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debirlfan
06-17-2014, 10:38 AM
Trying to find out what the procedure would have been in the mid 1980's (United States) for "running" an unknown fingerprint. Once the print was lifted from the evidence, was it entered into a computer? Assuming that the investigator had "pull" and the case was a priority, how long would it take to get a match (or to find out that there was no match in the system)?

WeaselFire
06-17-2014, 09:00 PM
Trying to find out what the procedure would have been in the mid 1980's (United States) for "running" an unknown fingerprint
Same as now. You don't run unknown prints, you compare known suspect prints to those found at the scene. The mid-1980's database was called a card catalog.

You're watching too many TV shows where the CSI enters the information into CODIS and it spits back the perpetrator. Start here:

http://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/prints/how.html

Jeff

ironmikezero
06-17-2014, 10:03 PM
From a federal perspective, by the mid-'80s the FBI was using computers to run prints. Today the system is known as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/iafis/iafis

We could and did submit unknown prints and related case data through the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) in the '80s.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2010/august/vicap-anniversary/vicap_anniversary

Prior to the general use of electronic submissions, everything moved at the pace of the mails. Three weeks for a response was considered fast; six weeks or more was typical - even for a high priority case.

debirlfan
06-17-2014, 11:34 PM
Thanks, Mike - wasn't sure if they were using computers back then or not. All the info I could find was on current systems. Not surprising that it took weeks.

Trebor1415
06-18-2014, 12:51 AM
My understanding is that the various state, Federal and local databases were not interconnected as well. It's entirely possible a person would have prints in a local or state database, but not in a Federal database. (and vice versa).

WeaselFire
06-18-2014, 01:23 AM
My understanding is that the various state, Federal and local databases were not interconnected as well. It's entirely possible a person would have prints in a local or state database, but not in a Federal database. (and vice versa).

That's still true to a certain extent. Prints from the last decade or so, depending on jurisdiction, are likely in electronic form. But local agencies without decent budgets are not scanning older files with any regularity or urgency.

By nature, fingerprints, and now DNA, from recent years are more relevant in crime investigations. But solving a 30-year-old cold case can get hung up in a moldy cardboard box.

What does the OP need for their story?

Jeff

debirlfan
06-20-2014, 06:09 AM
What does the OP need for their story?



Actually, I just needed to know if it made sense that I could send the collected evidence off to have prints run, and that results wouldn't be coming back for awhile. I haven't quite decided yet whether they'll eventually get a match on the prints or not, by then they'll have caught the perp anyhow, but having the evidence/prints match would wrap things nicely.

KarmaPolice
06-23-2014, 12:42 PM
If I remember correctly, only the FBI and some of the largest police forces had computerised records - and I can bet some of them were still in the process to converting cards to bytes - other forces were still doing comparisons utterly by hand. Putting in a request for co-operation would entail bureaucratic hurdles in both agencies, putting the details on a floppy disc or manilla folder, sending it off, then waiting for the 'computer guy' to input it to their database - and the chances were he'd have several inches of backlog to wade through first. Remember too that 'computerised' didn't necessarily mean 'easy' - this was the era of command-line prompts 'n all.

One thing I don't know is whether there was a central 'collection agency' for fingerprint records - did the FBI get copies of all samples, or not?

ironmikezero
06-23-2014, 11:03 PM
One thing I don't know is whether there was a central 'collection agency' for fingerprint records - did the FBI get copies of all samples, or not?

Only those that were submitted by agencies willing to do so. There was/is a protocol (basic logistics) for doing so; felony cases prioritized, background/clearance checks, etc.