John P. Black,
Course Description This five day introductory course is designed to familiarize the student with the fundamental concepts of Ridgeology, which is a holistic approach to fingerprint examination. This course examines in detail the following topics: theory, technique, standards and standards for conclusions. The theories of skin growth, persistency and biological uniqueness are presented, along with the contributions of key researchers in the science of fingerprints.
The focus then shifts heavily toward technique. Considerable time is spent discussing ACE-V methodology, but preferential treatment is given to the analysis phase. Students will analyze numerous impressions, record their bench notes and then articulate and defend those notes for the class. This will reinforce the material presented and will better enable the student to understand the appearance of a given impression. It will also highlight the importance of a transparent case record that can withstand scientific scrutiny. Students will also complete two (2) separate comparison exercises.
Both legal and scientific standards will then be discussed, along with what comprises our standards for conclusions. Key legal decisions pertaining to the science of fingerprints will be discussed, as will issues raised by prominent critics of the science. Students will complete a written assessment at the end of the course.