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Latent Prints Unit

The Latent Print Unit is one of the largest in the United States and is comprised of civilian Forensic Print Specialists, who perform the following duties:

  • Process crime scenes for development, collection, preservation, and documentation of latent print evidence – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Collect shoe / tire impressions
  • Obtain fingerprints from dead bodies
  • Search latent prints in the Los Angeles Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (LAFIS), the California Department of Justice AFIS (CAL-ID) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)
  • Analyze, compare, evaluate and verify latent prints to suspect’s, victim’s and decedent’s prints
  • Use specialized chemical enhancements and alternate light sources to develop latent prints
  • Digitally photograph chemically developed latent prints
  • Utilize various computer software applications for enhancing latent prints
  • Provide expert witness testimony in local, state, federal and international courts
Forensic Print Specialists undergo rigorous specialized training to gain the skills, knowledge, abilities and experience to analyze latent print evidence.  Latent Print analysis requires visual acuity and exceptional patience.  These forensic technicians must demonstrate competency in each aforementioned duty prior to assignment of independent casework.  Successfully completing annual proficiency testing is also required.