New Certification Will Solve More Crimes

I want to personally congratulate two of our detectives for obtaining their certification in Identification Latent Print recovery.  After several months of exhaustive training, Sgt. Detective Clint Babb and Crime Scene Investigator Matt Rosser, can now lift a suspect's fingerprints and instantly compare the prints in local and regional databases — saving precious time in the aftermath of a crime.

The certification requires more than 80 hours of training in latent print matters, two years experience as a full-time forensic investigator, completing eight-hour test, experience testing in court and correctly identify 12 latent prints with inked prints. As of 2011, less than 20 people were certified in North Carolina, including Sanford resident Kathryn Brannan who retired from the SBI. In 2010, Brannan began working part-time with the Lee County Sheriff's Office and comparing fingerprints in old cases to the county's newer database.

There are fewer than 1,000 individuals worldwide with International Association for Identification Latent Print Certification and the training keeps officers from sending fingerprints to another agency or to the state.  This certification also eliminates us from going to an outside agency.

Babb said he responded to a breaking and entering at a resident's home and was able to find fingerprints at the suspect's point of entry. By mid-day, the suspect was in custody and the resident's stolen property was recovered. Prior to obtaining this certification, the search could have taken months leaving the property long gone and the suspect could have struck again.

"The system has been great for us," said Lee County Capt. Jeff Johnson. "Now we have two certified examiners, three including Kathryn, and it has taken our program to a whole new level."

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