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Pinellas County Sheriff's Office FY 2023 Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant for PCSO Forensic Science Division (FSD)

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $375,206)

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Sciences Division (FSD), serving multiple law enforcement agencies and citizens of Pinellas County, maintains a heavy workload of cases involving latent prints and collects latent print evidence in over 2,000 cases annually.  PCSO is requesting funding to invest in updated equipment and training to achieve the following Coverdell Program objectives:

To carry out a substantial part of a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science in the analysis of forensic science evidence, including, among other things, firearms examination, latent prints, digital evidence, controlled substances, and trace evidence.
To train forensic laboratory personnel to eliminate backlog.

The equipment will provide the ability to maintain quality work while processing and documenting evidence from various crime scenes.  The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) Division is requesting funds to train one Latent Fingerprint Examiner in specific foundational friction ridge training required to complete independent casework and provide courtroom testimony. This will provide training needed to assist with casework and reduce current backlogs.

VMD 1260 - Includes an extra-large chamber system that allows for processing oversized items, such as larger firearms, comforters, bottles, and a three-pump vacuum system that will significantly decrease processing time for latent prints from 120 minutes to 10 minutes or less for each evidentiary item.  It will produce fingerprint development with fine detail and superior contrast than prints developed using the cyanoacrylate fuming technique. 

FSIS-II Color System – With the current FSIS-I System, FSD experiences limitations that will be overcome with newly available technology. Limitations include small capture size of latent print evidence, timeliness of evidence processing due to delayed image clarity, focus, and capture speed, and inability to capture luminescent evidence due to black and white images.  The FSIS-II Color System allows for more efficient detection of fingerprint ridges before powder and chemical processing, and ability to capture full-color images of luminescent latent print evidence and fingerprint ridge detail on darker surfaces.

The desired outcome of this award is to improve the quality, timeliness, and capability in obtaining higher quality latent fingerprints and provide the ability to process larger items of evidence collected from crime scenes and laboratory requests for latent fingerprint evidence. 

Latent Fingerprint Examiner foundational friction ridge training courses consist of 4 classes: Complex Latent Print Examination, Palm Print Comparison Techniques, Practical Answers to Challenging Courtroom Questions, and Distortion Interpretation & Feature Distribution.

Total request: $375,206

Date Created: September 25, 2023