The department employs two Forensic Specialists who maintain the Identification Laboratory. The Forensic Specialists' function is to perform tasks and duties in the Identification Laboratory associated with fingerprint analysis and identification, and to assist in processing crime scenes on complex cases.
The Police Forensic Specialists are responsible for the general and technical fingerprint analysis of physical evidence using modern technology, conducting fingerprint comparisons, operating and conducting latent searches, and testifying in court as an expert witness. They are an invaluable resource to the department as well as the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office.
The Identification Laboratory is equipped with a fully functional photo lab for processing crime scene photographs. They are able to examine fingerprints obtained from crime scene evidence and match them with the fingerprints of known suspects. If no suspect is known, they can utilize the Automated Latent Print System (ALPS) to match fingerprints to person(s) with previous arrest histories.
One of the biggest drawbacks of latent print technology is obtaining complete, identifiable fingerprints at the crime scene. Now, the Forensic Specialists are utilizing the latest technology such as using alternate light sources. This should increase the number of positive suspect identifications made by latent fingerprint analysis.
Examples of duties include:
- Locating, isolating, collecting, analyzing, comparing and identifying fingerprints primarily in a laboratory environment.
- Collecting related fingerprint evidence.
- Preserving evidence integrity.
- Operating and conducting latent searches.
- Providing expert testimony.
- Photographing crime scenes.
- Processing and developing photographs.
- Preparing and maintaining records and reports.
- Operating and maintaining photographic and other equipment.
- Maintaining proficiency in current and evolving equipment, techniques, and procedures.
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