25.00.040     FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE        (CALEA 83.2.3)


Evidence containing latent fingerprints will be packaged in such a manner that external conditions will not destroy or contaminate existing fingerprints.  Latex gloves or similar protective gloves should be worn, and items should be carefully handled with forceps or tongs, and touched only on non-evidentiary surfaces.  If contamination due to handling occurs, elimination prints must be obtained.


Latent prints should be developed and removed from the surface(s) of items with Department approved equipment such as dusting powders, brushes, clear and frosted tape, fingerprint cards, etc.


Wet items bearing latent prints, such as beer cans or glasses, that have condensation on their surfaces, or automobiles covered with rain/dew, should first be allowed to dry under normal conditions.  Heat lamps or artificial heat from any source should not be used.  If in doubt, consult with the Department’s Forensic Specialist prior to processing.  Visible prints subject to destruction under conditions of normal processing should first be photographed before extraordinary measures are taken to further develop or collect them.


Should the process of physically lifting a print from the surface of an item subject the print to alteration or destruction, it is recommended that the fingerprint tape be left attached to the item and the print photographed before the item is re­moved from the scene and processed further.


Items believed to be covered with latent prints which fail to develop under normal processing methods should be packaged to protect their surfaces in order that cyanoacrylate fuming or other advanced forensic techniques may be applied by a qualified person.


Whenever latent prints are removed from an item and placed on a fingerprint card, the fingerprint card should contain the following information:  officer's name, date, case number, brief diagram or explanation of source of print and direction of print in relation to surface, and evidence number.  All fingerprint cards must be signed and numbered by the collecting officer.