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Reading Between The Papillary Ridges

Lauren Dirig

English III Honors Pd. 5

Mr. Alburger

February 23, 2017

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Lauren Dirig

Mr. Alburger

English III Honors

15 February 2017

Reading Between The Papillary Ridges

Person A grabs Person B in an alley and attempts to rob Person B and in the process

Person B rips a small piece of Person As sleeve off and then grabs Person As glasses to throw

Person A off guard. Person B tries to fight back. Gun shots sound leaving Person B wounded.

Person A flees and gets away with Person Bs checkbook and credit cards. Without any direct

witnesses of the event and no emerging video footage from the security cameras, one may

assume that the crime will go unsolved. False, this crime contains plenty of evidence for a

forensic scientist to identify the criminal. A forensic scientists job consists of gathering

scientific evidence and applying that evidence to the law. Each part of this crime will help the

forensic scientist find the scientific evidence necessary to identify, prosecute, and process the

criminal. A forensic scientist does not work single-handedly to uncover evidence but rather

works within a group of people within the forensic science community who specialize in specific

aspects. Forensic science possesses many disciplines which work together in order to play

different parts in solving the crime while using specific equipment, analysis, special skills, and

advanced education.

The process of solving this case would start with the CSI, or the Crime Scene

Investigation Discipline, examining the crime scene. The Crime Scene Investigators will start

their investigation process by marking the crime scene (CSI). Referring to the crime between
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Person A and B, the Crime Scene Investigators would rope off the alleyway to make sure no

potential evidence gets tampered with or stolen (CSI). As described in, a Crime Scene Investigators responsibilities involve

recognition, documentation, evidence preservation and observing the crime scene. The

investigators must recognize the other people working on the case so no unauthorized persons

obtain access to the scene. Crime Scene Investigators document positions and locations of

different objects on the scene. Crime Scene Investigators make sketches and diagrams of the

area, suspects, and the individual parts of the scene as well (What is CSI). Since making

sketches falls into the job description, having visual artistic abilities would provide an essential

quality. The Crime Scene Investigators also take note and write reports to help the other

disciplines to do their part (What is CSI). Recording detailed notes can provide the other

disciplines with helpful information regarding the case. Other Crime Scene Investigators have

the role of finding evidence on the scene such as hair, fragments, weapons or bodily fluids. The

Crime Scene Investigators cautiously collects and preserves the evidence so the evidence does

not get contaminated with their own DNA (What is CSI). If evidence becomes contaminated

then the Crime Scene Investigator may have compromised its authenticity. Once the Crime

Scene Investigators properly secures the evidence, the agent then transports the evidence to a lab

where the other forensics disciplines will use special methods and equipment to uncover more

information (What is CSI). The job of a Crime Scene Investigators requires a variety of

educational requirements and special skills. The educational requirements include a

comprehensive education program, a bachelors degree in criminal justice or forensic science,

and on some occasions, an associates degree in criminal justice or forensics science (CSI ).
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Success in this field may require Crime Scene Investigators to possess a few special skills. These

skills may include; the ability to communicate well, cautiousness, a vast knowledge of natural

sciences, biology and observance. Communication skills make the job run much more smoothly.

Cautiousness helps prevent contamination of evidence. Knowledge regarding natural sciences

can assist the investigators in understanding what specific clues will help the case and why. In

order to find the small clues that could help solve a case, such as hair and trace elements a Crime

Scene Investigator must pay attention to small details meaning the scientists must have observant

qualities (CSI). In the case between Person A and Person B, the Crime Scene Investigators

would put their education and special skills to use in order to secure evidence such as the

documents, the torn shirt, the glasses and the bullet. The Crime Scene Investigators will contain

and transfer the evidence to a lab where the other forensic scientists will analyze each piece of


The biology and Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA discipline could play a big part in the

investigation between Person A and B. Due to the fact that Person B suffered from a bullet

wound, the forensics DNA specialists would conduct a blood test using the dried blood residue

left on the shirt. Out of all bodily fluids, blood provides the most useful evidence on a crime

scene. In addition, the unique color of blood makes the fluid easy to identify ("Forensic

