prints prior to shipping.
- Non-porous evidence:
- Print lies on surface (examples: guns, pipe fragments, plastic fragments,
metal cans, plastic bags, drug scales, glass).
- Do not allow these types of items to come in contact with other objects.
- Do not allow item to shift inside packaging.
- Do not use styrofoam packaging materials.
- Remember to clear and render-safe all guns
before shipping (use wire or nylon tie downs to secure inside box).
- Always wear gloves & handle object as little as possible.
- Porous evidence:
- Moisture from print is absorbed into the matrix (examples: paper, untreated
- Wear gloves when handling object
- Use paper envelopes, document protectors, or heavy duty plastic bags
- Wrap wood & cardboard boxes in paper
Reprinted with permission.