In DNA Era, Police Print Lab Still Crime-solving WorkhorseJun 12, 2012
By David Hench
Last month, a Portland woman reported that a stranger broke into her High Street apartment and tried to rape her.
|A close-up of a palm print shown on Portland Police Department evidence technician Frank Pellerin's computer. Courtesy of John Ewing/Staff Photographer
She didn't know him, and police had only a vague description to work with, but within a few hours officers identified the suspect, and tracked him to a West End apartment just two days after the attack.
Evidence technicians had retrieved a fingerprint from a foil condom wrapper, downloaded it into the regional crime lab's automated fingerprint identification system and matched it with Mohammed Mukhtar, an 18-year-old who had been arrested — and fingerprinted — for allegedly driving without a license a month earlier.
While the cutting-edge science of DNA analysis gets a lot of the glory in forensics, fingerprints — and increasingly, palm prints — remain a workhorse of crime scene investigation.
Source: The Portland Press Herald