OSBI Introduces New Technology To Detect Fingerprints, Solve Cold Cases

Wednesday, March 3rd 2021, 4:23 pm
By: Jennifer Pierce

Law enforcement officers in Oklahoma now have new ways to catch criminals.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation introduced cutting-edge technology that will allow investigators to detect fingerprints where they could not before.

The new latent print technology has the ability to crack cold cases, solve new cases faster and it can only be found at the OSBI lab. 

The agency’s technology manager for the Latent Print Unit, Meghan Jones, looks for what can not be seen by the naked eye, what she referred to as latent fingerprints.

“Latent means hidden,” Jones said.

With the new technology, Jones helped the Latent Print Unit advance in ways they never thought possible.

Technology has improved to where law enforcement can now recover fingerprints off objects they could not before. Such as residue off bullet casings or other metal objects.

“If that metal object, say a knife has been washed away with bleach, acetone or been thrown in a lake,” said Jones. “We can retrieve that and run it through our recover process and it will fume it.”

Bullet casings and other cylinder shaped object can also be photographed to reveal a perfectly shaped fingerprint.

The other piece of equipment is the VMD chamber. The device can lift prints and maintain contact DNA for further investigation.

“What it is good for is one fabrics, leather, things of that nature,” said Jones. “That traditional technology wouldn’t develop any prints on.”

The OSBI Director Ricky Adams gave Jones the green light to purchase the new technology and test its capabilities. 

“We’re currently testing and getting it,” Adams said. “Getting it upgraded to go for prime time.”

Jones has already been meeting with OSBI cold case investigators to review evidence they thought could never be used.

“I can look at these with a fresh new eye,” said Jones.

Agency officials said the new equipment cost around $150,000.