The Forensic Identification Unit is comprised of three subunits: Latent Prints, Identification and Fingerprint Services. Identification has Fingerprint Examiners on duty 24 hours a day/7days a week. The examiners classify, search and identify fingerprints of persons arrested using the most current technological methods as well as traditional examination procedures. The fingerprints are searched through the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System). The Identification subunit also provides services to the Medical Examiner’s Office and any other law enforcement agency that submits a request.
The Latent Prints subunit is responsible for evaluating and comparing all physical evidence submitted from crime scenes processed for fingerprints. Latent Examiners also provide expert testimony in court as to their findings and conclusions as well as assistance to other agencies when requested. Unidentified latent fingerprints are searched through the AFIS system in order to help investigators solve cases in which no suspect was initially identified.
Regular searches are performed on all fingerprints entered into the AFIS system. Fingerprints submitted to the Identification subunit are searched at the local and state levels and may be searched separately on the national level when necessary. Prints submitted to the Latent Print subunit are searched across various jurisdictions at the national, state, and local levels. Notification will be issued if there is a hit in the database. In 2013, the AFIS system was enhanced to the latest technology in order to increase latent print identifications. Palm Beach County implemented its first AFIS system in 1989 and since that time countless latent prints have been identified.
Fingerprint Services operates out of four separate locations throughout the county. Three of these sites offer fingerprinting services to the general public for employment, gun permits, state licenses, etc. The other site is dedicated to handling all criminal registrations as well as sex offender/predator re-registrations with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.