New York State Police

Forensic Identification Unit

Investigators identifying latent prints using specialized equipment

Investigators use a Reflected Ultra Violet Imaging System (RUVIS) to identify latent prints on evidence in a homicide case.

The unit that conducts Latent Print analysis for the FIC is the Forensic Identification Unit or the “FIU”. This unit, comprised of sworn Members of the Division of State Police, is one of ten such units within the Division, however is the only one that is under the direction of the FIC. The remaining FIUs are located across New York State within each of the Troop Headquarters. The FIU located at the FIC conducts a variety of analysis on submitted items of evidence which are separated into 3 different subdivisions; Latent Processing (LP) cases, Latent Examination (LE) cases, and Quality Assurance Review (QAR) cases.

Latent Processing:
LP cases involve the forensic testing of submitted items of evidence for the presence of friction skin impressions, such as fingerprints and palm prints. The processes utilized to develop these impressions vary depending on the composition of the item, and may include the use of alternate light sources, chemical applications, and fingerprint powders.

Latent Examinations:
LE cases involve the evaluation of these developed friction ridge impressions to determine their value for identification and ultimately their comparison to a known source, such as an inked fingerprint card. If sufficient agreement exists between the developed friction ridge impressions and the known inked impression, an identification may be declared.

Quality Assurance Review:
QAR cases occur when one of the nine Troop FIUs identify a developed friction ridge impression to a potential suspect or a defendant. The case is then submitted to the FIC/FIU where the authenticity of the friction ridge impression and the identifications are verified.
This unit also serves as one of 13 satellite sites for the Statewide Automated Biometric Identification System or “SABIS”. Sufficient impressions that have yet to be identified may be entered into SABIS where they are subsequently searched against the known impressions (finger and palm) of more than 15 million individuals on file with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). At times, unknown impressions may additionally be searched against the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System or “IAFIS”.