Police Practice Print Lifting

In order to give burglars and other lawbreakers a

less than even chance of getting away with your

property, the Snoqualmie Police Department took a short

refresher course last week in the art of finding and lifting

fingerprints from various surfaces.

The course, led by Harley A. Kirkman, a

fingerprint specialist with the Washington State Patrol, gave

the Snoqualmie officers a chance to "brush up" not only

the prints themselves, but on techniques for locating

and identifying such evidence.

According to Snoqualmie Police Chief Bill

Massey, taking fingerprints is "something you've got to work

at constantly or you'll begin to lose it." He said that

by keeping his officers in practice, the chances that

they will be able to use fingerprints from a real crime

scene against a suspect in court are greatly increased.

Kirkman is one of two specialists who travel

around the state, visiting small police departments which

have difficulty sending men to classes held at various

police academies. Instead, the classes are brought to the

departments, and the officers are able to work in their

own facilities.

For his demonstration, and to let the officers have

a crack at lifting a fingerprint, Kirkman used several

flat surfaces on desks in the police office. The officers set

to work dusting, brushing, picking up the visible print

with tape and pressing the impression onto white cards.

Chief Massey said the ability to locate and lift

fingerprints is a valuable tool in police work and he

was glad that Kirkman could take the time to visit his


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