Workshop Overview:

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), in conjunction with the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC), is sponsoring a series of workshops designed to help facilitate the transition of novel technologies into practice by operational crime laboratories. These Technology Transition Workshops, which highlight technologies developed under the NIJ’s forensic science research and development programs, are a critical component of NIJ’s research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) efforts.

The purpose of this technology transition workshop is to provide the student with an understanding of the application of the probabilistic approach to fingerprint comparisons. Discipline-wide discussions regarding recent challenges to fingerprint comparison and errors in fingerprint identification, coupled with the release of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report entitled Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward make understanding the mathematical approach to examinations valuable. This class will include lecture, demonstration and hands-on activities to illustrate and practice the concepts presented.

During the lecture portion of the workshop, participants will review current approaches to fingerprint comparison within the context of the NAS report and other challenges to the discipline. The use of probability in forensic science in general, and specifically with regard to latent fingerprint comparison, will be covered. The concept of the application of the likelihood ratio (LR) as a mathematical tool for comparison will be introduced. The use of the Forensic Science Service (FSS) probability software, its integration into ACE-V (Analysis, Comparison, Evaluation, and Verification), and a framework for the evaluation of latent prints will be addressed. An insight into reporting of results will also be provided.

In the practical exercise and case studies portions of the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to practice using the FSS probability software. These exercises are designed to investigate the performance of the software’s mathematical model in evaluating the evidential weight of corresponding configurations of minutiæ.

This Technology Transition Workshop includes minimal mathematics and stresses that:

Learning Outcomes:

At the completion of the Probability Software and Fingerprint Comparison Technology Transition Workshop, the participant will acquire the knowledge to:

Additional materials for download: