Latent Print Short Courses

Evolve Forensics will be road-tripping between training sites in 2019! A listing of traditional training classes can be found on the Evolve Forensics Schedule. As Alice traverses North America between classes, she will offer the Short Courses listed below to agencies near her route.

Short Courses are intense, 4-hour lectures or workshops on technical, testimony, or management topics related to latent prints. Each of these courses are approved by the IAI for certification/re-certification training hours.

The cost of each course is $500 per course for 1 to 10 attendees. An agency may request one or two courses to be taught in one day. Alice will initiate contact with agencies and offer the training as she sets her schedule. Please feel free to submit an interest email to with your contact information (or click the “Contact Evolve Forensics” button below). Alice will maintain a list of interested agencies and organize her schedule accordingly.

LP101:  Articulating the ACE-V Process in Friction Ridge Examinations

Any discussion of training, testing, technical review, conflict resolution, process improvement, and errors must first start with an adequate description of the ACE-V process. The description of the process must include: 1) the magnitude, variation, and hierarchical nature of the data available in the impressions and 2) the useful (and necessary) heuristics analysts use during the examination of friction ridge impressions. Over the years, the comparison process has frequently been over-simplified to Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Details with “agreement” and “disagreement” during a side by side comparison. This over-simplification leaves tremendous gaps in the examination process. Those gaps become pitfalls for the analysts. Alice will present a more nuanced discussion of the ACE-V process that provides a pathway for the development of training programs and quality management systems. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training or 4 hours of courtroom testimony training.


LP102:  Introduction to Palm Prints

Palm prints have significant macroscopic features that help the analyst determine where and how to search a latent palm print. The exploitable macroscopic features of a palm print include: size and shape of the impression, major ridge flows, patterns, number of deltas, position(s) of deltas, major flexion creases, secondary crease patterns, and the relationship of these macroscopic features to each other. These features can be used by the analyst to assign efficient search parameters such as: distal orientation (“up”), handedness (left or right), and sub-region(s) (interdigital, thenar, and hypothenar). In this short introductory/refresher workshop on palm prints, Alice will serve as your guide to the terrain of palm prints. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP103:  Biological Distortion in Fingerprints

Fingerprints can display distortion due to a myriad of factors, but it all begins with the skin. This workshop will discuss variations in appearance between friction ridge impressions from the same source due to skin features that vary in their robustness, persistence, and reproducibility when the skin contacts a surface. Topics covered include: variation in hand formation and skin formation during embryological development, changes related to aging of the friction ridge skin, and temporary and permanent effects of damage to the friction ridge skin. Alice will illustrate the visual cues that can be used to identify these types of biological distortion. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP104:  Seeing Through the Noise: Exploiting Complexion Differences Between Ridges and Furrows

The term “complexion” simply refers the general aspect or character of an object. As applied to friction ridge impressions, complexion typically means: color, brightness, lightness, and texture. When the ridges and furrows are close in complexion (color, brightness, lightness, or texture), it can cause confusion. For example: 1) I thought I was following a ridge, but I am in the furrow or 2) I thought that was a bifurcation, but it turns out it is a streak in the furrow that mimicked a bifurcation.

A number of factors affect the complexion of the ridges versus the complexion of the furrows and creases. These factors include: the nature of the surface touched, the distribution of the residue on the skin, localized deposition pressure, and movement of the skin on the surface during contact. Changes in complexion of the ridges and furrows throughout a print can wreak havoc on our ability to track ridges (or track furrows). Alice will provide explanations and walk-throughs of latent prints displaying complexion changes. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP201:  Punctuated Equilibrium: The Evolution of the Latent Print Discipline

Key events have spurred research that has broadened our understanding of latent print evidence and latent print examiners. This lecture starts with a summary of the original 1992 Daubert decision in California (to lay the foundation for how science changed in the courtroom). The story then continues with the elements of the first Daubert hearing on fingerprints (United States v. Byron Mitchellin 1999); the impact of the Brandon Mayfield misidentification in 2004; and the evolutionary force of the 2009 NRC report on forensic science. Research in latent prints was already on the rise before the 2009 NRC report.

