Latent Print and Trainee

About the Latent Print Examiner Job

Latent print examiners collect and preserve latent physical evidence in the lab, at crime scenes and from a wide variety of materials using physical, chemical, electronic and optical techniques.

You will have the opportunity collect and preserve latent physical evidence in the lab. You will be expected to analyze and compare latent impressions and enter suitable latents into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) by photographing, determining the minutiae, identifying position, tracing, and inputting the impression. As needed, you will be expected to testify in criminal legal proceedings concerning methods of analysis and results.

Position Qualifications

Job Requirements:

  • Must meet  Qualifications
  • Bachelor of Science degree with major in forensic science, criminalistics, physical or natural science or related field. (Technical experience in a forensic laboratory or in identification and analysis of fingerprints can substitute for up to two years of college education.)

  • Two years experience in latent print examinations and processing of evidence.

  • Able to respond to crime scenes on weekends and holidays.

  • Working knowledge of the Henry Classification and National Crime Information Collection systems, forensic photography, alternate light sources and digital imaging technology.

  • Proper use and storage of safety equipment, proper handling of hazardous, caustic, flammable and carcinogenic chemicals, including firearms and explosive devices.

  • Must pass a Seattle Police Department background check, and provide a conviction history.

  • Must pass a physical exam by City-approved doctor.

  • Must have a Washington State Driver’s License at time of hire.

  • Obtain a Washington State ACCESS/WACIS certification within one year of employment.

Job Responsibilities

Locate, develop, recover and preserve latent impressions on a wide variety of materials and surfaces using physical, chemical, electronic, and optical techniques. Administer infrared, ultraviolet, and other special forensic photographic procedures, including digital imaging devices. Evaluate and enter suitable latent prints into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) by photographing, determining the minutiae, identifying position, tracing, and inputting the impression. Determine identifications and non-identifications by comparison and verification of each latent print to AFIS candidate lists. Write detailed reports concerning results of analysis. Recover fingerprints, palm prints, and footprints from deceased and decomposed bodies, victims of crime, and potentially violent suspects. Train Identification Technicians in the proper collection, preservation, and documentation of latent print evidence. Provide training to law enforcement personnel concerning the proper collection and preservation of physical evidence. Testify in criminal legal proceedings as needed concerning methods of analysis and results. 

You will need the ability to work with deceased bodies, as you will recover fingerprints, palm prints, and footprints from bodies. You will need to handle other biologic and hazardous materials, in a safe, professional manner. You will need the temperament to work with both the victims of crimes and potentially violent criminals for fingerprint collection. You will be able to share your skills - training both Identification Technicians to properly collect and preserve prints, and training law enforcement personnel in the proper collection and preservation of physical evidence. 

Work Environment

The Latent Print Team works in a new state-of-the-art laboratory, and is part of the Department’s Forensic Support Services, which also includes the Identification Unit, Evidence Unit, Photo Lab and Video Unit. Latent Prints is physically located near these units as well as the SPD CSI unit and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, for easy access and to encourage partnership.


About the Latent Print Trainee Job

Latent print examiners collect and preserve latent physical evidence in the lab, at crime scenes and from a wide variety of materials using physical, chemical, electronic and optical techniques.

Latent Print Trainee
Latent Print Trainees learn on the job.

If you are interested in becoming a Latent Print Examiner but are lacking experience, you have the opportunity to apply to become a Latent Print Trainee if you have the following:

  • A Bachelor's degree with a major in Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, Physical or Natural science, or related field (your degree must include course work in Chemistry).
  • One year of experience in the identification
    and analysis of fingerprints and/or evidence processing.

Position Qualifications

Job Requirements:

  • Must meet Selection Standards
  • Bachelor's degree with major in Forensic Science, Criminal Justice, Physical or Natural science or related field (your degree must include course work in Chemistry) and one year experience in the identification and analysis of fingerprints and/or evidence processing.
  • Satisfactorily pass the training curriculum and examination for Latent Print Examiner within 18 months of hire.
  • Ability to respond to crime scenes on weekends and holidays.
  • Ability to stand, walk or bend for extended periods.
  • Willingness to handle or work with hazardous substances (i.e., blood, other body fluids and various hazardous chemicals).
  • Ability to lift up to 25 lbs.
  • Processing and obtaining fingerprints from potentially abusive/threatening people.
  • Pass a Seattle Police Department background investigation.
  • Pass a physical exam by City-approved doctor.
  • Current driver's license and be able to operate the Latent Print processing van.
  • Must obtain a Washington State ACCESS/WACIS certification within one year of employment.

Desired Qualifications:

Temperament to work with deceased bodies, body fluids, biologic pathogens, hazardous materials, and firearms in a professional and safe manner. Certification by the International Association for Identification (IAI). Coursework from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in latent print examination or other forensic training. Working knowledge of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Highly detail oriented with the ability to follow oral directions and written operating procedures. Reliable judgment, problem solving and decision making skills. Self-motivated individual with experience working in a team environment.

Job Responsibilities

As a trainee, you will learn how to locate, develop, recover and preserve latent impressions on a wide variety of materials and surfaces using physical, chemical, electronic, and optical techniques. Administer infrared, ultraviolet, and other special forensic photographic procedures, including digital imaging devices. Evaluate and enter suitable latent prints into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) by photographing, determining the minutiae, identifying position, tracing, and inputting the impression. Determine identifications and non-identifications by comparison and verification of each latent print to AFIS candidate lists. Write detailed reports concerning results of analysis. Recover fingerprints, palm prints, and footprints from deceased and decomposed bodies, victims of crime, and potentially violent suspects. Train Identification Technicians in the proper collection, preservation, and documentation of latent print evidence. Provide training to law enforcement personnel concerning the proper collection and preservation of physical evidence. Testify in criminal legal proceedings as needed concerning methods of analysis and results. The expert Latent Print Examiner team is part of the Department's Forensic Support Services including the Identification Unit, Evidence Unit, Photo Lab, and Video Unit.

Work Environment

The Latent Print Team works in a new state-of-the-art laboratory, and is part of the Department's Forensic Support Services, which also includes the Identification Unit, Evidence Unit, Photo Lab and Video Unit. Latent Prints is physically located near these units as well as the SPD CSI unit and the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, for easy access and to encourage partnership.

The Seattle Police Department is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in its workforce. At SPD we acknowledge and honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals and pledge ourselves to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences.