Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $249,580)
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Forensic Laboratory’s Latent Print Detail is requesting Coverdell funds in the amount of $249,580 to purchase a Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) System and Forensic Imaging System (FIS) to expand the ability of the Latent Print Detail to process items of evidence and recover latent prints from the affected areas in Clark County, Nevada. Currently, the Forensic Laboratory does not have an effective method for the recovery of prints from unfired cartridges/fired cartridge cases, small plastic/glassine baggies (drug packaging), or fabric. A 2010 internal review of casework samples found that the latent print recover rate from unfired cartridges/fired cartridge cases was approximately 0.17%. VMD has been shown to develop prints on cartridges and cartridge cases at much higher rates (12%-65%). VMD is effective at recovering latent prints from a wide variety of surfaces including small plastic/glassine baggies (drug packaging), fabrics, porous, and non-porous surfaces. The FIS will facilitate the capture of latent prints, specifically, the 2D capture of latent prints from 3D cylinders (ammunition). Improved image capture and enhancement software will allow for more efficient photography and entry of latent prints into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). A VMD and FIS will improve the quality, timeliness, and service capabilities of the Latent Print Detail.
The objectives of this proposal are: 1) purchase a new VMD system and FIS, 2) install and receive training on the new instruments, 3) develop and validate methods for the VMD with the FIS, 4) use the validated VMD and FIS to perform latent print development and recovery on evidence submissions.
To meet the objectives, a Vacuum Metal Deposition System and Forensic Imaging System will be purchased within three months of receiving grant funds. The instruments will be delivered and installed by the manufacturers and training will be provided within nine months of receiving grant funds. Methods for processing unfired cartridges/fired cartridge cases, small plastic/glassine baggies, fabric, porous, and non-porous surfaces for latent prints will be validated within 18 months of receiving grant funds. During the last six months, the VMD and FIS will be used to analyze 30 backlogged latent print cases. The VMD and FIS will provide increased capacity to process unfired cartridges/ fired cartridge cases, small plastic/glassine baggies, and fabrics thus expanding the LVMPD’s technological capabilities resulting in approximately 45 additional cases.