Forensic Technicians respond to crime scenes and search warrants when requested by Deputies and Detectives. Their duties include processing for latent prints, collecting DNA evidence, and photographing the scene. They also operate specialized equipment for collecting blood, urine, and semen samples not seen by the naked eye. This is done with either a lumalight or a chemical process called "Blue Star". The Techs also take fingerprints out in the field and obtain "major" prints of suspects brought into the Forensic Unit by Detectives. Techs take photos at all public relation ceremonies, academy graduations, promotions, retirements, and award ceremonies. When not in the field, the Techs complete and process internal work orders for case investigations for trial preparation. They download, analyze and process all of the Deputies'/Detectives' camera memory cards into our Digital Information Management System (DIMS). This allows Detectives to view the case photos from a crime scene on a computer. These Techs are all tasked with producing photos onto DVDs as these requests come in continuously from Detectives, Citizens, Attorneys, Insurance Companies and other Law Enforcement Agencies.
AFIS Unit - Automated Fingerprint Identification System
- AFIS Unit Fingerprint Technicians have a variety of duties. To include:
- Processing all of the arrestees' print cards who were booked into the jail.
- Checking to see if the arrestee is who he/she says he/she is and that the prints match him/her.
- Attempt to identify "John Does", those unidentified persons or persons using an alias.
- Discovering active warrants for persons who are booked.
- Submitting the subject's fingerprints into the FBI database and also into an Arizona state wide database called AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Indentification System).
- Assisting Detectives with fingerprint comparisons involving pawn slips.
- Covering "walk-ins", that being, persons needed to be fingerprinted as applicants for a job with the Sheriff Department, or mandatory compliance requirements (per ARS 41-1750). These are persons whom were cited for domestic violence, DUI or sex crime misdemeanors.
- Registering Sex Offenders, as the Techs serve as a backup for this important function.
- Because the Sheriff's Department Forensic Unit is the AFIS Site Manager, we process and provide fingerprint cards and mug shot photos to several regional Law Enforcement Agencies, including South Tucson PD, Marana PD, University of Arizona PD, Oro Valley PD, Tohono O'dom PD and many Federal Agencies, such as FBI, DEA, ICE and ATF.
SORT Unit - Sex Offender Registration and Tracking
By law, every convicted sex offender must register with the County in which they reside, visit, or remain, as per statute. To search the online database of registered sex offenders in Pima County, please visit OffenderWatch. They must update their initial registration whenever they move, change jobs, get a job, go to school, change their phone number, email address. They must report what type of vehicle they drive to include license plate and color. If an Offender violates this policy, a Detective is notified and the Offender can be arrested for "failure to register". The Sheriff's Department keeps the Offender's fingerprints and photo on file.
Latent Print Examination Unit
This Unit examines every latent print that is turned in by the field Technicians, Deputies and Detectives. The Examiners work to make an identification of a suspect by matching the latents/fingerprints to a suspect. Many latent prints that meet certain criteria are submitted into the AFIS data base where they remain for 3 years. This way the prints may yield a "hit" to a suspect in the future. Examiners also work on comparisons of fingerprints to suspects when requested by a Detective. This Unit serves other local Law Enforcement Agencies, including the Office of the Medical Examiner with comparison requests.
IMPORTANT LATENT STATISTICS FOR 2011
Total latent prints identified - 1088
Suspect latent prints identifies - 994
Cases with suspects identified - 280
Robbery cases with latent prints identified - 19
Auto Theft cases with latent prints identified - 89
Burglary Cases with latent prints identified - 136
January – September 2012 LATENT STATISTICS
Total Latent cases worked - 380
Suspect latents identified - 540
Suspects identified - 160
Total latents identified - 610
Latents searched through AFIS - 670
Persons ID by AFIS search - 150
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