The Latent Prints Section provides fingerprint support services to all law enforcement agencies of Allegheny County, the County Medical Examiner's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Latent fingerprint lifts are examined for the presence of latent impressions of value (fingerprints, palmprints, finger joint impressions). Latent prints of value are then compared to known or inked impressions of a known suspect and examined for specific characterizations for the purpose of identification. These prints are then retained in the open case file (unsolved) for future comparison, if and when requested.
Crime scenes are processed for the presence of latent fingerprints by examining the scene for latent prints on non-movable objects. All items of evidentiary value are collected and preserved for examination. Inked fingerprints are recorded of victims of crime scenes for elimination purposes.
The Latent Print Section assists the Medical Examiner's Office in the identification of unknown deceased persons. Recorded inked impressions are searched through the central repository (master files) to establish identification of the unknown deceased person.
The Latent Print Section went "on-line" with Pennsylvania State Police Automated Fingerprint Identification System (A.F.I.S.) in 1990. Several major felony cases have been solved utilizing this automated system.