Forensic Sciences: The Science of Fingerprint Identification

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After giving much thought to the many areas covered by Forensics Sciences, the main criteria to which my choices were narrowed and ultimately the final decision of Ballistics and/or Fingerprint Analysis was based on by the complexity of the job, need for a keen eye, and my wanting to be challenged in a career. I have no doubt that there are other areas that would be just if not more challenging however interest is a another key element in the making such a life changing and difficult decision.

The history of firearm and tool-mark identification has been a long one having evolved with great bounds over the last 165 years from the simple observation, physical matching, and caliber determination from an examination of shape/size of a projectile to the ability to match the projectile to the exact weapon from which it was fired. The first discussion regarding rifling of firearms was brought to light by Emperor Maximilian of Germany in 1493-1508 though the value of such identification did not occur for nearly 500 years.

In the earliest part of the last century (1900-1930) such scientific analysis of firearms and tool-mark identification became a recognized science in several worldwide judicial systems due to vast research by pioneering examiners such as Colonel Calvin Goddard, a professor of police science at Northwestern. In 1925 Goddard wrote an article for the Army Ordnance titled "Forensic Ballistics" in which he described the use of the comparison microscope regarding firearms investigations, in April of that same year, Goddard along with several others established the Bureau of Forensic Ballistics, which was formed to provide firearms identification services throughout America. Goddard researched, authored and spoke extensively...

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...sciences for many reasons.” (Ashbaugh, 1991)

Works Cited

Anonymous. (2005). New Ruling On FBI Analysis Of Bullet Lead Raises Question On Reliability. Crime Control Digest, Vol. 39, Iss. 10: pg.1,2.

Ashbaugh, D. (1991). Ridgology. Journal of Forensic Identification.

Hamby, J. (1999). The History of Firearm and Toolmark Identification. Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners, Vol. 31 No. 3.

III, W. D. (2006). FBI Plans Major Database Upgrade. Government Computer News.

Menzel, J. D. (1977). Inherent Fingerprint Luminescence. Journal of Forensic Science, 106-115.

Muehlberger, C. W. (1955). Colonel Clavin Hooker Goddard 1891-1955. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, Vol. 46, No. 1.

Owens, M. (2011). Techniques Used to Track Ballistics in Criminal Custice.

Zabell, S. (2005). Fingerprint Evidence. Journal of Law and Policy.
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