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It was nearly seven years ago to the day when I first made the three-hour drive from our North Carolina home to the 130 acre Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories compound, and I could barely contain my excitement. After all, the folks at Sirchie are probably the best in the world at what they do and the mere thought of the many superstars of crime-fighting from around the world who’ve been trained at Sirchie is almost overwhelming. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of crimes that have been solved using Sirchie products—products that are made right there on the compound.

After traveling for what seemed like an eternity, while answering emails and phone calls regarding the Writers’ Police Academy, the sprawling Sirchie property appeared on my right. The first thing that caught my attention was the golf-course-like green grass that stretched as far as the eye could see. And it was surrounded by what appeared to be an endless, gleaming, white 3-rail fence. A large gate, complete with a coded-entry system, was the only break in the fence. Very impressive.

I made the right turn off the winding country road I’d been traveling since I left the bustle of interstate traffic and headed through the opening in the metal gates. Two or three huge, white buildings sat at the end of the drive. And there was a beautifully-landscaped pond in front (I later learned the pond was even stocked with fish). There were no signs or identifying markers—nothing—to let anyone know that this was indeed one of, if not THE premier crime-fighting operations in the world. But, I soon saw a personalized license plate on a vehicle that let me know I was in the right place. The lettering had something to do with crime scene investigation. Bingo.

Anyway, the purpose of my trip was to meet with the folks who run the massive Sirchie operation to discuss their involvement with the Writers’ Police Academy. I can’t begin to tell you how lucky the attendees of the WPA are to have the opportunity to learn from Sirchie instructors. They’re the best-of-the-best and they teach the best-of-the-best. Needless to say, this is a rare opportunity and I’m so pleased to be a part of it.

After our meeting, I was given a tour of the place. And here’s a little of what I saw.

Impression evidence

All sorts of goodies filled tabletops, such as these flashlights equipped with special lenses used for seeing what the naked eye can’t.

Assembling narcotics field-testing kits.

Extensive instruction on bloodstain patterns is offered at Sirchie. WPA recruits will have the opportunity to attend one of these fascinating workshops, by the way.

Bloodstain class area.

Learning to recognize patterns.

Road-mapping to determine Area Of Origin.

So, how would you like to attend some of the extremely elite and specialized law enforcement-only classes at Sirchie? Well, you know me. I’ve got something up my sleeve that just might get you inside this very private world. Interested? Stay tuned …

 

I am extremely pleased to announce that we, the Writers’ Police Academy, have once again teamed up with Sirchie (formerly Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratories – name change since the company offers so much more) to offer three unbelievably exciting sessions.

So why and how is this good news for you, you ask?

Well, Sirchie is sending instructors to the WPA to teach three over-the-moon fantastic classes. The super-cool aspect to this is that the information they’ll provide to you is not taught to the general public. This is typically for law enforcement eyes only!

Wow, think of the exciting details you’ll be able to add to your tales. It simply does not get any better than this. Please take advantage of this opportunity, if any way possible.

For those of you who don’t know about Sirchie, and every crime writer should …

Sirchie is the Global Leader in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Science Solutions; providing quality Products, Vehicles, and Training to the global law enforcement and forensic science communities.

Exciting sessions to be taught by Sirchie at the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy (writerspoliceacademy.com):

FRIDAY MORNING:

“Murder, Death, and Mayhem”

3-hour presentation on medico-legal death investigation covering the following main topics:
A. Manner, Mechanism, and Cause of Death
B. Various types of wounds
C. Homicide statistics and other relevant numbers pertaining to various causes and manners of death
D. A unique murder case study
E. The realities and competencies of CSI and homicide detectives/teams/agents/CSI’s

FRIDAY AFTERNOON:

“Taking Photos of a Ghost – Learning How to Photograph What Your Eye Can’t See”

3- hour hands-on presentation regarding photography in the visible and InfraRed spectrums. The presentation will explore the ability to take photos in total darkness while creating “ghost” images of participants as well as how to visualize a laser.

