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Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Latent Prints

Latent Print ImageA latent print is an impression of the friction skin of the fingers or palms of the hands that has been transferred to another surface.  The permanent and unique arrangement of the features of this skin allows for the identification of an individual to a latent print. 

 The Latent Print Section employs a variety of techniques to develop latent prints on items of evidence submitted to the laboratory by law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota.  Latent Print Examiners attempt to identify the latent prints to individuals that may be connected to a crime scene.  If they cannot be identified, or if there are no known individuals of whom to compare, then latent prints can be searched in the Midwest Automated Fingerprint Identification Network, a regional database of fingerprint and palm print arrest records from the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

The Latent Print Section also works in cooperation with Medical Examiner Offices throughout the state to assist in identifying unknown decedents.   The presence of latent prints is important to a criminal investigation because it can link a suspect to a crime scene, provide proof of contact, and identify people that may not previously have been known.

Evidence Processing

MAFIN – Midwest Automated Fingerprint Identification Network