Latent Section

The St. Louis County Police Department’s Latent Section serves more than one million residents by providing evidence analysis for the St. Louis County Police Department and municipal agencies located within St. Louis County.  The Latent Section also provides support to State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies when requested.  Processing fingerprint evidence remains one of the most important investigative tools in helping to bring criminals to justice.

latent sectionThe St. Louis County Police Department’s Fingerprint Unit has a long-standing reputation for providing excellent service regarding fingerprint analysis.  The Latent Section works in conjunction with the Missouri State Highway Patrol as an AFIS Satellite site.  The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is a highly sophisticated computer system that electronically encodes, searches, and stores the images of fingerprints and palm prints.  Like any computerized database, the overall quality of the database hinges on the quality of the information that is entered into the system.  The AFIS database began with an initial database of 400,000 fingerprints.  The database is now comprised of over 2.7 million tenprints, a full set of rolled impressions containing data on all ten fingers, nearly 1.5 million palm print images, and over 60,000 unsolved latent prints. 

Additionally, the Latent Section is connected to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Next Generation Identification (NGI), which provides the criminal justice community with the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information.  Examining fingerprint evidence is unique in the world of forensic science as the results lie heavily on the keen eye and judgement of the examiner rather than a predominantly chemical or technical process.  Therefore, our Latent Print Examiners go through a rigorous training program culminating in individual certification by the International Association for Identification (IAI).  The IAI is recognized internationally as the premiere certifying body for Latent Fingerprint Examiners.  We pledge to provide the highest quality service possible to ensure we protect all of our citizens from both crime and the perils of being wrongfully accused.

To request a Priority Status on a case already submitted, email [email protected] with the following information:

  • Complaint Number;
  • items of evidence included in the request;
  • reason for Priority Status;
  •  and Suspect/Subject information, when applicable.

A member of the Latent Section will respond as soon as practical with the status of the request.

For more information, please contact:

Heather Burke, Fingerprint Unit Supervisor
[email protected]

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