The Latent Print section conducts all work pertaining to the examination of latent prints on evidence submitted to the GBI Crime Lab. Latent prints are impressions produced by the ridged skin on human fingers, palms, and soles of the feet. Examiners analyze and compare latent prints to known prints of individuals in an effort to make identifications or exclusions. The uniqueness, permanence, and arrangement of the friction ridges allow examiners to positively match two prints and to determine whether an area of a friction ridge impression originated from one source to the exclusion of all others.
A variety of techniques, including use of chemicals, powders, lasers, alternate light sources, and other physical means, are employed in the detection and development of latent prints. In instances where a latent print has limited quality and quantity of detail, personnel may perform microscopic examinations in order to effect conclusive comparisons.