*FRIDAY EVENING SPECIAL PRESENTATION*

“The Wonderful World of Crime Scene Evidence – Blood, Impression Evidence, and the Little Things That Matter”

Sirchie will conduct presentations followed by hands-on practical exercises on the following topics:
· Find, identify, and Enhance blood patterns and prints
· Basic Crime Scene Processing Procedures/Sketching
· Identifying and collecting 2 and 3-Dimensional impression Evidence
· Macro Photography of Small Evidence

*Slots are available to the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. Hurry before they’re gone. This is the 10th anniversary and it’s a blowout! See you there!

WritersPoliceAcademy.com


By the way, Sirchie is my go-to source for many aspects of crime scene investigations. In fact, they provided information and photos for my book about police procedure and investigation.

Especially for you, an O-R guide to fingerprinting … and more.

Oil Gland– Unlike eccrine and apocrine glands, which are sweat glands, the sebaceous gland is considered an oil gland.

Oligodactyly– Having less than the ordinary number of fingers or toes.

Orthodactyly– Fingers and toes cannot be flexed.

Ortho-Tolidine– A dual-purpose chemical that works both as a presumptive test for blood and has also been used to develop fingerprint detail on human skin.

Osborn Grid Method– Superimposing a grid on photographic enlargements of latent prints found at a crime scene as well as the inked fingerprints of a suspect(s). Scientist then painstakingly examine both, square by square looking for matching individualities.

Os calcis– A bone in the foot.

Osmium Tetroxide (Osmic Acid Fuming)– A fuming technique used to process items for latent fingerprints. Due to excessive costs and dangers associated with the product, it is now rarely used, if ever.

P.

PBFE– Probability Based Fingerprint Evidence.

Papillary Ridges– Rows of eccrine glands situated along the trail of fingerprint

friction ridges.

Patent Print– Fingerprints that are visible without development. (Latent prints are typically invisible to the naked eye).

Pathology– The study of causes, nature, and effects of diseases, trauma, and other abnormalities, and the changes to the body created by them.

Pattern Formations– Details of fingerprints created as early as the third month of gestation.

Pelmatoscopy– The scientific studies of the friction ridges of the soles of feet.

Pen Pack/Penitentiary Packet– A pen pack is the comprehensive imprisonment record of an inmate that’s supplied by the Department of Corrections. When fingerprints are included in the pen pack, and they are indeed typically found there, they’re used for comparison purposes. Other information found in pen packs are terms of confinement, background intelligence, and other similar details.

Perceptual Set – The tendency to see what we expect to see.

Phalange– Any bone in the fingers or toes.

Phalangeal– Of the bones in the fingers and toes.

Physical Developer– Chemical processing technique to develop latent prints on porous items. The technique was developed in the 1970s to develop fingerprints on porous items.

Pincushion Method– AKA the Constellation Method.  This outdated technique was used in the first half of the 20th century to compare prints and to confirm an identification. Investigators pushed pins through each of the ridge characteristics of both latent (prints discovered at a crime scene) and known prints (prints of a known suspect). They then compared the holes (from the reverse sides). If the holes on the latent print matched those of the suspect’s print, well, they had their man, or woman.

If you happen to have a copy of the April 1956 edition of Fingerprint and Identification Magazine, you could read more on the topic since it was featured in the issue.

Plastic Print– Fingerprint left in a malleable substance, such as clay or wax.

Points/ Points of Identification– Fingerprint ridge characteristics.

R.

RAM– Combination of Rhodamine 6G, Ardrox and MBD dyes. The mixture fluoresces when exposed to a special alternate light source, which in turn makes it possible to see prints developed using cyanoacrylate (Superglue) fumes.

RUVIS– Reflective Ultra-Violet imaging system that allows visualization of fingerprint detail in an ultraviolet spectrum. (see below for details and a video)

Redwop ™– A fluorescent fingerprint powder.

Rubber Lifter– A sheet of flexible rubber with adhesive on one side. Rubber lifters are used to “lift” latent prints.

