Crime Scene Investigator Network

Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

MAY 2016

Welcome to the May 2016 Crime Scene Investigator Network Newsletter

How Reliable Are
Latent Fingerprint Examiners?

National Institute of Justice

In this video, Brian Cerchiai discusses a NIJ-supported a study conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department on the accuracy of fingerprint examiners. The study found that fingerprint examiners make extremely few errors. Even when examiners did not get an independent second opinion about their decisions, they were remarkably accurate. But when decisions were verified by an independent reviewers, examiners had a 0% false positive, or incorrect identification, rate and a 3% false negative, or missed identification, rate.

Transcript of the video:

Research Conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department. Speaking in this video: Brian Cerchiai, CLPE, Latent Fingerprint Examiner, Miami-Dade Police Department.

The goal of the research was to determine if latent finger print examiners can make and be able to make identifications, exclude properly prints not visible to the naked eye. In this case, we had these 13 volunteers leave over 2000 prints on different objects that were round, flat, smooth and we developed them with black powder and tape lifts.

We did the ACE which is analyze compare evaluate. Where we gave latent examiners - 109 latent examiners - unknown finger prints or palm prints and latents to look at and compare to three known sources. So essentially, compare this latent to one of these 30 fingers or one of these six palms.

So as participants were looking at the latent list and comparing them to the subjects, we asked them if they could identify any of those three subjects as being the source of that latent print. In that case, they would call that an identification. If we asked them to exclude, we are basically asking them to tell us that none of those three standards made that latent or were not the source of that latent print.

That ACE verification (ACE-V) process works, secondly, the examiner looks at that comparison and does their own analysis comparison and gives their evaluation of that decision. When we found that under normal conditions where one examiners made an identification and the second examiner verified that no erroneous identification got passed that second latent examiner. So it had a false positive rate of zero.

So when we are looking at ACE comparisons where one latent examiner looked a print and one latent examiner analyzed compared and evaluate and came up with a decision. We came up- there was a false positive rate which basically an erroneous identification where they identified the wrong source.

Without verification, there was a three percent error rate for that type of identification. And we also tracked a false negative rate where given those three standards, people were erroneously excluded that source; where you're given the source, check one of these three people and then you now eliminate that one of those latent print does not come from one of those three people, even though it did. So that would be a false negative. And that false negative rate was 7.5 percent.

< read the complete article and view the video >

This Month's Featured Resource on the Crime Scene Investigator Network Website

The idea of The Fingerprint Sourcebook originated during a meeting in April 2002. Individuals representing the fingerprint, academic, and scientific communities met in Chicago, Illinois, for a day and a half to discuss the state of fingerprint identification with a view toward the challenges raised by Daubert issues. The meeting was a joint project between the International Association for Identification and West Virginia University. One recommendation that came out of that meeting was a suggestion to create a sourcebook for friction ridge examiners, that is, a single source of researched information regarding the subject. This sourcebook would provide educational, training, and research information for the international scientific community.
<View the Publication>

Featured Video Presentation
On our Video Presentations page:

Developing Latent Fingerprints with Magnetic Powder

Watch this video to learn how to develop fingerprints using magnetic powder.

<Video Presentations>

New CSI and Forensic Job Announcements

The most comprehensive listing of Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic
employment opportunities on the internet! We typically have over 400 current listings!

