Forensic Science Technician Skills – Term Paper Example

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The paper "Forensic Science Technician Skills " is an excellent example of term paper on science. A fingerprint pattern or impression is a means of personal identification made by friction ridges of a finger. Fingerprinting is a vital method of forensic science applied in the recovery of fingerprints from a scene of the crime (Lee, Palmbach, & Miller, 2001). Fingerprint impressions can easily be deposited on the surfaces of objects such as metals, glass, or polished stone by epidermal ridges on human fingers due to sweat from eccrine glands. History of fingerprints The science of fingerprint and handprint can be dated back to thousands of years ago.

It was used by early people to sign their work as they believed it was a very unique method to identify the works with themselves. Sir William Herschel (1833-1917) is known to be the first European to recognize how valuable fingerprinting is in personal identification. Evidence revealed that fingerprints were a common means of sealing an agreement or a contract in India, where Herschel worked as a British administrator, and also in China hundreds of years ago (Gaensslen, 2001).

A Scottish physician – Dr. Henry Faulds (1843-1930) was involved in the study of fingerprints. He found out that finger ridge details were unique, and that fingerprints could be used to trace criminals involved in a crime scene. Development in this field continued with the likes of Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) and Juan Vucetich (1855-1925) contributing immensely (Gaensslen). Later on, Sir Edward Henry (1850-1931) devised a fingerprint classification method that is widely all over the world today (Gaensslen, 2001). Principle Human fingerprints are very unique, detailed, durable, and difficult to alter.

This makes them suitable for use as long-term markers of personal identity (Champod, Lennard, Margot, & Stoilovic, 2004). The palm, fingers, and some areas of the human body have friction ridges that enhance grip and touch. These friction ridges are characterized by parallel flow lines with formations called whorls, deltas, arches, and loops. These ridges are not even and unbroken as they run across the skin, but rather display several identifying features called minutiae (Mozayani and Noziglia, 2011). This makes a fingerprint and pores to be very unique. Fingerprint impressions are formed and transferred by use of ink, or any other suitable substance from the friction ridges onto a smooth surface like a fingerprint card.

They are applied in concealing the identity of an individual, identifying individuals who are deceased, incapacitated, or unable to identify who they are, for example in the aftermath of a disaster. Fingerprint analysis has been used since the early 20th century to solve crimes (Lee, Palmach, and Miller). According to Leo (2015), the most recent discovery in this field was in 2015, when it was demonstrated that fingerprint tests can be used to identify an individual’ s sex. Fingerprint Classification The most commonly used method of fingerprint classification is a modification of the method developed by Sir Edward Henry.

In the Henry Classification System, each finger is assigned a number according to the order in which it appears on the hand, starting from the right thumb assigned number 1 and ending with the left little finger as number 10 (see figure 1). Fingers that have a whorl pattern are also assigned a numerical value (Diane Publishing Company, 1993).

Finger numbers 1 & 2 are each assigned a value of 16, a value of 8 for fingers 3 & 4, fingers 5 & 6 assigned a value of 4, a value of 2 for fingers 7 & 8, and finally, a value of 1 for the final fingers 9 & 10. Fingers that lack a whorl pattern, but have a loop or an arch, are assigned a value of zero. The sum of even-finger values is then determined and taken as a numerator of a fraction, while the sum of odd-finger values is taken as the numerator.

An additional value of 1 is then added to each sum obtained for the whorls with the maximum obtainable figure being 32 on each side of the fraction. Thus, in this classification, a fraction range from 1/1 to 32/32 is used. Having 1/1 would mean that there are no whorl patterns, while 32/32 would mean that there was a whorl pattern on all fingers (Hawthorne, 2008).


Champod, C., Lennard, C. J., Margot, P., & Stoilovic, M. (2004). Fingerprints and Other Ridge Skin Impressions. New York: CRC Press.

Diane Publishing Company. (1993). Science of Fingerprints: Classification and Uses. United States: DIANE Publishing.

Fisher, B. A., & Fisher, D. R. (2012). Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation. New York: CRC Press.

Gaensslen, R. (2001). Fingerprints. Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques, 355-372.

Hawthorne, M. (2008). Fingerprints: Analysis and Understanding. New York: CRC Press.

Lee, H. C., Palmbach, T., & Miller, M. T. (2001). Henry Lee's Crime Scene Handbook. United States: Academic Press.

Leo, W. (2015). Fingerprint Identification. California: LawTech Publishing Group.

Mozayani, A., & Noziglia, C. (2011). The Forensic Laboratory Handbook Procedures and Practice. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

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