Greenville County
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Forensic Division
Latent Fingerprint Section

The Latent Print Section is staffed by a combination of certified law enforcement officers serving as latent print examiners and a civilian employee in a support role. These employees are responsible for the evaluation and ultimate comparison of all fingerprints, palm prints, footprints along with footwear and tire impression evidence collected by members of the Crime Scene Section. This type evidence is also submitted for analysis by other law enforcement agencies in Greenville County. On a case-by-case basis these services are available to law enforcement agencies outside Greenville County with the approval of the Laboratory Director.

This Section maintains an electronic known fingerprint database of individuals fingerprinted at the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center for criminal and certain civil purposes. These records serve as known comparison standards for unknown prints from crime scenes and any circumstances where the identity of an individual is in question. This database is queried by the Greenville County Detention Center in verifying the identity of individuals being booked into the facility. The Latent Print Section also has access to known fingerprint and palm print databases maintained by the FBI and SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) for comparison purposes.

The Latent Print Section maintains computer interfaces with SLED and the FBI. These interfaces allow the ability to search unknown fingerprints against the known fingerprint databases maintained by those agencies. These searches are conducted via the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) on a daily basis in an attempt to identify the source of fingerprints. In many instances fingerprint identifications serve as investigative leads for law enforcement officers/agencies and could lead to individuals facing criminal charges. Although the AFIS systems are highly advanced pieces of technical equipment they do not make an identification/fingerprint match themselves. An experienced and trained examiner ultimately makes a determination based upon a detailed physical examination of the known and unknown prints. Prior to a report being issued an experienced analyst, trained to competency, must review the case and confirm the identification.

All latent print examiners are required to participate in ongoing training/professional development and participate in annual proficiency testing in each discipline they conduct analysis. Latent Print Examiners provide expert witness testimony in judicial proceedings regarding assigned casework and ultimate findings.