This lecture will summarize research before the report (what we knew then) and research after the report (what we know now). The research summarized will focus on our understanding of the science of latent prints (discriminability of fingerprints) and our understanding of those who examine latent prints (error rates). The lecture will wrap up with the latest discussions of latent prints in a 2016 report by PCAST (President’s Counsel of Advisors on Science and Technology) and a 2017 report from AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training or 4 hours of courtroom testimony training.


LP202:  The Discriminating Power of Friction Ridge Arrangements: Lessons from Developmental Biology, Twin Studies, Pattern & Minutiae Distribution Studies, and Statistical Models

The following questions will be explored in this lecture: What is developmental noise? What is developmental stability? What is fluctuating asymmetry? Why are some aspects of the friction ridge skin useful for determining the anatomical origin (finger, palm, foot) and distal orientation (up) of a latent print? Why are the arrangements of the ridges in the friction ridge skin highly discriminating? What features of the friction ridge skin do twins tend to share in common and why? Why do people have different fingerprints on their own fingers? Why do pattern force regions tend to have a high density of common minutiae (ending ridges and bifurcations) all pointing the same direction? Why are there more complex minutiae around cores and deltas in fingerprints? Why do thumbs and index fingers have more minutiae, and more variety of complex minutiae, than the other fingers? Everything starts with the skin…  This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP203:  Error Rates, Confidence Intervals, and PCAST: Oh My!

A dear friend once told me, “statistics is like a slippery fish, as soon as you think you have a grasp of it, it slips out of your hands!” Error rates and confidence intervals can certainly feel like a slippery fish. This lecture will cover the following: error rate study design, false negatives, false positives, error rate calculations, application of confidence intervals, and PCAST reporting of error rates and confidence intervals. This lecture will break down these statistics and provide attendees a foundation for explaining error rates in court. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training or 4 hours of courtroom testimony training.


LP204:­­­  The Nature of Visual Expertise in Latent Print Examiners

The “science” behind the examiner’s ability to analyze and compare latent prints to known prints is rooted in vision science. Concepts from vision science include the roles of the eye, the lateral geniculate nucleus, and the primary visual cortex in the processing of visual information. There are special ways an expert’s visual system processes information, such as configural processing. These special pathways separate novices and trained experts in many critical ways. This lecture will provide an overview of these vision science concepts and provide attendees a foundation for defending their expertise in court. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training or 4 hours of courtroom testimony training.


LP301:  Latent Print Training: Building Your Lab’s Future

When a latent print trainee is hired, there are typically three big spheres of knowledge and skills they have to acquire: Institutional Knowledge (how to function in their agency), Technical Skills (comparing prints), and Academic Knowledge (supports testimony). Academic Knowledge and Technical Skills must be appropriately ordered and layered to maximize the trainee’s learning. This workshop, facilitated by Alice, will provide attendees an opportunity to collaborate with peers designing the shell of an optimal training program.  This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP302:  Methods of Testimony Training and Assessment in Latent Prints

Training programs require both the acquisition of technical skills comparing latent prints and academic knowledge about the latent print discipline. The academic knowledge, however, isn’t just about “knowing” information; it is about being able to articulate the relevant information to a judge or jury. Being able to articulate concepts requires a deep understanding of the material and the ability to communicate effectively (often under stress). Testimony training isn’t just daunting for the trainee, it can also be daunting for the trainer. This lecture will offer methods trainers can use to develop and assess the testimony skills of a latent print examiner. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP303:  Developing Practical Exercises and Grading Rubrics for Latent Print Examination Training

An effective training program has the following: clear objectives that directly relate to job performance; effective training exercises that promote the acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job; and valid assessments of performance throughout the process. Latent print examination is a complex task with a host of necessary sub-skills. This lecture will offer methods that can be used to assess a trainee’s performance in the Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation of latent print evidence throughout the training program. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.


LP304:  Systems Approach to Investigating Errors in Latent Prints

When an erroneous conclusion occurs, it is tempting to focus the investigation on the “failing” of the analyst. The analyst, however, does not work in isolation. An analyst’s performance is affected by the system within which they perform their tasks. When an error occurs, each layer of the system should be evaluated for failures. This lecture will introduce James Reason’s “swiss cheese” model (as applied by the Expert Working Group on Human Factors in Latent Print Analysis) and provide specific examples of the types of failures that can happen at each level. The concepts introduced in this lecture are immediately applicable to risk management, root cause analysis, and corrective actions. This course may be submitted to the IAI for 4 hours of general training.