Fingerprint on Digital Screen (Stock Image)

Latent Prints

The Latent Print Unit (LPU) consists of the Latent Print Support Unit (LPSU), the Latent Print Operations Unit (LPOU), and the Scientific and Biometric Analysis Unit (SBAU) Latent Print Squad.

  • The LPSU ensures the quality and advancement of the latent print discipline by providing tools, training, and support for investigative, humanitarian, and intelligence programs.
  • The LPOU conducts timely, high-quality forensic examinations pertaining to friction ridge analysis in support of the FBI’s national security and law enforcement missions.
  • The SBAU Latent Print Squad performs advanced exploitation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) resulting in latent print information that yields timely and actionable biometric intelligence, combating the IED threat to the United States and its partners.

The LPSU and LPOU are located at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, and the SBAU Latent Print Squad is located at the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

The FBI's latent print experts:

  • Develop latent prints on submitted evidence using state-of-the-art equipment and chemical processing techniques.
  • Search images of latent prints against millions of known reference holdings within the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system.
  • Perform friction ridge analysis to make biometric associations to persons of interest.
  • Generate reports based on the results of completed friction ridge examinations and provide expert testimony on reported findings in legal proceedings.
  • Provide record check reports and testimony for local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies in connection with a court date.
  • Provide assistance to law enforcement agencies across the nation on cold cases.
  • Respond to legal and admissibility issues related to latent print testimony, the science of friction ridge analysis, and other legal matters.
  • Conduct traditional latent print examinations—implemented by specially-trained Hazardous Evidence Analysis Team members—on evidence contaminated with hazardous chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials.
  • Provide humanitarian support for disaster victim identification in mass casualty scenarios, as well as resources and assistance to obtain high quality postmortem fingerprints of unknown deceased individuals.
  • Provide training to law enforcement agencies and partners both domestically and internationally on various latent print topics to include testimony, processing crime scenes, processing evidence, and different methods to obtain high quality fingerprints.
  • Conduct research and validation on numerous latent print topics relevant to recent trends in the latent print community.
  • Collaborate with and support law enforcement agencies, local and tribal police departments and other partners by providing valuable resources and support when needed.