Courses and Workshops


Click on any course title to view complete details.

Host agencies receive a 10% discount on host agency registrations.

Analysis of Distortion in Latent Prints

This three-day workshop focuses on the Analysis phase of the ACE-V (Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, Verification) process. During the Analysis of a latent print, the analyst is gathering information. The analyst is detecting the features they may use during the comparison, setting tolerances for variation in appearance, and determining the utility of the print. The ability to detect these features in the latent print and the establishment of tolerances for variation in appearance are inextricably linked to the distortion present in the latent print.

Essentials of Latent Print Examination:  Establishing Admissibility

There are two primary domains of knowledge that support the validity of latent print discipline: 1) science demonstrating the discriminating power of friction ridge impressions and 2) science demonstrating trained analysts are capable of providing accurate conclusions. While many analysts learn this information as part of training, they often struggle articulating these complex concepts to the trier of fact. This intense five-day course will review key concepts and research underlying both domains that can be used to support latent print admissibility. The instructor will facilitate discussions and mentor attendees.  Attendees will devise questions and answers covering the concepts and practice testimony. A few comparison exercises are provided to reinforce the academics. Additionally, a court case illustrating real-world application of these testimony methods is woven throughout the week. The content of the course is organized into four blocks that logically build on one another.

Power Palm Prints

This three-day workshop is dedicated to the friction ridge skin of the palms. Each region of the palms has distinctive ridge flows, patterns, deltas, and creases that can be exploited to determine the anatomical subregion, left/right handedness, and distal orientation of partial impressions (e.g. latent prints).  Additionally, deltas and patterns on the palms have distributions within the population that inform the rarity of these macroscopic features during the ACE (Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation) process.

Difficult Latent Print Decisions

The examination (ACE) of friction ridge impressions is rooted in two arenas: 1) the magnitude, variation, and hierarchical nature of the data available in the impressions and 2) the heuristics analysts use during the examination process. Latent prints that are clearly of no value for comparison and latent prints that contain a significant amount of diagnostic information (details from the friction ridge skin) are usually not problematic for latent print examiners. The suitability decisions and comparison decisions for these types of latent prints are often straight forward. Latent prints, however, range in complexity and are not always straight forward.

Analyst performance research demonstrated that approximately 10% – 15% of latent prints (within the studies) contained more ambiguous diagnostic information, making decisions more difficult (and less reproducible and less repeatable). In other words, different analysts examined the same latent print and arrived at different decisions. Also, the same analyst examined the same latent print at a later time and arrived at a different decision. The “answers” for those latent prints was not obvious.

This five-day workshop focuses on making decisions on difficult latent prints. It will include recognition of ambiguity in diagnostic information, approaches to the decision-making process, theoretical knowledge supporting decisions, and considerations for risk management.