Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “fingerprinting”

Fingerprint and Other Biometrics

Fingerprint and Other Biometrics – http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Should subjects follow along with the fingerprint collection process?
  • How often is CODIS used in criminal cases?
  • What are three features found in fingerprints?


This would be good background for spy or crime stories. Some of the items of interest:

Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) – Describes the database and tells how long it takes to produce a hit (~30 min). Prior to it’s activation in 1998, it could take weeks or months to match a print if a match existed.

Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) – From the website, “CODIS is the acronym for the “Combined DNA Index System” and is the generic term used to describe the FBI’s program of support for criminal justice DNA databases as well as the software used to run these databases. The National DNA Index System or NDIS is considered one part of CODIS, the national level, containing the DNA profiles contributed by federal, state, and local participating forensic laboratories.”

Fingerprint Identification Overview (pdf) – Brief history of fingerprinting including pictures of standard fingerprint forms.
Recording Legible Fingerprints – Procedures for taking fingerprints. Includes special circumstances like extra finger or deformed fingers.

Fingerprint and Criminal History Record Training – Extensive catalog of courses in this area. Only open to law enforcement personnel but descriptions may be helpful in providing character education and experience. Representative courses from Training and Records Testimony Team’s Catalog of Classes:

  • Course 12: Answer Hits to Wants (AHTW) – Description: This sixteen-week class is intended to provide instruction to Criminal History Record employees on the policy, criteria, critical information, and procedures for the AHTW function. Upon completion of this course, employees will be trained to competency in performing the duties of the function. (640 hours)
  • Course 16: Classifying Fingerprints Using Henry – Description: This class instructs students in the three basic fingerprint pattern types and the classification pertaining to each. They will learn to select the proper deltas, cores, type lines and other fingerprint characteristics, in order to assign an accurate and complete fingerprint classification, and to formulate the Henry Classification following the classification of each finger. (40 hours)
  • Course 99: Introduction to Friction Ridge Embryology – Description: This one-hour overview will provide information on how fingerprints form during fetal development, how the patterns arise, and the factors that influence ridge development. (1 hour)

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