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The Crime Lab makes a difference by ... leaving an imprint on the criminal justice system

In honor of National Forensic Science Week, the Orange County Crime Lab wants to educate the public on the many ways our work impacts the county and makes a difference in the life of the citizens we serve.

Dating back to the late 19th century, fingerprinting served as one of the pioneering practices of forensic science. Matching and maintaining millions of fingerprint images remains an important tool to help law enforcement agencies identify suspects and solve pending cases.

Everyone arrested in Orange County must have their fingerprints recorded and saved in databases at the county, state and federal levels.  Given that no two fingerprints are alike, this practice helps connect criminals to current crimes, previous arrests and potentially crime committed in other jurisdictions.  

The Orange County Crime Lab provides police departments with equipment to electronically capture fingerprints, palm prints, and booking photos, which are all shared with state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The fingerprint database dates back to the 1950s, and continues to evolve today. Soon deputies and officers patrolling the streets will be able to capture a fingerprint from someone they come in contact with on patrol and, with no more information than that, find out who they are and if they have a record.