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BJOC 2.8 - Fingerprinting
Fingerprinting Study Set for BJOC - Georgia - Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council - POST
Criminal Justice

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BJOC 2.8 - Fingerprinting

Terminal Performance Objective (TPO):


Given the need for student comprehension, the student will explain the importance of fingerprints as they relate to criminal history record information, types of fingerprints, methods used to record fingerprints, and information required to complete the fingerprint card in accordance with the Basic Jail Officer Reference Textbook.

BJOC 2.8 - Fingerprinting

Enabling Objectives (EO’s)


Enabling Objectives (EO’s):

As a result of this instruction, the student will be able to:


2.8.1        Understand what begins an individual’s Criminal History Record Information.

2.8.2        Identify the three basic fingerprint types:

a.       loops

b.      whorls

c.       arches

2.8.3        Identify the two basic methods used to record fingerprints:

a.       rolled ink impressions

b.      electronic

2.8.4        Identify the required information to complete the criminal fingerprint card, Federal Form 249.

Describe the role fingerprints have in an individual’s criminal history record.

An individual’s criminal history at the state level does not begin until a legible set of prints are on file with the state.   


What two characteristics of friction ridges make them reliable for identification of a person? 


The reliability of this method is based on two characteristics of friction ridges.  Friction ridges are:

·        formed on the hands and feet before birth and remain unchanged throughout life and are not destroyed until the decomposition of the body after death, and

·        the ridge detail on these surfaces is unique to each individual and is different from finger to finger on every person. 

What is the AFIS system?       
     Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
For a fingerprint card to be acceptable, it must meet two criteria.  What are they?

Correctly completing the data fields on the fingerprint cards is equally as   important as taking a classifiable set of prints. 

What information is required on a criminal fingerprint card? Describe the difference in the red and blue cards.     


The following information blocks on the front side of the criminal card are completed by the agency submitting the card:

·        Name (NAM) - Enter the arrested person’s last name, first name and middle name.

·        Aliases - Enter other last and/or first names used by the arrested person and nicknames.  (Use the same format as name field.)

·        Signature of Person Fingerprinted - Allow the arrested person to sign his legal signature in the presence of the person taking the fingerprints. (It is best to do this with the prints covered to avoid smudging the prints.)


·        Date and signature of Official Taking Fingerprints - The person taking the fingerprints must sign and date the card.


·        Charge - Enter each charge completely.  Use no abbreviations.  Multiple charges must be listed numerically.

·        Final Disposition - Enter final disposition only when such disposition is made by the arresting agency.  ln all other cases, this data field should be left blank.

·        Contributor (ORI) - This space will be pre-stamped by the FBI with the department’s name and ORI number.  Be sure that this information is present. (If using another departments cards, be sure to change this pre-stamped information to the correct information.)

·        Date Arrested and\or Received (DOA) - Enter this information as six numerical digits; e.g., July 9, 1980 is noted 070980.

·        Sex - Enter sex using letter M or F.

·        Race - Enter race using the appropriate one letter code listed below:

·        HGT - Enter height in feet and inches using three numerical digits; e.g.,

            6 feet, 1 inch is noted 601.

·        WGT - Enter weight in pounds using three numerical digits; e.g.,98 pounds is noted 098.

·        Eyes - Enter eye color using the appropriate three letter code indicated below:

·        Hair - Enter hair color using the appropriate three letter code indicated below:

·        Date of Birth (DOB) - Enter date of birth using six numerical digits; e.g., January 3, 1948 is noted 010348.  If month and/ or day are unknown enter two zeros in the appropriate position; e.g., December, 195O is noted 120050.

·        Place of Birth (POB) - Enter the city\town and state, territorial possession, province, or country of birth.  Use appropriate abbreviations if you know them; otherwise, spell out the words.

·        Your No.  (OCA) - Enter your agency’s number for this person or arrest.  Do not exceed twelve characters.

·        FBI (FBI) - Enter FBI number, if known.

·        SID No.  (SID) - Enter Georgia state identification number, if known.

·        Social Security Number (SOC) - Enter subject’s social security number, if known.  The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that the person be informed whether the disclosure of his social security number is mandatory or voluntary; the authority for the request; and the uses that will be made of the number.

·        Caution Box - Check this box if there is a basis for using caution when dealing with the person fingerprinted.


The following information is entered on the reverse side of the criminal card:


·        Palm Prints Taken and Photo Available - Check the appropriate “Yes” or “No” block.

·        If Arrest Fingerprints Sent FBI Previously and FBI No. Unknown Furnish Arrest No. and Date

·        Enter previous OCA number and arrest date if other criminal cards were recently submitted to the FBI and the reply from the FBI containing the FBI number has not been received or if a previous card submission was retained by the FBI, but was not assigned a FBI number.

·        Statute Citation (CIT) - Enter criminal code section numbers including subsections for the charges listed on the front side of the card.

·        Arrest Disposition (ADN) - Enter interim case information such as bond releases, case numbers, etc., if known.

·        Employer - Enter the name and address of the arrested person’s employer.

