Friday, February 29, 2008

CSI: Hooterville

Is this the reason some bad guys call the good guys pigs?

I'm just sayin'

FBI using pigs to practice fingerprint techniques
Stacia Willson: KENS 5 Eyewitness News

They are considered clever animals, and now pigs are playing a huge role in solving crimes.

San Antonio's FBI office is turning to the animals to turn up new evidence, and dusting for prints has risen to a whole new level.

"Pig skin is the closest to human skin," forensic examiner M.K. Pritchard said.

Pritchard is using pigs to train other FBI agents on how to lift fingerprints from skin.
"When our ERT teams go out to crime scenes, and they find victims after rapes, murders or anything like that, a deceased individual, we want to see if we can develop latent prints of the suspect on the skin of the individual," Pritchard said.

Authorities say this type of technique has actually been used since the mid-70s, but popular programs like CSI have changed things.

"There hasn't been a lot of attention given to it until recent television shows and things like that," said Michael Wise, the supervisory special agent for the evidence response team.

Agents use glue to adhere to the oils of a fingerprint. After that, a special magnetic dust is spread across the skin.

"You have two latent fingerprints here. This is what we'd be going for when we are looking for prints on deceased individuals," Pritchard said.

Agents are also trained in fingerprint dusting for just about every kind of surface. Whether it's plastic, tile, a car or skin, FBI evidence response teams will search every inch for more clues.
"It would just be another forensic technique that we could utilize in order to get a suspect in a case," Pritchard said.

FBI instructors started using pigs to train agents last year. This week agents from all over the country are here in San Antonio learning about these techniques.