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Fingerprint Examiners

Updated on March 31, 2014

Just like any other job today, fingerprint examiners must show integrity; meaning they must be honest and fair. Everybody in law enforcement is expected to be credible and trustworthy because when you're the only person who can speak for the evidence, you must do it fairly and with an unbiased motive.

Code of Conduct

Also like in any other profession, there are codes of conduct that must be followed. A code of conduct is simply a set of regulations that outlines a persons responsibilities. Part of a fingerprint examiners code of conduct would be to remain impartial to their cases. This means that the are not biased towards the case and they seek out only the facts. Your opinions have to place in this job so you must leave them out of your head and focus on the facts only.

Maintain Competence

Another important trait of a fingerprint examiner would be to maintain competence; doing your job successfully. When it comes to becoming a fingerprint examiner, you will receive the minimum training available by your law enforcement and then it is up to you. This means that it is up to you to seek out additional training so that you can make sure that you are always doing your job correctly without any errors. A some courses available through the FBI would be Advanced Comparison for Tenprint Examiners, Classifying Fingerprints, FBI Criminal History Workshop (customized to each agency), and FBI Fingerprint Examiner (FPE) Training Program: Concentration 2. For more courses go to http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/fingerprint-criminal-history-record-training/catalog-of-courses.

Stick With What You Know

Fingerprint examiners are expert witnesses so they must remember to refrain from providing conclusions that go beyond their range of knowledge and expertise. For example, a fingerprint examiner was asked by a prosecutor to provide, during a trial, when a set of prints could have been placed on a can. The examiner conducted an experiment, per the request of the prosecutor, to support his conclusions about the fingerprints. After a professional reviewed his findings, it was determined that the experiment was insufficient to support his assumptions. This is a great example of why you should never go beyond your scope of expertise.

Conclusion

Overall, it is important for a fingerprint examiner to follow the codes of conduct and to remain impartial to their cases. If they don't follow the guidelines or if they let their opinions get in the way, there are many different ramifications that could happen. A few examples would be that all their evidence would get thrown out from the case (possibly the murder weapon), the could go to jail for evidence tampering, and they could diminish the credibility of their entire team.

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