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Latent Prints Unit
The Latent Print Unit is one of the largest in the United States and is comprised of 70 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.
In 2011, the Latent Print Unit responded to nearly 17,000 requests for crime scene investigation.