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Forensic Unit Supervisor
Virginia Beach Police Department, Virginia, USA

Final Filing Date: June 3, 2016
ndividual will direct, coordinate and oversee all administrative, operational and facility management functions within the Forensic Unit which includes evidence preservation/collection at crime scenes, fingerprint examination utilizing the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), digital imaging/analysis of evidence and civil identification; develop policy and procedures ...
<View complete job listing>
Forensic Scientist Trainee - Trace Chemistry Section
Illinois State Police, Cook County, Illinois, USA

Final Filing Date: April 20, 2016
Under immediate supervision, participates in the Trace Chemistry Section training program. Receives work assignments designed to develop knowledge, understanding, and technical skills related to examinations in specialty areas of the section which may include arson, paint and polymers, explosives, inorganic chemicals, alcohol, contaminants, cosmetics, direction of force in glass fractures, intoxicants, light bulb filaments, physical matches, and tear gas. ...
<View complete job listing>
DNA Analyst / Forensic Scientist II
Salt Lake City Police Department, Utah, USA

Final Filing Date: May 27, 2016
This is a working level classification. Incumbent performs a full range of scientific analysis on biological evidence (blood, semen, saliva, etc…) including presumptive screening and DNA testing using both STR and Y-STR methods. Performs quality control and quality assurance practices including ...
<View complete job listing>
Crime Laboratory Analyst - Digital Evidence
Florida Department of Law Enforcement, USA

Final Filing Date: June 30, 2016
Analysts in the Digital Evidence section conduct detailed laboratory examination and analysis of computer evidence involved in criminal cases at the request of law enforcement agencies.
<View complete job listing>
Latent Fingerprint Examiner
Miami-Dade Police Department, Florida, USA

Final Filing Date: May 20, 2016
Develops, evaluates, compares and identifies latent prints; prepares court exhibits and renders testimony in courts of law. Evaluates, enters, compares and identifies prints in the AFIS. Performs latent processes on items of physical evidence utilizing various chemical formulas. Evaluates latent evidence utilizing alternate light sources. ...
<View complete job listing>
Community Services Officer
City of Reno, Nevada, USA

Final Filing Date: May 20, 2016
Under general supervision, performs a variety of non-sworn law enforcement duties in support of assigned operations including taking crime reports, interviewing witnesses and victims, conducting crime scene investigations, responding to routine burglaries and traffic accidents, and other technical and administrative duties in support of assigned area; and provides information to the general public and answer citizen inquiries. ...
<View complete job listing>

Search for more job listings in Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics
<Crime Scene Investigator Network Employment Listings>

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or sign up for daily email alerts: Daily Job Posting Alert Emails

CSI in the News

Douglas County fingerprint expert working to perfect process of testing receipt paper
Her research is building a list of testing techniques crime investigators can use to find fingerprints that might otherwise be missed. She presented her findings to fellow forensics experts in recent months.
KETV 7 Omaha - Kristyna Engdahl - May 11, 2016

Slow crime lab stalls Teton cops
"I respect the work the crime lab does," Schultz said. "I just wish they had the resources to do it faster. Delays like we've been seeing are something we understand and live with, but they sure don't make our work any easier."
Jackson Hole News and Guide - Emma Breysse - May 11, 2016

Inside the NYPD Sketch Artist Unit
The unit cranks out hundreds of drawings each year. Wanted posters bearing their composite sketches have proved critical for detectives.
PIX 11 - MYLES MILLER - May 9, 2016

The British Compressed Gases Association releases paper to advise police on cylinder crime scene etiquette
The new resource, entitled 'Technical Information Sheet 40, Gas Cylinders at Crime Scenes,' aims to deliver expert guidance and is available online.
gasworld - Rhea Healy - May 9, 2016

Sheriff's Office has its forensics division delving into crime scenes
It's not "NCIS." It's not "CSI." It's BCSO. Actually, it is the forensics division at the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, and though it cannot process information quite like the TV shows, it is a very important part of criminal investigations in the community.
Cleveland Daily Banner - ALLEN MINCEY - May 8, 2016

New crime scene van needed
Space is one of the main issues. But it also serves as an office on wheels. It's a meeting point for investigators at a crime scene, and there's been a growing need for it in the last few years. Ideally their new truck will allow investigators to stand up while inside.
Illinois Homepage - Luke Ray - May 6, 2016

<Read more CSI and Forensics in the News>

Other Resources on the Crime Scene Investigator Network Website
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