Serology"). To conduct a blood test, the forensic biologists uses a study called serology to

analyze potential sources of DNA. In order to analyze the material, the scientist must first

remove the nuclei from white blood cells (Forensic Serology). The nuclei contains the genetic

information called DNA. The scientist needs this because the nuclei provides a unique genetic

code for the individual. Next, special enzymes will cut DNA into individual strands and then the
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DNA pieces submerse in a special gel with electronic rods that recoil the DNA strands. The

scientist then takes photographs to then examine the DNA (Forensic Serology). The scientists

may also introduce different antigens to the DNA in order to reveal specific microorganisms

present in the fluid (Patzelt). The scientists not only look at the blood samples but also, the

patterns of blood splatter. Blood smears and drops can enlighten the scientists with information

regarding where the shot came from and how far the blood droplet had fallen based on their

shape ("Forensic Serology"). Not every case involves blood, so forensic scientists will run

serological tests on any available bodily fluid found on the scene. If Person A sexually assaulted

Person B the scientists would look for seminal materials a potential source of DNA. If seminal

material appears, the scientists would use the samples containing the seminal fluid. According to

forensic scientist Lori James, child molestation and rape cases generally occur most often. A

forensic scientist in this discipline would spend an abundance of their time detecting body fluids

and performing DNA tests. Forensic scientists may also examine saliva with a tool called a micro

station (Patzelt). The scientists may swab surfaces to look for for skin cells if the scene does not

contain any body fluids (James). The scientists would conduct a the same test to identify DNA in

the skin cells. Then, upon the completion of each test, the scientists compare the evidentiary

samples to the standard samples of those involved in the case to determine if a specific person

played a part in the case. Careers in DNA or biology forensics requires advanced education in

the field of forensic, DNA, biology, or chemistry. Someone considering a job in this field should

also understand the importance of conducting the tests thoroughly and maintaining focus at all

times (James). This field plays an important role in forensic science because DNA provides

undeniable information when proving a suspects presence on a crime scene.

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The toxicology discipline of forensic science also deals with bodily fluids much like the

biology discipline but in a different way. Rather than looking for a unique DNA sequence to

identify a specific person, toxicologists look for dissolved drugs and or chemicals in the fluids

and analyze the chemicals identified (About). A toxicologist can provide important insight on

a case if the scientists can prove that a substance may have influenced and or compromised the

criminals actions. Toxicologists look for the presence of alcohol, drugs, metallic material,

harmful chemicals in the gas state, and other poisonous substances (Forensics Toxicologist).

Forensic scientists reveal the presence of the drugs by chemical signatures and the way the

unknown substance reacts with other chemicals ("Forensic Drug). Forensic toxicologists come

across a variety of circumstances where they would identify unknown substances. Death

examination toxicology refers to when a forensic toxicologist assists a coroner in identifying the

role a substance played in the death of the body in which the toxicologist examines. The

toxicologist uses tissues and fluid samples in order to reveal the substances. Human performance

toxicology refers to observing the effects of drugs and alcohol. This branch of toxicology mainly

focuses on observing how drugs impair the actions of a human. Doping control refers to the line

of work that basically refers to drug testing mainly in the realm of professional sports. Forensic

workplace drug testing refers to a line of work similar to doping control but in general federal

offices and in the military (Young). The educational requirements for this field generally

include a bachelor's in biopharmaceuticals, forensics, and/or chemistry. Some universities offer

Forensics Toxicology for a masters or doctorate degree (Forensic Toxicologist"). This

prestigious field provides information regarding compromising substances in criminal law cases

and in everyday working places.

