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Frequently Asked Questions - Latent Evidence Unit

No.  The FBI conducts tire track comparisons; however, the case must meet the FBI case acceptance guidelines.  Please refer to the Handbook of Forensic Services — FBI

No.  However, the FBI has a footwear database. In order for a case to be processed by the FBI, the case must meet the FBI case acceptance guidelines.  Please refer to the Handbook of Forensic Services — FBI.

Yes, known shoes are needed for footwear comparisons. The OSBI will not analyze shoe impressions from scenes without known shoes. Please submit the actual shoes (not photographs) needing comparison to scene impressions.

Yes!  Fired cartridge cases can be processed for latent prints before or after Firearms examination.  Please make the request for both examinations during submittal.

It depends!  Depending on the item (size, texture, material) it may be possible to swab the item for contact DNA and perform latent print analysis.  The recommended course of action is consult with a DNA analyst and/or a latent print analyst allowing for discussion, as a team, the best examination for the specific evidence and circumstance.  Sometimes analysts don’t know if both analyses can be performed until the evidence is viewed by each analyst.

Many methods are valid for developing and preserving prints.  Generally, at a crime scene, the preferred method for developing latent prints is the use of black powder.  Latent prints developed with black powder can be lifted with fingerprint lifting tape and placed on a white background (i.e. white index cards or white paper). Good photography techniques can also be used to preserve developed latent prints.  The use of colored or fluorescent powders for latent print development is not recommended.  The use of hinge lifters for lifting developed latent prints is not recommended.   

The OSBI Latent Evidence Unit has more specialized methods for developing latent prints in the laboratory.  It is recommended that items that can be collected at a crime scene be submitted to the laboratory for latent print processing. If you have questions about the best way to proceed, please contact an OSBI latent print analyst for suggestions or guidance at 405-330-6724.

The OSBI Latent Evidence Unit has access to search the OSBI Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which is the state repository for criminal and civil fingerprint records in the state of Oklahoma.  The OSBI Lab has access to search the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) automated fingerprint database, which houses fingerprint records collected by OCPD. We also have access to search the FBI Next Generation Identification (NGI) system, which is the national repository for criminal and civil fingerprint records.  Additionally, OSBI can submit searches to the Department of Homeland Security Biometric Services Division or other agencies, as necessary.

Known elimination prints are not entered into any database.  A scanned copy of the prints is placed in the case record, as required by accreditation standards.  Once the case is complete, the original print card is returned to the submitting agency.

No.  While it is helpful to have known prints submitted, they are not necessary for latent print analysis and comparison to be performed, as unidentified latent prints can be searched through our automated fingerprint databases.

Known prints are a deliberate recording of a person’s fingerprints/palm prints. 

Known prints can be collected utilizing black printer’s ink on a standard tenprint card or clean white paper.  Known prints may also be collected electronically utilizing a Livescan device and printing the card for submission to the OSBI Latent Evidence Unit.  Please include the person’s identifying information including name; date of birth; signature; and, if on plain white paper, identify the anatomical source (i.e. finger—right thumb, left index, etc.; right or left palm).

Having an individual touch a surface before powdering and lifting the prints is not an appropriate method of collecting known prints.  If known prints are collected in this manner, they will not be examined by the OSBI Latent Evidence Unit.