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Competency is NOT a stagnant unchanging entity. All forensic specialists are expected to grow in skill level throughout their career and a "One Size Fits All" competency testing concept simply does not meet the need of today's forensic community. From screening potential trainees to ensuring that your more "senior" LPEs can still make the tough calls, and numerous career stages in between, RS&A has designed fair and thorough competency examinations to answer your questions.
Level 1- Pre-Employment Applicant Screening Tests

Whether you are hiring a trainee or a more experienced examiner, you need to know if they are worth your valuable time, effort and money to bring them on board. That means they have to be able to discriminate between minute forms, shapes and details to succeed in this business. Visual acuity testing is remarkably effective for assessing these abilities and will provide critical information to assist in your hiring decision.

Level 2- Pre-Supervised Casework Evaluation Test

There is a legitimate need for latent print unit managers to have their trainees externally evaluated prior to approving them for supervised casework. This outside assistance removes any subjectivity the trainer may naturally have after working closely with a trainee for an extended period of time. In addition, this would mitigate the potential for a trainee to advance prematurely in an effort to cope with a mounting backlog. RS&A can readily and reliably provide this valuable objective assistance because, quite frankly, we “don’t have a dog in the fight” – we just want you to be assured of your trainee’s status!

Level 3- Case Working Latent Print Examiner Test

This test is designed with several applications in mind. First, the test can be used to evaluate an examiner at the end of their training program prior to being approved for independent casework. Second, this Level 3 module could augment your current proficiency testing program, particularly in the event of a discrepancy between your lab’s results and those of the proficiency test provider. A third use could be to reevaluate an examiner – who has completed a special assignment (such as an overseas deployment) – prior to resuming casework. You may also opt to supplement your internal continuing education program if training funds are too scarce to justify conference attendance.

Level 4- Pre-IAI Certification Tests

These tests are designed to determine if an examiner is prepared to successfully pass the International Association for Identification Certified Latent Print Examiner test. Studying and completing practice comparisons are keys to passing the certification test. These pre-tests are particularly advantageous for an examiner whose primary responsibility does not involve latent print comparisons or if it has been a while since the examiner has been able to attend a comparison intensive training course, like the five day IAI Latent Print Certification Test Preparation course, available through RS&A’s training division.

Level 5- Supervisory Latent Print Examiner Pre-Promotion Test

This testing module is designed to help you find the right candidate to assume either a supervisory or technical lead position. There is a direct correlation between the overall quality of a latent print unit and the technical skills/abilities of their leader. Thus, it is mission-critical in today’s forensic environment that you hire the examiner who will reliably lead your unit for years to come. Anything less won’t cut it!

Level 6- Senior Latent Print Examiner Test

There are many latent print examiners out there with 25+ years of experience. Their knowledge, skills and abilities are foundational for the continuing function of their latent print units, being essential for training future generations of examiners. They offer guidance and insight that can’t be found in any textbook or training manual. However, it is well-known that one’s eyesight and visual acuity may diminish over time and this must be addressed. After all, you need to know that your most seasoned examiner can still make the proper decisions on those tough comparisons.

Custom Made Competency Tests

We can make a competency test to fit your exact need. Contact us today and see what RS&A can do for you!

RS&A Competency Testing Division at 1-866-832-6772 or

What makes our competency tests so special?
  • They are designed by Latent Print Examiners for Latent Print Examiners.
  • They are thoroughly reviewed by a panel of CLPEs prior to release.
  • The original latent print images have been captured at 1000 ppi or higher.
  • All of the livescan prints are captured at 500ppi.
  • Each latent print image is printed using high quality industry leading printers which accurately renders the 1,000 ppi image.
  • It has taken RS&A over four years to build the database of latent print and known print images, and each original latent print and known print was personally collected by a member of the RS&A staff. The individuals who have their latent and known prints in our database have signed a formal release, authorizing RS&A to utilize their prints for testing or training purposes.
  • RS&A has invested over $300K in the development of this product and continues to invest as needed. There is no other entity who can offer the forensic identification community this level of competency testing service, period.
Who better to grade your competency test answers than Ron Smith and Associates? Our staff of expert examiners are considered some of the industry's best and we are proud of our heritage and reputation as a reliable source for impression evidence examination. RS&A offers our expertise and experience to you when you choose the RS&A grading option for your competency test. Not only will we grade test answers for correctness, but we will provide deeper insight into an examiners strengths and weaknesses. Once the test has been graded, we will perform an in depth evaluation of the examiner's test answers. Our evaluation may answer examiner specific questions like: What are their specific areas for improvement? Did they incorrectly answer more in a particular area? What are their strengths and weaknesses as an latent print evidence examiner? These are valuable questions that can be answered from an examiner's test results. This type of valuable feedback can also be used to identify any specific training requirements needed to enhance an examiners specific skill sets. Once our evaluation is completed, we will email an enhanced results report for your records.
Have a specific need or want to evaluate a certain examiner yourself? When you select the grading option "Agency Self-Graded", we send you a sealed answer key along with latents and known print images.
The original latent print images have been captured at 1000 ppi or higher and all of the livescan prints are captured at 500ppi. They are printed using high quality industry leading printers that accurately renders the 1,000 ppi image. We are able to provide this extremely high level of quality due to our significant investment in the latest printer technology.
This is a great option for the examiner who wishes to complete their examinations on-screen. The latent images have been captured at 1000 ppi or higher and all of the livescan prints are captured at 500ppi. Each image is provided in a TIFF format and a professional photo editing software is highly recommended.
Do you like to use both photo print hard copies and digital photos to do your comparisons? If so, we have the solution for you. Be sure to select this option in the cart when ordering your test.
We can meet your specific testing needs!
In the past it has been impossible to answer all of these questions with one level of testing. RS&A has now developed this concept in a ”Multi-Level Competency Testing Program”. A program of this magnitude and complexity requires literally thousands of fully “graded” latent prints and corresponding known exemplar prints. Latent print examinations that are designed to test for sufficiency issues, position orientation skills, comparison skills, verification skills, full technical review skills and a myriad of customized purposes is desperately warranted!
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