Ruthenium Tetroxide (RTX)– Chemical used to enhance/see fingerprint detail on fabrics and other porous material such as some stones, leather, glass, tape, wood, plastics, and even human skin and wet surfaces.


RUVIS

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.

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. All this is done instantly, 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).

Note – I doubt many of you will be picking up one of these devices for your home CSI kit. The price tag is between $9,000 and $22,000, depending the style of devise selected.

 

Here’s a video shot at the Sirchie compound near Raleigh, N.C. It shows the Krimesite Imager in action.

Those of you attending the Writers’ Police Academy, take note, because you are in for a surprise! Yes, space is available! By the way, the event is open to all (writers, readers, fans, and anyone else who’s interested in participating in a thrilling, hands-on training event) And, it is FUN!.

In the meantime …

Especially for you, a J-N guide to fingerprinting … and more.

J.

JFI – Journal of Forensic Identification.

JFS – Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Joint – Hinged area where two bones are joined together.

K.

Keratinocyte – The major cell found in the epidermis.

Keratins – Highly insoluble fibrous proteins found in skin-related structures such as hair, wool, hooves and horns, claws, beaks, and even feathers.

L.

Latent Print – Friction ridge detail (fingerprint) that is not readily seen by the naked eye.

Law of Biological Uniqueness– Scientific Law stating that all items in nature are unique.

Leuco Rhodamine 6G – Reagent that reacts with the heme moiety of the hemoglobin of red cells in blood. It’s used to enhance and visualize fingerprints left in blood.

Leucocrystal Violet – A colorless form of gentian violet used to stain blood residue on both porous and nonporous items.

Lift– An adhesive or other vehicle used to transfer a friction ridge imprint (a fingerprint) from a surface.

Lights Out – Computer process where the AFIS computer automatically obtains friction skin features, searches the AFIS system, and presents an identification or exclusion based on a predermined score. No human is involved in this process.

Liquid Nitrogen – In its liquid state (-195 degree C), liquid nitrogen is ideal for the separation of adhesive surfaces.

Liqui-drox – A fluorescent yellow solution used to develop prints on both sides of dark-colored adhesive tapes.

Locard’s Principle of Exchange – Edmond Locard’s Principle of Exchange states that when any two objects come into contact, there is always transference of material from each object onto the other. (People entering a crime scene both leave and take away evidence, in some form).

Loupe – A small magnifying glass used in the identification and comparison of fingerprints.

Luminol – Chemical that glows with a bluish tint when it comes into contact with blood. it can detect blood at 1 part per million. It’s so sensitive, in fact, that one drop of blood within a container of 999,999 drops of water, will cause luminol to glow.

M.

MC’s – Major Case Prints.

MMD – Multimetal Deposition, a two step process using a colloidal gold and a physical developer solution to enhance latent prints.

5-MTN – Methylthioninhydrin, a reagent that reacts with amino acids to develop prints on porous items.

Medial Interphalangeal Flexion Crease – The middle crease on a finger.

Metacarpo-phalangeal Crease – Creases where the fingers meet the palm.

Microburst Method – Developed by the FBI, this method of developing prints is designed to expose a nonporous item to a large amount of Cyanoacrylate (Superglue) fumes for a small amount of time. The Superglue is positioned into a chamber heated to temperatures above 300 degrees. The item to be printed is then placed in the chamber for 30-45 seconds.

Minutiae – Small details.

Molybdenum Disulfide – Chemical used to prepare Small Particle Reagent (SPR). SPR is a means to develop latent fingermarks on wet, non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, metals and even the sticky sides of tape.

N.

NCFS – National Commission on Forensic Science.

NCIC – National Crime Information Center. To learn more about NCIC, click here.

NFB – National Fingerprint Board of England and Wales.

NV – Abbreviation for “No Value,” meaning a print has no value for identification purposes.


Stay tuned for exciting Writers’ Police Academy news. In the meantime, space is available so please hurry. Sign up today. This year is absolutely incredible!!