·        Occupation - Enter the arrested person’s occupation.  If arrested subject is unemployed, enter his occupation when employed.

·        Residence of Person Fingerprinted - Enter the residence street address with apartment number, city, and state of the arrested person. (If arrested subject is homeless, get last known address.)

·        Scars, Marks, Tattoos, and Amputations (SMT) - List accurately the size, description, and location of any scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or amputated fingers or limbs.  Limit this information to marks which the person obtaining the information can observe.

·        Basis for Caution (ICO) - Enter any information which will alert other officers that special care is needed when dealing with this subject. This information is for their use in protecting themselves or rendering special medical aid to the subject, if necessary. (If the caution box was checked on the front of the card, this area must be completed.)

·        Date of Offense (DOO) - Enter the date on which listed charges occurred using six numerical digits; e.g., July 28, 1980 is noted 072880.

·        Skin Tone (SKN) - Enter the appropriate abbreviation below which accurately describes the arrested subject’s complexion color:

·        Miscellaneous No. (MNU) - Enter any other number issued to this individual.  Do not list the letters which sometimes precede military serial numbers.

·        Additional Information - Enter in this block notations such as juvenile arrestees who are treated as adults (show as “treated as adult”).

·        The only fingerprint cards to be used in Georgia are the red-on-white cards provided by the FBI at no cost for recording the fingerprints of arrested persons (FBI Form FD-249) and the blue-on-white cards provided by the FBI at no cost for recording the fingerprints of applicants (FBI Form FD-258).

What is the first step in taking fingerprints?  

The first step in taking fingerprints is the preparation of the inking plate.  The inking plate should be free of large dust or other foreign particles which may interfere with the inking process.

What is the key to obtaining a good set of inked fingerprints?

The key to obtaining a good set of inked impressions is the control that the person obtaining the prints has over the finger being printed. 

Practice is the only way to become proficient at taking legible fingerprints.      What are some suggestions that will make the job easier and more error free?   


·        Allow the person being printed to wash and dry his hands completely to remove foreign material on the ridges that may interfere with the appearance of the inked ridge detail.  The hands must be completely dry.  Fingerprint ink will not stick to moist skin.

·        Fingerprinting records the ridges on the fingers as black lines and the furrows between the ridges as white lines.  As a person grows older the ridges are worn down and these furrows become shallow.  This, coupled with a general deterioration of the ridges, can sometimes make obtaining a legible set of prints from an older person more difficult.  To ensure that these shallow furrows are not also recorded on the card by the ink, very light pressure should be applied when fingerprinting anyone with worn ridges.  Examine the hands before printing begins to determine if a lighter pressure is needed.

·        Frequently, persons are encountered with amputated fingers, fingers which were missing at birth or fingers which are drawn toward the palm and are extremely inflexible due to injury or disease.  Amputated or missing fingers are noted in the appropriate block of the fingerprint card.  Fingers which are drawn and cannot be inked in the conventional way are not ignored.

·        All fingers which are present must be recorded on the fingerprint card or the card cannot be correctly classified.  Drawn fingers are inked with an inking pad which has a nonporous permanently inked surface, commonly called a c pad. 

How does a jail officer handle fingerprinting a person with amputated, missing, or deformed fingers?       

Scars, Marks, Tattoos, and Amputations (SMT) - List accurately the size, description, and location of any scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or amputated fingers or limbs.  Limit this information to marks which the person obtaining the information can observe.

What should an officer do prior to operating any Live Scan equipment? 

Prior to operating any Live Scan equipment, the officer should first read the owner’s manual for that equipment, or be given training on that specific manufacturer’s device. 


Describe the three basic fingerprint pattern types.   



The loop type fingerprint pattern has ridges which begin on one side of the finger, flow to the center, recurve, and flow out the same side upon which they entered.  The loop has two pattern characteristics which must be recorded when the finger is printed.  One characteristic is called a delta.  Loops will always have one area on the pattern in which the ridges flow parallel and then separate and flow in different directions.  The point nearest this separation is called the delta. 

A loop also has a characteristic called the core.  The core is the center of the pattern near the innermost recurving ridge.  A loop type pattern without these two characteristics recorded cannot be correctly classified.  The fingerprint classifier must be able to count precisely the number of ridges between these two characteristics.


The second general fingerprint pattern type is the whorl.  All whorls have two or more deltas and ridges which recurve in front of them.  The properly rolled whorl must have all of the deltas recorded.  The ridges between the deltas must also be legible.  The fingerprint classifier begins at the left delta and traces the ridge from this delta to the right delta to determine if the traced ridge passes inside, outside, or into the right delta.  This cannot be accurately determined if one of the deltas is not recorded on the inked impression.


Plain arches are the most simple of all fingerprint patterns.  In fact there is almost an absence of any pattern rather than the presence of one, because actually, they do not form real patterns at all.  With a plain arch, the ridges enter on one side of the pattern and flow towards the other side, with a rise in the center, with not more than one of the four requisites for a loop, and with no recurving ridge, no angular formation and no upward thrust.  In most plain arch patterns the rise in the center will not be very great. On occasion, you may find one in which the rise is quite pronounced.

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