Latent Print Examiner


Job Specification


Class Code: BN2

Analyst: MM

Date Originated:  10/07

Date Revised:






Under direction performs duties involved in registering, searching, analyzing and identifying fingerprints in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS);  records and logs criminal history; assists other city and county agencies with fingerprint work; provides expert witness testimony in court; and performs related work as required.




The Latent Print Examiner is assigned to the Sheriff’s Office.  An employee in this class is proficient in performing ten-print and latent print examinations, comparisons and identifications with minimal supervision.  Positions in this class are non-sworn civilian positions within the Sheriff’s Office.  This class is distinguished from sworn officer classes in that persons in this class do not carry firearms, do not hold peace officer status and responsibilities and do not undergo peace officer training. The Latent Print Examiner class is distinguished from the Latent Print Examiner Trainee in that the former performs the full range of duties and testifies as an expert witness.




Receives/reviews automated or hard copies of fingerprints; compares fingerprint cards and demographic information for identification purposes; consolidates/purges fingerprint records and jail records as a result of an identification; maintains and files fingerprint cards and fingerprint evidence.  Prepares fingerprint cards for automated input into fingerprint databases using specialized California Identification Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (CAL ID) and Santa Cruz County Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) computer equipment; evaluates, prepares and encodes latent crime scene fingerprints/palm prints for automated print analysis using other fingerprint analyzing equipment; photographically enlarges prints enabling systematic tracing of ridge structures and points of minutiae; photographically reduces prints to one-to-one scale; establishes potential identification of individuals from computer generated list of potential candidates; makes positive identification of individuals from the minutiae inherent to each individual; obtains inked or automated fingerprints of adequate quality from suspects, victims and witnesses for subsequent comparison and evidentiary purposes.  Operates various computer terminals to collect, maintain and retrieve offender records from several databases; maintains appropriate files as required;   maintains communications with Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and other identification units.  Gives expert testimony in court or formal hearings regarding characteristics of latent fingerprint identification and comparisons.  May prepare courtroom displays and exhibits.









Thorough knowledge of:


  • Fingerprint classification, search and filing methods.
  • Latent print comparison and identification techniques.


Working knowledge of:


  • Methods of identification, interpretation and preservation of evidence.
  • Photographic processes.
  • Basic principles and techniques utilized in the classification of fingerprints under the Henry System.
  • Evidence handling techniques.
  • Courtroom procedures.
  • Automated computerized fingerprint systems such as California Identification Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (CAL ID), Automated Latent Print System (ALPS), and Santa Cruz County Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).


Ability to:


  • Compare fingerprints and make latent fingerprint identifications accurately.
  • Operate photographic equipment.
  • Prepare narrative and statistical reports.
  • Work with and without direct supervision.
  • Collect fingerprints from deceased persons in varying states of decomposition.
  • Follow oral and written technical instructions.
  • Perform assigned tasks according to prescribed procedures.
  • Work in a safe and prudent manner.
  • Adhere to Sheriff’s Office code of ethics.
  • Testify as a court expert on fingerprint analysis.
  • Understand, interpret and explain regulations and policies governing the gathering and preserving of evidence.
  • Collect and analyze data, to draw logical conclusions and make appropriate recommendations.
  • Comply with laws, regulations and professional practices governing law enforcement services and operations.
  • Maintain accurate records and document actions taken.
  • Research regulations, procedures and/or technical reference materials.
  • Maintain confidentiality of information.
  • Read, understand, and follow departmental policies, rules, instructions, laws and ordinances.
  • Establish and maintain good working relationships with staff and clients.


Education and Experience/Training:

Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying.  A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:


  • An Associate Degree (or documentation of 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of college credits which include courses in English Composition, Mathematics or Statistics and Biological or Physical Science) plus one (1) year full-time experience as a latent print examiner


  • One (1) year full-time experience as a latent print examiner trainee with Santa Cruz County.


  • Certification as a latent print examiner by the International Association of  Identification.



Special Requirements/Conditions:


  • Mentally and physically capable of performing the classification’s essential functions as summarized in the typical tasks section of this job specification with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • Physical Ability:  Tasks require the ability to exert moderate, though not constant physical effort, typically involving some combination of climbing and balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and crawling; and may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials of moderate weight (12-20 pounds).
  • Sensory Requirements:  Requires the ability to recognize and identify similarities and differences between shade, degree or value of colors, shapes, sounds, forms, textures or physical appearance associated with job-related objects, materials, tasks or people.
  • Environmental Factors:  Exposure to environmental factors poses a limited risk of minor injury or illness.
  • Hours:  May be required to work flexible hours, shifts, weekends and holidays and be subject to holdover and callback duty; and to provide a telephone number or means by which employee can be reached.
  • License Requirement:  Possession and maintenance of valid Class C California driver license issued by the California State Department of Motor Vehicles by the time of appointment.
  • Background Investigation:  Ability to pass a full background investigation.




Bargaining Unit:  41

EEOC Job Category:  02

Occupational Group:  62 

Workers Comp Code:  0285