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When Person A grabbed Person B's glasses, Person A left behind a unique design on the

glass. The papillary ridges and oils from the epidermis layer cause fingerprints to appear. When

papillary ridges come in contact with any surface, the ridges will leave behind a design unique to

the person to which the prints belong. Fingerprinting allows the forensic scientists to identify

suspects, witnesses, and missing people. Forensic scientists in the fingerprinting discipline use a

variety of different mechanisms to reveal the fingerprints in order to properly analyze the design.

The many mechanisms scientists use to reveal fingerprints consist of; powder and tape, magna

brushes, the cyanoacrylate fuming method, ninhydrin, iodine fuming, silver nitrate, and amido

black (Fingerprints). The powder and tape method requires an aluminum and carbon powder

and adhesive tape. The powder solution allows the fingerprints to become visible when the

adhesive tape lifts the print. Also forensic scientists can properly analyze and document the

fingerprints by taking the tape containing the fingerprint to the lab (Fingerprints). The magna

brush method requires an iron powder solution and a magnetic brush. A forensic scientist would

dip this brush in iron powder, and brush the the powder across the surface of interest, the iron

would then reveal the fingerprints. The cyanoacrylate fuming method, also known as the super

glue fuming method, has proved to be another useful way of detecting latent prints

(Fingerprints). This method, developed by the Japanese, uses a super glue spray in the air. The

chemicals in the super glue react with the oils left behind from the fingerprints making the prints

visible. The ninhydrin method uses a ninhydrin spray or swab to reveal prints by reacting with

the oil traces and turning the fingerprints a pink or purple color. The iodine fuming method only

reveals prints temporarily. Forensic scientists use a fumer to turn iodine crystals into gas and

then point fumer in the direction of the fingerprints to reveal them. Forensic scientists
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specifically use the silver nitrate method to reveal fingerprints on paper. The oily residue left

behind by fingertips contain sodium chloride. When sodium chloride and silver mix the solution

will turn black in the light. When a scientist wants to find fingerprints on documents, the

scientists would apply silver to the document, expose the document to light, and allow the silver

sodium chloride reaction to reveal the prints. The amido black method identifies fingerprints in

blood. Forensic scientists apply a special chemical and the amido black chemical to a blood stain

to reveal the prints (Fingerprints). Forensic scientists use many mechanisms to identify

fingerprints. Once one of the mechanisms reveals a fingerprint and forensic scientists analyze it,

the scientists can draw a variety of conclusions based on the fingerprint. The fingerprints reveal a

general type of print. Fingerprints fall into one of three categories- arches, loops or whorls

(Fingerprints). In order to pursue a career in this discipline, candidates must seek higher

education such as a bachelor's degree in forensic science or programs specializing in chemistry,

biology, and criminal law ("About). Having an understanding of these concepts set prospective

scientists up for a successful career in the fingerprinting discipline.Fingerprints provide much

like DNA can provide undeniable information when proving a suspects presents on a crime


In the situation between Person A and B, Person B tears a piece of Person As shirt. This

detail may seem insignificant, but to the trace discipline of forensic science, this holds an

enormous amount of potential evidence. The trace departments responsibilities include

analyzing materials left behind when a violent crime takes place (What Is Trace). This

discipline analyzes a variety of crime scene evidence in order to obtain specific information. The

trace discipline analyzes hair, fibers, fabric, minerals and remains. Scientists in the trace
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department can identify gender and species based on hair samples found on the scene. Any

man-made object or fragment left on the scene qualifies as a fiber. These fibers can help identify

weapons and potential suspects. The trace discipline can also use torn fabric samples and match

the sample to the original piece of clothing in order to identify a suspect. In some cases,

scientists in the trace discipline use a study known as mineralogy. Mineralogy studies natural

substances such as ash, charcoal, and glass to gather information about the crime scene. The

trace discipline also uses anthropology in specific cases when the scene primarily comprises of

human remains (What Is Trace). The trace unit uses a variety of equipment to examine these

materials such as stereo microscopes, polarized light microscopes, glass refractive index

measurement devices, scanning electron microscopes, gas chromatography, mass spectrometers,

and energy dispersive spectrometers (What Is Trace). In regards to Person A and Person B, if

the forensic scientist in this discipline finds the owner of the shirt, the scientists can match the

torn fabric piece Person B obtained from Person As shirt to identify Person A as a legitimate

suspect. In order to qualify for a job in this career, candidates may need a variety of higher

education such as a bachelors degree in chemistry along with an understanding of general,

organic, and analytical chemistry (What Is Trace). Trace provides an abundance of additional

information that helps solve a case.

