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We’re all familiar with law enforcement’s obsession with acronyms, right? Well, RUVIS is one you may not have seen or heard of while watching your favorite cop show.

RUVIS (Reflective Ultraviolet Imaging System), a system of locating latent (invisible) fingerprints) without the use of powders, fumes, or chemicals, was developed by Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories and the U.S. Army. The system focuses on one specific section of shortwave ultraviolet light, the germicidal spectrum of light, which cannot be seen by the naked eye.

A particularly unique feature of RUVIS technology is that it works in both total darkness and in bright sunshine, a must for use by police investigators.

KrimeSite Imager in use by a police detective.

The Krimesite Imager, manufactured by Sirchie, uses RUVIS technology to detect invisible residues from fingerprints. Those residues reflect UV light projected from the device, which immediately captures the reflections with a 60mm UV lens. A built-in scanner then converts the images to visible light, allowing the investigator to see the fingerprint. All this is done instantly, in real time. And, the detective is able to see images from up to fifteen feet away.

 

KRIMESITE IMAGER Master RUVIS Kit

The Krimesite Imager uses RUVIS technology to detect invisible residues from fingerprints. Those residues reflect UV light projected from the device, which immediately captures the reflections with a 60mm UV lens. A built-in scanner then converts the images to visible light, allowing the investigator to see the fingerprint. Again, this takes place in real time and the detective is able to see images from up to fifteen feet away!

Once the print is located the investigator uses the Imager to photograph it and, with the use of a micro-printer, print a copy of the desired evidence. All this without the messy powders that never seem to wash away. The KS Imager can also be used to greatly enhance prints developed using cyanoacrylate fuming (Super Glue).

Krimesite Imager

  • Detects latent fingerprints without the use of powders or chemicals.
  • Effective on smooth, non-porous surfaces (flooring, walls, countertops, tables) and on multi-colored surfaces like magazine covers.
  • RUVIS uses shortwave UV light.
  • Enhances the ability to see cyanoacrylate fumed prints without using dye- staining, lasers, or alternate light sources.
  • Detects other “invisible” evidence you may not have otherwise seen.

To learn more about the Krimesite Imager, a device that’s an absolute must for the crime scene investigators in your stories, visit Sirchie’s guide to Ruvis and ALS (alternate light sources) Systems.


Those of you attending Writers’ Police Academy’s 2019 special event, MurderCon, will see the KrimeSite Imager at the very location where the devices are manufactured. Yes, during a tour of Sirchie’s absolutely amazing facility you will see this device and much, much more. I cannot stress enough how cool and rare this opportunity is for writers.

Sign up today to attend this rare opportunity for writers. Hurry while there’s still time!

https://www.writerspoliceacademy.com

This year, 2019, the Writers’ Police Academy has gone far outside the box to provide a rare opportunity for writers, fans, readers, and anyone who’s fascinated with the knowledge of how homicide investigators solve even the most complex cases. It’s called MurderCon and its name says it all. The four day event is all about the crime of murder.

MurderCon is not a writers conference where attendees learn plotting and sentence structure and how to land an agent. Not at all. MurderCon, as its name suggests, is designed to help writers bring much-needed life into their “death” scenes, and how their characters should go about reaching a solution to those cases—collecting and preserving evidence, interrogating suspects, examining blood evidence, concealing a murder using fire, and clandestine grave investigations, to name a few.

 

 

In addition to the steps involved when investigating a homicide, MurderCon offers the little things, facts and intricate details that you’d never, not ever, have the opportunity to experience, unless, of course, you’re an actual homicide investigator.

It’s those nitty-gritty details that make readers turn pages and stay up all night hoping to solve the crime before the hero of the tale brings the case to its conclusion. They’re the points that could send your stories soaring to levels you might never have achieved without attending this extraordinary event.

“When writers graduate from MurderCon, they’ll have the knowledge to describe what really happens—and doesn’t happen—in a homicide investigation.” ~ Sirchie’s Vice President of Product Development and Training, Dyer Bennett

During this intense weekend, we’re offering a collection of amazingly detailed and hands-on classes and training sessions that are typically available only to law enforcement. You will indeed participate in actual training at the very source of crime scene and forensic technology, the one and only training and manufacturing facility of Sirchie.

