IAI Approved Training


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 were not obvious.

This five-day workshop, taught by Alice White, will focus 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.

Please bring loupes and ridge counters to perform the comparison exercises. Each attendee receives two notebooks to take home (a $90.00 value).  One notebook contains the lecture content and “unknowns”, while the second notebook contains the exemplar prints for comparison.

The cost for this course in the United States and Canada is $695 USD per student (the rate will be adjusted to accommodate taxes if applicable). For inquiries outside of the United States or Canada, please contact the instructor at Alice@EvolveForensics.com. Host agencies receive a 10% discount for all host agency registrations!

Day 1

During the first day of class, attendees will be provided the theoretical foundation for the discriminating power of friction ridge impressions. Alice will lace together observations from the embryological development of the skin with the results of research attempting to measure the discriminating power of the frictions ridge skin. Day 1 will end with complex comparison exercises selected to induce robust debate regarding the appropriate conclusion.

Day 2

The second day of class is all about Analysis. Attendees will learn about the richness and usefulness of the information available in friction ridge impressions. Sources of variation in “suitability” decisions will be discussed and attendees will spend the afternoon analyzing prints for suitability.

Day 3

The third day of class is all about Comparison strategies for difficult regions of the friction ridge skin. Attendees will focus on comparisons where the difficulty lies in the decision space between inconclusive and identification or inconclusive and exclusion.

Day 4

The fourth day of class is focused on Comparison strategies for palm prints. Attendees will practice establishing search parameters for palms (handedness, sub-region, and distal orientation) and perform palm print comparisons. Day 4 ends with a lecture regarding the challenges of establishing and implementing a suitability guideline for friction ridge impressions. During this lecture, attendees will reflect on the comparison exercises and discuss what made comparisons easy or difficult.

Day 5

The last day of class brings the entire examination process back into focus. In the morning, attendees will develop a suitability guideline and apply these criteria to the latent prints analyzed on Day 1. Attendees will be mindful of any decisions that changed and think about adjustments to the criteria that may be necessary. The day ends with a lecture about the verification process and methods of handling and documenting conflict resolution.