During the debacle between Person A and B, a shot fired and wounded Person B. The

bullet carries a remarkable amount of information for a forensic scientist in the firearm

discipline. For this discipline, the job starts on the scene of the crime where the scientists look

for gunpowder and the distance between where the firearm most likely fired to where the bullet

penetrated the victim. This gives scientists more detailed information in the power of the firearm.
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The bullet contains grooves, the grooves appear and form when the bullet travels down the gun

barrel after the gun discharges the ammunition when fired. The grooves will then engrave in the

bullet. Each gun contains imperfections from the manufacturer and these imperfections make

unique marks on the bullet allowing the scientists to match a bullet to a firearm. The forensic

scientists in the firearm discipline would also count the number of marks left from the grooves

and the space between the grooves to uncover the barrel size and width. These scientists also

look for firing pin impressions, breech face marks, and extractor mark's ("Firearms and). These

scientists often use the IBIS, or Integrated Ballistic Identification System, if the criminal

committed any crimes prior to this initial crime. The information gathered from the acquired

bullet might match another bullet in the IBIS. If the IBIS recognizes a bullet, then the system

will give information regarding the previous case. Even if the system identifies the bullets as the

same, the scientist still must use a split screen computer and their own knowledge to completely

identify the bullets as a match in case the IBIS system made a mistake. This same process works

to identify cartridges found at the crime scene as well (Lofland). These steps would allow the

scientists to identify the type of firearm used in the crime scene and then trace the type of gun to

a particular person. If the bullet already exists in the IBIS, then the system will allow the

scientists to identify the criminal easily. Once the scientists find the firearm, then the scientists

would conduct a water tank test. A water tank process consists of a scientist firing the firearm

into a tank of water and then taking the bullet from the tank and comparing the bullet to the one

from the crime scene. If the bullets match, then the scientists have competently completed their

job ("Firearms and). In order to pursue a career in the firearms discipline, candidates require

higher education degrees such as a bachelor's degree in forensics, criminal justice or engineering
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("Firearm). In addition, having a general knowledge regarding firearms would present itself as a

useful skill ("Firearm). Identifying firearms provides information regarding a possible murder

weapon. Identifying the murder weapon and its owner could make or break a case.

In the altercation involving Person A and Person B, Person A grabbed Person B's

checkbook. If Person A gets caught trying to use the checkbook by forging Person B's signature,

making Person A guilty of committed forgery. The forensics discipline of questioned documents

would analyze the check and the signature in effort to track down Person A. The questioned

documents discipline creates an extensive list of jobs that share responsibilities similar to those

of historical dating, paper and ink, forgery specialists, and forensic stylistics (Questioned).

Each of these jobs presents one of the many analyzation techniques that allows the scientists in

the questioned documents discipline to analyze and uncover new information regarding specific

documents. Scientists use carbon 14 to uncover the age of documents through a process called

historical dating (Questioned). The carbon dating method requires scientist to analyze the

amount of carbon 14 present in order to determine the age (Dating). Paper and ink specialists

use chemicals to date multiple types of inks such as pen and computer ink. Forgery specialists

use spectrography, infrared lighting and specific computerized image enhancers to view possible

alterations made to documents. Forensic stylistics analyzes the writing style of the original

author compared to the style of the document with questionable authenticity (Questioned).

