Fingerprint Technician Training in California

One of the major job duties of a fingerprint technician in California is to positively identify people. Before the development of computerized databases, each fingerprint card was manually searched against all fingerprint cards to find a potential match. If no match was found, the fingerprint card was entered into the catalog as a new person.

Modern computer technology has allowed fingerprint technicians to access automated files containing both demographic (age, sex, year of birthdate, etc.) as well as images of fingerprint patterns. The technician codes the fingerprint card, loads it into an image scanner, and waits for the results.

The California Identification (“Cal-ID”) System contains the fingerprint images and demographics of nearly eight million subjects and is maintained by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information in Sacramento. It is used statewide by law enforcement agencies in cities and counties who do not have their own computerized systems. In addition, the fingerprints of 2 million subjects are maintained in the Department of Justice’s manual database system. The Los Angeles Police Department has its own computerized file with over 1.5 million prints on file.

Basic Requirements for Fingerprint Technician in California

A combination of experience, education and/or training which substantially demonstrates the following knowledges, skill and abilities:

  • Thorough knowledge of the “Henry” and other available system designed to classify fingerprints.
  • Classify, compare and establish the identity of individual using inked and latent fingerprints and the California Identification System
  • Makes tracing of latent fingerprints for entry in the Cal-ID System
  • Roll inked fingerprints and record identification data.
  • Maintain and and search fingerprint card files by fingerprint identification
  • Write clear and concise reports of fingerprint comparisons
  • Read, understand, interpret and apply portions of the departmental rules and regualtions
  • Speak clearly and effectively with the public and law enforcement personnel.
  • Ability to: Testify in court as an expert fingerprint witnesses; and Establish and maintain cooperative work relationships with officials from law enforcement agencies and work effectively with the public under conditions requiring tacts and good judgement.

Education: College level coursework that would provide the applicant a thorough understading of the “Modified Henry” classification system and journey level skill to classify, compare and establish identify of individuals using inked and latent fingerprints.

Experience: Two years of direct exprience performing journey level fingerprint classification, comparison and identification.

Special qualifications that may also be required by individual agencies include: proof of good eyesight and memory, a valid California driver’s license, and the ability to type. Any person with an arrest record other than minor traffic citations will usually not be hired.

Fingerprint Technician Training in California

Citrus College
AJ 117 Fingerprint Identification and Classification. Science of fingerprints as it relates to civilian and law enforcement work including techniques and procedures involved in identification and classification of fingerprints, latent impressions, court presentation, and print lifting at crime scene. Three hours lecture per week.

Golden West College
Criminal Justice G161. This course is designed to provide the student with a detailed understanding of the forensic fingerprint identification process. The student will learn fingerprint development, comparison, and identification techniques.

El Camino College
AJ 133 Fingerprint Classification and Analysis. Demonstrate an understanding of basic fingerprint fundamentals and terminology for classification of fingerprint cards for use of AFIS inquiries and searches, Henry Classification, NCIC classification and NCF classification. Compare and identify fingerprint to fingerprint identifications on fingerprint cards. Demonstrate and explain crime scene processing using latent print development powders; students will also explain which items should be processed in the field using powders and which items should be processed in a lab environment using latent print processing chemicals. Students will clearly document completed fingerprint tasks in such a way as to be acceptable as court submitted evidence.

Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College
AOJ 148 Fingerprint Identification. A study of the history and application of fingerprints for personal identification, including the proper techniques for recording fingerprints. Emphasis is placed on recognition of fingerprint patterns, fingerprint classification systems, preparing fingerprints for computer searches, and aspects of individualizing fingerprints.

Los Angeles Community College District
ADM JUS 62 Fingerprint Classification. A practical course which covers the technical terminology of fingerprinting, pattern interpretation, classification of fingerprinting, searching and filing procedures.
Students who satisfactorily complete this course will be given verification of passing. Passing this course qualifies students for employment as a fingerprint technician.

Palomar College
AJ 211 Fingerprint Identification. This course reviews the history and application of fingerprinting for personal identification including recognition of patterns and classification of fingerprints. The student will also experience practical problems involving locating, developing, lifting and photographing latent prints. Courtroom testimony and exhibits will also be covered.

Online Fingerprint Technician Training

We are now offering online Fingerprint Technician training! This self-paced course will walk you through all the skills needed to acquire a job as a Fingerprint Technician. You will learn how to identify and classify all types of fingerprints.

Many law enforcement agencies require this specific training in order to be hired as a Fingerprint Technician. Get the skills you need today!

View a detailed course description and enroll at Fingerprint Identification & Classification Online Course.

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