|Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2001 - 08:24 am: ||
Interesting question and one I haven’t considered in my 30+ years in the area of fingerprint identification.
The 1997 version of the FBI Applicant Fingerprint Card has an entry, “Signature of OFFICIAL taking fingerprints” (CAPS added). However, early versions of this card, circa 1973, only have a requirement for a “Fingerprinted By” signature, and a 1947 version has the entry, “Signature of individual taking prints”. A review of “The Science of Fingerprints”, published by the FBI does not address any requirement on the qualifications and authenticity of the person recording the fingerprints. I’m not sure about the addition of “Official” to the entry, except to make is appear more official.
Is what makes this interesting is the fact that record fingerprint cards were initially filed according to the patterns appearing at the specific finger positions represented on the card with the “assumption” the fingerprints were recorded in their proper position. An “individual” recording the fingerprints could “mix” the arrangement and the record would not be “matched” to a previously submitted card. The technology of current AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems) can identify this skullduggery and link record fingerprint cards with different pattern arrangements.
It response to your question, I know of no licensing or certification requirement of a person recording fingerprints. Individuals can receive formal training in the taking of fingerprints or learn through self-training using publications published by the FBI and available through local US Government Publication centers. That seems to be the case with formal (criminal and job applicant) record fingerprint applications and would be so with informal (fingerprinting children programs) applications.
|Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 03:41 pm: ||
I was wondering if an individual needs to be licensed in order to take fingerprints to be kept on record? For instance, I have no experience with taking fingerprints, nor am I certified. Would I still be able to legally take an individual's fingerprints?
|Posted on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 02:31 pm: ||
Yes, there existed databases in 1971 to effect the identification. At least three plausible scenarios are:
1. Linking through NLETS Bulletins - A police agency in any of the 50 states reads a bulletin on NLETS (National Law Enforcement Teletype System) and sees something which sparks their interest from another jurisdiction's murder... they contact the agency reporting on NLETS to cross-compare unidentified latent prints and link both cases based on those latent-to-latent comparisons.
2. Linking through manual single-print files - Many agencies in 1971 shared criminal intelligence activities and associated unsolved latent prints. Here is an excerpt about manual (non-computerized) single print files from the Journal of Forensic Identification, 42(3), 1992, page 225:
Filing systems based upon individually recorded and encoded fingers are not new. Throughout the history of fingerprint usage, numerous agencies have employed various manual single fingerprint classification codes. The most well known and widely accepted single finger filing system was developed by Sir Harry Battley, former Chief Inspector in charge of the Fingerprint Bureau, New Scotland Yard, London, and published in 1930. By the end of the 1930’s, the FBI was using a modified Battley system to file single prints of at least 150,000 individuals. Other departments utilized filing systems similar to the FBI’s modified Battley, or designed original single print methods, for the same purpose: a means of searching a latent print within a specialized file of known offenders. 3. Linking through machine-assisted single print files - AFIS was just beginning in 1971, but "Miracode" machine assisted single-print filing systems were already in use in Georgia, New Hampshire, and North Carolina by 1971.
Regarding how long fingerprints can last after deposition, as stated in the FAQ's here:
Fingerprints on paper, cardboard and unfinished wood can last for up to forty years (per actual casework histories) unless exposed to water (and contaminate transfer prints can even then sometimes persist). Fingerprints on non-porous surfaces such as plastic, metal and glass can last for years if not exposed to water and if left undisturbed.
|Posted on Monday, June 18, 2001 - 01:25 pm: ||
I am currently writing a novel, in which a crime is committed in 1971. Fingerprints were left. The perpetrator had no history. He again committed another crime where prints were taken a few years later. Question: Would there have been a date-base thirty years ago that could have tied these two scenes together, and if so, what agency would have had that? Local police would have investigated both crimes, except they occurred in two different states.
Thanks. Jim Ernst Also: how long after a print is left could an impression be taken?