Along with the previous responsibilities, a document examiner intensely analyzes documents for

slight differences that may prove a document fraudulent. Document examiners also closely

examine these differences using microscopic technology as well as various chemicals. Once the

document examiners proclaim the document fraudulent the scientists will then attempt to track
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down the possible suspect who could have committed the fraud (Roufa). These scientists

typically work on forgery, counterfeit, mail fraud, white collar and embezzlement cases

(Forensic Science). The educational path to becoming a document examiner varies, a bachelor's

or undergraduate degree in a natural science along with training in the field. Special skills such

as good eyesight and attention to detail would prove beneficial in this area as well (Forensic

Science). The questioned documents discipline plays a big part in solving crime because the

scientists can use science to provide forged or fraudulent activity documents that prove suspects


Person A grabs Person B in an alley and attempts to rob Person B and in the process

Person B rips a small piece of Person A s sleeve off and grabs Person As glasses in attempt to

throw Person A off guard. Person B tries to fights back. Gun shots sound, leaving Person B

wounded. Person A flees and gets away with Person Bs checkbook and credit cards. The

information presented previously proves that regardless of video footage and witnesses, forensic

scientists will use information from the crime scene to identify the criminal. The CSI discipline

would identify potential evidence which would then get transferred to various labs. The biology

discipline would examine blood samples from the bullet wound and any other fluids left on the

scene. The toxicology department would test fluid samples for any compromising substances.

The fingerprinting discipline would identify and match the fingerprints the scientists find fitting

to person A. Trace would find the ripped sleeve piece in Person As possession and match the

piece to the original piece of clothing. The firearms discipline would test Person As gun and

match the weapon to the crime scene using the recovered bullet. Finally, the questioned

documents discipline would identify any fraudulent conduct by Person A. Forensic scientists
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work hard to uncover this evidence by applying their scientific knowledge to the law. Through

the evidence uncovered the scientists would have enough evidence to prosecute Person A to the

full extent of the law for the assault and robbery of Person B.

Forensic scientists work hard each day to find small and specific materials that they can

turn into evidence. In many situations Forensic scientists have to read between the lines in

order to find this evidence because the evidence may seem insignificant. Forensic science

contains many disciplines which work together in order to play different parts in solving the

crime while using special equipment, analysis, special skills, and advanced education.
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Work Cited

"About Forensic Drug Analysts." Web. 13 Feb. 2017.


CSI Job Description." How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator.Web. 25 Jan. 2017.


"Fingerprints." Forensic Science & Forensic Medicine. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.


"Firearm Identification Career Information." Firearm Identification Career Information - Web. 08 Feb. 2017. <>.

"Firearms and Toolmarks Overview." Firearms and Toolmarks Overview, 15 Mar. 15. Web. 02

Feb. 2017.


"Forensic Drug Chemistry." Forensic Drug Chemistry: Principles.Web. 25 Jan. 2017.


Forensic Science & Forensic Medicine. Questioned Document Examination, Web. 24 Jan. 2017.


"Forensic Serology." Forensic Science & Forensic Medicine. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.


"Forensic Toxicologist." Web. 13 Feb. 2017.


James, Lori. "Lauren's Pride Paper Interview Questions." E-mail interview. 11 Feb. 2017.
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Lofland, Lee. "IBIS: Integrated Ballistics Identification System The Graveyard Shift." The

Graveyard Shift. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.


Patzelt, Dieter. "History of forensic serology and molecular genetics in the sphere of activity of

the German Society for Forensic Medicine." Forensic Science International 2004: 185.

Academic OneFile. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.



Questioned Document Examination." Forensic Science & Forensic Medicine. Questioned

Document Examination, Web. 24 Jan. 2017.


Roufa, Timothy. "Forensic Documents Examiner Career Profile." The Balance., 8 Nov. 2016.

Web. 11 Feb. 2017.


What Is a CSI - Crime Scene Investigator?" How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator, Web.

25 Jan. 2017. <>.

"What Is Trace Evidence Examiner?" Web. 24 Jan. 2017.


"Young Forensic Toxicologists." Society of Forensic Toxicologists, Inc.Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

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