The APD Latent Print Section is a specialized unit consisting of a Supervisor, 6 Latent Print Examiners, and 2 APFIS Technicians. All latent prints collected in the field and in the laboratory are forwarded to this section, where they are evaluated for AFIS suitability, searched in the local AFIS database, and stored. Personnel also utilize the state AFIS database and the federal IAFIS system to conduct inquiries.
The local, state, and federal AFIS systems provide the latent print section with many thousands of associations, which help investigative units at APD solve crimes. The systems don’t actually ‘see’ the images input for searching, but use an algorithm to search many thousands or millions of prints based on the plotting of minutiae. Locally, the APD latent print section will identify approximately 20% of all latent finger and palm prints searched through the local system.
The Examiners conduct latent print examinations from requests received from Detectives and Officers, the District Attorney’s Office, neighboring outside agencies, and from AFIS associations. All new Examiners must complete a rigorous training program and demonstrate competency prior to conducting independent casework. All Examiners must successfully complete a yearly external proficiency test and participate in continuing education training and court testimony monitoring within their discipline.