Introduction to Fingerprint Comparison - Downloadable PDF

Introduction to Fingerprint Comparison - Downloadable PDF

Staggs Publishing

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Introduction to Fingerprint Comparison


by Gary W. Jones
ISBN 0-9661970-3-8
Published 2000

Introduction to Fingerprint Comparison was written by retired FBI Supervisory Fingerprint Specialist Gary W. Jones. This 87 page 5½" by 8½" book is a valuable text in learning the basic skills in fingerprint comparison. Examples and quizzes give the reader a solid foundation on which to build comparison skills.

You may purchase this book as a printed book at

Contents Include:

CHAPTER 1 — Ethical Conduct in Fingerprint Examinations

CHAPTER 2 — Physical Aspects of Fingerprint Comparisons

CHAPTER 3 — Equipment

    • Comparison magnifiers
    • Reticles
    • Ridge counters

    CHAPTER 4 — Fingerprint Classification

      • Purpose of classification
      • Loops
      • Ridge counting
      • Arches
      • Whorls
      • Tracing whorls
      • Henry classification formula
      • NCIC classification

      CHAPTER 5 — The Basics of Fingerprint Comparison

        • Ridge characteristics
        • Number of points needed to identify a fingerprint
        • Ridge flow direction
        • The structure of ridges
        • Uniqueness in ridge arrangements
        • Analyzing latent prints
        • Relative position
        • Comparing latent fingerprints
        • Proper orientation
        • Simultaneous impressions
        • Pattern tendencies
        • Tips of fingers
        • Sides of fingers
        • Lower joint areas of fingers
        • Double impressions
        • Inconclusive comparisons
        • Palm prints
        • Scars and creases
        • Incipient ridges

        CHAPTER 6 — Verification

        CHAPTER 7 — Notes

          • You've Only Just Begun



          Message from the Author

          The comparison of fingerprints, especially latent fingerprints (palm prints, footprints), can be the single most difficult task in all the fingerprint science. No matter how skillful an individual may be in all the related areas, it is the additional ability to accurately compare latent prints against known prints that allows the examiner to be called a fingerprint expert. This ability is gained through training, knowledge, experience and work under the guidance of a qualified fingerprint expert(s).

          Fingerprint comparison is a skill that can be acquired by almost anyone who expends the required effort, which can be very demanding. It is difficult, but it's not rocket science. If you are just beginning, don't get discouraged you can do it!

          Speed and accuracy of comparisons are the natural results of being aware of fundamental techniques.

          This book is not a comprehensive examination of the entire spectrum of fingerprint comparison. The information contained in this book is designed for the novice; the individual who has never compared fingerprints, but wants a foundation on which to build comparison skills. Many advanced techniques for comparing fingerprints are not addressed in this book.

          After mastering the basic principles of fingerprint comparison, the only way to learn how to fully compare prints is to continue comparing while receiving additional instruction in the more advanced techniques. The person entering this field must continually seek out every opportunity to observe, compare and study fingerprints. This is also true of the most experienced expert.

          The work of the fingerprint expert is serious business. It is a tremendous responsibility and a privilege to be validated in a court of law as an expert and allowed to give an opinion as to the identity of a fingerprint. This privilege and responsibility is never to be taken lightly. In an effort to make some highly technical material a little easier to understand, I have written this book in a somewhat lighthearted vein. This is not meant to indicate that I believe the comparison of fingerprints, or any other aspect of the fingerprint science, is to be approached in anything less than a solemn, serious manner.

          This book is also a "no-frills" presentation on the subject of latent fingerprint comparison. Common language will be used. That is not meant to suggest that the knowledge of the proper scientific terms and descriptions common to the fingerprint science is not important. It is important, which is why a glossary of these terms is included in the back of this book.

          About the Author

          Gary Jones began his career in fingerprint work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1964. At the time of his retirement in 1997 he was a Supervisory Fingerprint Specialist in the Latent Fingerprint Section. During his retirement he operated a private fingerprint consulting business, "Gary W. Jones Fingerprint Services," in Summerfield, Florida.

          On numerous occasions Mr. Jones presented fingerprint testimony in federal, state and local courts throughout the United States and was accepted as an expert in each instance. He instructed federal, state and local law enforcement personnel throughout the United States in all aspects of fingerprint science, including the presentation of expert courtroom testimony.

          Gary Jones wrote articles relating to fingerprint science and was published in the International Association for Identification's (IAI) publication The Journal of Forensic Identification. He was also the co-author of the FBI's Latent Fingerprint Training Manual. Mr. Jones was a member of the IAI, the Florida Division of the IAI, and served on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Division of the IAI.