I’m going to blow your mind with one simple sentence. Â Ready? Â Hold on to something…
Fingerprinting is bullshit.
I know, I know. Â Hear me out, though, I’ll explain. Â First, let me clarify. Â Fingerprinting as you know it is bullshit. Â There are hardworking crime scene techs the world over that do amazing work and fingerprinting is part of that work. Â They are well-trained and much smarter than me, your average cop on the street. Â They go through Lord knows how many hours of crime scene specific training. Â I do know, however, that it is a whole heck of a lot more than I do.
Consequently, when I show up to your misdemeanor vandalism and you want me to fingerprint the rock some crankster threw through the rear window of your ’96 Mazda MPV because your crankster son stiffed them, I will laugh at you. Â Right at you. Â Because you watch too much TV. Â (I actually had that detail a number of years ago. Â No joke. Â If only I had a blog seven years ago.)
This is not CSI. Â That schmuck that left NYPD Blue for ridiculous theme songs and stupid glasses isn’t going to rappel from the CSI chopper to fingerprint your damn rock. Â (On a side note, I’m glad he left NYPD Blue. Â Greedy bastard made way for Jimmy Smits. Â He rocked). Â By the way, I will also not place your rock in a solarium with some super glue to magically make a fingerprint appear a la Axel Foley.
I have fingerprinted my fair share of scenes. Â I hate it and it is mostly pointless, but it’s good PR. Â Folks think we’re “doing our jobs”. Â Truth be told, we are. Â The sad fact, however, is that one of three results will occur.
1. Bad guys wear gloves; therefore we will find nothing. Â You can blame TV for this one, too. Â Bad guys watch cop shows. Â They freaking love them. Â No clue why, but it’s true. Â At any rate, they see all the b.s. drama about someone getting popped because he left a pinky print on the vanity and think to themselves, “Daaammmnnnn…I need to get me some gloves, yo.”
2. The fingerprints will be smudged and useless. Â It takes something like seven distinct points of contact to make a match with a fingerprint. Â (You legit CSI folks feel free to correct me). Â One practically has to roll one’s fingerprints oneself to have them be usable.
3. If we get prints it will either be someone who lives there or the cop. Â Seriously, of the three times in my 13 year career that I have seen literally dozens and dozens of scenes be processed for fingerprints, two of them came back to the printing officer. Â Awesome.
So, yes, we still process for prints, but I am always sure to explain to the victim that the odds of us catching someone based on fingerprints are damn near nil. Â Then I go on a rail about how shitty CSI (the TV show) is and how it has forever screwed cops for collecting evidence. Â Not to mention the acting. Â Oh dear God, the acting. Â They should be ashamed of themselves. Â I certainly am.
Be honest. Â Mind is blown, right?
Photo Credit for featured image: Esquire.com
Photo Credit for fingerprint image: Flickr and Tobyotter