Crime Scene Forensics, LLC
Fingerprint Terms
FINGERPRINT CLASSIFICATION - the sorting of fingerprints into file groups so that a file may be set upon  the
basis of fingerprints alone.  Fingerprints are classified by General shape (arch, loop, or whorl), position in finger, and
relative size.

RIDGE CHARACTERISTICS (GALTON'S DETAILS) - Fingerprint ridges are not continuous.  They  break and divide
and these points are given specific names;  
  • Ridge Ending,
  • Bifurcation (forking ridge),
  • Dot,
  • Short Ridge,
  • Enclosure (Island)

INKED FINGERPRINT -  The intentional recording of the friction ridge skin. Using black printer's ink and a
fingerprint roller, the ridge characteristics of a particular individual, can be formally recorded on a standard
fingerprint card.

LATENT FINGERPRINT -  The chance impression, left on an item, through the transfer of perspiration and oils, from
the friction ridge skin to the item itself. At times, this transfer can be visible to the naked eye. Most often, it is
invisible to the eye, and chemicals or powders need to be added to the surface, in order for the latent print to seen,
photographed, and lifted. The word "latent" means hidden and it is these impressions which require the application
of powders of chemicals to make them visible.

PATENT FINGERPRINT - a reproduction of the ridges of the finger in a medium such as wet paint, blood, putty, and
some soft metals.  The is normally visible, however, the impression is reversed as the ridges are impressed in the

   1. The ridge arrangement on every finger of every person is different.
   2. The ridge arrangement is permanent throughout the persons life, that is, the ridge                 
       arrangement never changes from birth to death.  These statements are true also of the ridges on the palms
       of the hands and the soles of the feet.  Identifications in these areas have the same technical
       and legal validity as fingerprints.

A.F.I.S. - a computer system that automatically searches a latent fingerprint recovered from a scene, against millions
of fingerprints contained within a fingerprint database. The criteria for entering and maintaining fingerprints in the
database varies from state to state.

DISSIMILARITY – a difference in which, in the opinion of the examiner, can be explained.

DISCREPANCY – a difference between two patterns, that can not be explained.

DACTYLOGRAPHY - the study of the science of fingerprints

CORE -  is the approximate center of the finger pattern impression

INDIVIDUALIZATION - the opinion matching of a latent print to one person as its source to the exclusion of all other
people in the world.

CLASS ONE/LEVEL ONE - the general ridge flow of a fingerprint.

CLASS TWO/LEVEL TWO - aspects of a particular ridge path, including bifurcations, endings, divisions; also
referred to as minutiae or Galton's details.

CLASS THREE/LEVEL THREE - finer detail concerning individual ridges, such as the shape of the edges, their
width, and the presence of pores.

ACE-V - an acronym for Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, Verification.  ACE-V describes the recommended process
for comparison of a latent print to a known print.
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