County's electronic fingerprint lab gets international nod

King County's fingerprint lab is gaining in stature and skill.

The county's Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) program recently achieved international accreditation for its Latent Print Unit.

The unit responds to major crime scenes and processes evidence in its lab using chemicals, photography and other means to find fingerprints left at crime scenes. The “latent” prints are entered into the regional AFIS database to search for matches with known prints, and to provide identification information to investigators and prosecutors.

“King County residents can be proud of the professional achievements of our AFIS staff in meeting recognized international standards for forensics in fingerprinting and the new palmprinting technology,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, chair of the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “The AFIS system is an essential investigative tool that serves all of our law enforcement agencies. We appreciate their continuing dedication to solving crimes and protecting public safety for everyone in King County.”

The Council recognized AFIS for earning accreditation from Forensic Quality Services, which assessed every aspect of the latent print work conducted by AFIS staff. The assessment praised the staff’s commitment to high-quality management of procedures, training, competence and dedication. King County’s program was just the second facility in the state to be awarded forensic laboratory accreditation, following the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab. Accreditation was awarded to AFIS on May 25.


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