Buried Bodies, a MurderCon session taught by Dr. Bryan W. Brendley, is an outdoor session with demonstrations of various stages of a clandestine grave excavation. Dr. Brendley currently serves as a cold case consultant. In addition, he’s an expert in Clandestine Grave Recovery, Forensic Palynology, Drowning Forensics, Land- and Water-Based Crime Scenes, and Forensic Dental Identification.

Sirchie, the global leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions, is, to put it simple terms, is an industry leader staffed by a team of famed professionals who research a need, develop a product to meet those needs, and then manufactures and distributes those products to law enforcement worldwide. They fabricate and make available thousands of products, from patented fingerprint brushes and powders all the way to high-tech surveillance and evidence collection vehicles, and lots more in between.

In addition to tools and equipment, Sirchie offers world class, high-level training at their elite Youngsville, N.C. compound. It’s a private facility that sits on a sprawling property. Their renowned group of instructors are some of the best in the business.

Sirchie instructors teach classes, courses, and workshops to law enforcement professionals from local and state police forces as well as officers and agents from federal agencies, including state prison systems, airport security, FBI agents focused on counter terrorism, and Treasury and Secret Service agents. International students travel to Sirchie from countries ranging from Italy to Mexico and Argentina to Qatar.

To give you an example of the level of instruction MurderCon attendees will receive … remember the horrific Polly Klaas kidnaping and murder? This was a convoluted investigation that involved multiple law enforcement agencies—local, state, and federal, including the FBI—over 4,000 volunteers who assisted in the search, major television network shows such as America’s Most Wanted and 20/20.

Over 500 search team members from 24 agencies were involved in what was the largest effort of its kind in the state of California.

One of the key investigators involved in the Polly Klaas investigation was David Alford, a Sirchie and MurderCon instructor.

Agent Alford, now retired after 21 years of service, was one of the founding members of the FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT).

Since David and crew founded the extremely vital ERT team, it has grown tremendously and is now composed of supervisory special agents, forensic canine consultants and operations and logistics management specialists, and management and program analysts.

The ERT program supports teams in all 56 FBI field offices to ensure evidence is collected in such a manner that it can be introduced in courts throughout the U.S. and the world.

*ERT information and image source – FBI.gov

David also conducted crimes scene searches on numerous international violent crimes and bombings, as well as being involved the search of the Unabomber’s cabin and the 9/11 Pentagon scene. He’s a Forensic Serologist, Hair and Fibers Examiner, and Bloodstain Pattern Analyst.

David Alford’s session at MurderCon exposes attendees to proper methods to locate, identify, and enhance blood evidence. Also included in this workshop are chemical search methods using luminol and Bluestar. Attendees will also receive an introduction to blood patterns and what they can tell an investigator about a scene, as well as instruction regarding the identification of blood by using chemicals to enhance suspected blood patterns.

And this is only one of the renowned and highly-skilled instructors and the classes offered at the 2019 MurderCon event. When we say MurderCon is the real deal, well, that’s exactly what it is.

Sirchie’s Vice President of Product Development and Training, Dyer Bennett says MurderCon attendees will be trained the same way they train law enforcement. And, writers who’ve attended prior WPA courses can expect the learn-by-doing philosophy to continue. Every course will have a hands-on component.

They’ll see and do what officers see and do.


MurderCon is about knowledge. It’s about exciting and teasing the senses of both you and your readers. It’s about enhancing your credibility as an author. It’s about fun.

“Having first-hand experience will allow writers to portray crime scene details realistically; and it will let them share with their readers how it feels to investigate a homicide.” Dyer Bennett

For details about the Writers’ Police Academy special event, MurderCon, please visit our all new website.

Registration opens at noon on Sunday February 24, 2019 EST. Please keep in mind that past WPA events have sold out on the first day. Sometimes within an hour or so of the opening of registration. That’s how wildly popular and important these events are to writers, readers, and fans. So please be ready at noon on Sunday. Believe me, you do not want to miss this one. It’s amazing!

MurderCon

 

Detective Pete Gitterdone had a spotless attendance record, never missing a day for sickness during his entire thirty-three years with the department. He was so proud of his achievement, in fact, that he refused to stay at home on this particular day, a time when his fever hovered at 102.

Coughing and sneezing fits forced him to spend the majority of the morning with his mouth and nose buried deep into a crumpled, crud-dampened, and extremely yucky handkerchief.

