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Latent Fingerprint Section

Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters
Henry J. Daily Building
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Suite 3082
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 727-4153
Fax: (202) 724-5491

The mission of the Latent Fingerprint Section (LFS) is to provide the highest quality examinations in all areas of friction ridge analysis which consists of the hands, palms and the soles of the feet. Provide training and support to the Assistant U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia Superior and District Courts, and other law enforcement agencies in the field of forensic identification.

Hours of Operation

Latent Intake Submission: 8 am - 5 pm, Monday-Friday, except holidays

Latent Examination: 7 am - 11 pm, Monday-Friday, except holidays

Services and Operations

Some of the key services provided by the Latent Fingerprint Section include the following:

  • Examine latent fingerprints obtained from crime scenes.
  • Comparison latent prints against known inked prints.
  • Identify unknown deceased prints and mutilated and distorted fingers.
  • Preserve fingerprint evidence.
  • Enter latent fingerprints through various fingerprint systems.
  • Testify in local courts in legal matters.
  • Prepare laboratory reports
  • Serves as the custodian of latent fingerprint impressions obtained in criminal and civil cases.
  • Share information with law enforcement agencies.
  • Providing training to members of the Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. Attorney's Office, Office of the Attorney General and the Public Defender Services when requested.

Other services offered:

  • Community Outreach. Members of the LFS provide lectures to DC public schools, upon request and based on availability. Lectures are routinely conducted to educate our internal and external customers on the myriad services provided by the LFS.
  • Lectures. Lectures are provided to the Metropolitan Police Department sworn and civilian members, high ranked officials and law enforcement agencies from all over the world; tour the LFS when in town for conferences and meetings.
  • Tours. Tours are given to law enforcement and other related agencies.


Latent Specialists use a magnifier to examine and compare unknown and known friction ridge impressions to determine whether or not an identification has been made by applying the standard methodology to conduct all comparisons.


Evaluations performed in friction ridge impressions can result in one of the three results:

  • Individualization (identification) is rendered when two prints are made by the same individual.
  • Exclusion (non-identification) is rendered when two prints are not made by the same individual.
  • Inconclusive is rendered when additional friction ridge detail is needed to complete the comparisons.

Requesting Information and Examinations

Authorized personnel (law enforcement, legal personnel, etc.) may request latent print examinations and information by contacting the Latent Fingerprint Section.