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Forensic Investigation

Processing For Fingerprints Through An Alternate Light Source

The Forensic Investigation Unit provides expertise at crime scenes through the use of photography, identification, evidence collection, processing, and preservation.  Technicians also perform latent fingerprint comparisons and provide expert court testimony.

There are four types of technicians in the unit:  Crime Scene Technician, Latent Fingerprint Specialist, Photo Lab Technician, and Office Support Specialist.  In addition to skills required by their specialization, each technician must have a exceptional understanding of law enforcement techniques and needs to perform their assigned tasks in a way that assists future courtroom proceedings.

Courtesy Fingerprinting

Crime Scene Technician

Dirt Shifting From A Shallow Grave

Highly trained and capable Crime Scene Technicians provide mobile crime lab services at major crime scenes by scene photography, processing for latent fingerprints and collecting, identifying, classifying and preserving evidence.  Crime Scene Technicians perform presumptive blood tests, gunpowder residue tests, and plaster cast impression molds.  They process bodies of the deceased for trace evidence and fingerprints when necessary.  They also fingerprint living and deceased subjects for identification.  Technicians must be ready to testify in court to their findings and methods in criminal and civil cases.

Latent Fingerprint Specialist

Processing For PrintsFingerprint Specialists examine and evaluate the latent prints developed and lifted at crime scenes.  They search for ridge detail and clarity to determine whether the print is sufficient for comparison.  Comparisons are made between the print from the scene and prints of known individuals at the request of detectives and officers with the department for identification of the perpetrators of crimes.

A vital role of the specialist is to enter and compare prints in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System or AFIS.  This computer capability allows more comparisons in shorter time periods but it is ultimately the specialist who make the identification.  Specialists must also be prepared to testify to their identifications in court.

Photo Lab Technician

Photo Lab Technician Printing PhotographsThe Tampa Police photo lab is responsible for downloading compact discs to the department's mainframe and printing all Fire and Police Department crime scenes along with public relations photography.  These technicians are very proficient in photography and photographic development techniques, both of which are crucial in the assignment they occupy.  These technicians are responsible for a wide variety of complex and expensive equipment.  They maintain photographic negatives and compact discs for future examination along with daily and monthly reports.  These technicians are also responsible in photographing City of Tampa personnel and making their identification cards for their appropriate departments.

Office Support Specialists

Office Support Specialist

A sometimes neglected aspect of any organization or function is the record keeping and data management.  Our Office Support Specialists play an essential role in successfully achieving ID's goals.  These technicians work to quantify data about arrests made, maintain city personnel files and criminal files, verification of court ordered expunctions, and staff the service desk for photo requests.  These tasks are but a few of the functions of their highly demanding job roles.