Gitterdone, feeling all achy and fatigued, was busy collecting suspected blood samples (brownish red stains for the official record) at a particularly brutal homicide scene, alternating between hacking and achooing, when his partner, Detective I. Lergictowork, told him he looked sickern’ a dog, like death warmed over, and asked if he needed a break.

Gitterdone promptly turned his head away from his partner and fired off a round of wet sneezes directly into the large paper bag of already-collected evidence. “No,” he said. “I’ll be okay. Besides, I’m almost done. Just a couple of prints to lift and I’m outta here.”

He tipped his head toward a desktop where a few sheets of yellow legal pad paper sat among a scattering of pencils, pens, and colored paperclips. “Looks like the suspect might’ve touched these papers,” he said. “How ’bout handing me a can of Ninhydrin. There’s one in my kit.”

Ninhydrin reacts with amino acids to produce a purple reaction product called “Rhuemann’s Purple”. It is useful on porous surfaces—especially paper. ~ Sirchie

So, did you notice anything particularly wrong with Gitterdone’s method of evidence collection? If so, what?

After watching these two work, well, it might be a good idea to have both Gitterdone and Lergictowork read this list of Crime Scene Do Nots. It might help to have your protagonist take a peek as well.

Crime Scene DO NOT’S

1. Do Not blow away excess fingerprint powder! Doing so adds your DNA to the surface.

2. Do Not use Styrofoam to package electronic devices (computer parts, etc.) because it can cause static charges. Instead, use foam padding or bubble-wrap.

3. Do Not alter or add anything to a crime scene sketch after leaving the scene. Memories are not quite as accurate as we may think.

4. Do NOT place bloodstained evidence in plastic bags. Plastic bags and containers can serve as incubators for bacteria, which can destroy or alter DNA. Rule of thumb – paper bags/containers for wet evidence (blood, semen, saliva, etc.) and plastic for dry evidence.

5. DO NOT collect DNA evidence samples (saliva, blood, etc.) from a criminal suspect without a court order, the suspect’s consent, or during exigent (emergency) circumstances.

6. Do NOT cough, sneeze, exhale, etc. over any evidence sample. This also includes talking over a sample. With each word spoken comes your DNA that’s instantly transferred to the sample.

7. Do NOT fold wet documents. Leave that to the professionals in the lab.

8. Do NOT use fingerprint tape or lifters to collect bits of trace evidence. The adhesion on print lifting tape is insufficient for picking up tiny bits of evidence.

9. Do NOT use dirty digging tools when collecting soil samples. Always clean tools thoroughly after each use to avoid cross contamination.

10. Do NOT use fingerprint lifters in lieu of gunshot residue (GSR) collection materials. (see number 8 above)

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Fingerprint lifter – Sirchie image. I used Sirchie lifters all the time during my career. In fact, I still have a few leftover from my crime-solving days.

11. Do NOT allow shooting suspects, victims, witnesses, etc. to wash their hands or rub them against other surfaces until after GSR tests/collection have been completed.

12. ALWAYS remember #6 – Do NOT cough, sneeze, exhale, talk, etc. over any evidence sample.
Hapci-fr


Bonus – Transferred Prints

Do NOT write a transferred fingerprint scene without first giving it a ton of serious thought. Here’s why:

Yes, it is indeed possible to transfer a fingerprint, even accidentally. However, a skilled examiner should be able to spot duplicates since they tend to appear very thin and thready. Also, the background area surrounding the “new” print may not match the surface of the place where the transferred print was left. Background pattern(s) transfer along with the print.

Here’s where writers often make their mistakes when setting up characters to “take a fall” for another character. Transferred prints are mirror/reverse images and would be easily recognized by a skilled examiner. It’s possible, though, that an inexperienced print examiner, one who’s new to the field, may not catch it right away. But that scenario is highly doubtful.


BIG, BIG, BIG Writers’ Police Academy news is on the way. The 2019 WPA is a special event, one unlike anything we’ve presented in the past. And when I say special, I mean it’s over the top S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! I am so pleased and thrilled to present such an exciting opportunity for writers. This has never been done before, not ever!

For now, though, I’d like to share the dates and the location so you can make plans to attend. Please keep in mind that due to the nature and location of this unique program space/slots are limited. We’ll soon begin to announce more specific details but, for now …

Date – August 1-4, 2019

Location – Raleigh, N.C.