Police Practice Print Lifting
October 2, 2008 · Updated 2:41 PM
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
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