All professionals carry the tools of their trade with them while they are on the job. The carpenter carries his tool box, which would include a hammer, a saw, screwdrivers and other wood working tools. The medical doctor carries a bag with the tools of her trade such as a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, syringes, and a thermometer. In like manner, crime scene investigators carry with them a fingerprint kit which contains all the paraphernalia they need in order to dust for and recover latent fingerprints.
The contemporary crime scene investigator doesn't have quite as much equipment as does Bill Peterson and his CSI cronies on the top rated television show in America, but they come close. When the crime scene investigators, the ones in real life, approach a crime scene, their main objective is to obtain whatever evidence they can that will provide leads to solving the crime. The gathering of evidence includes the finding, dusting, recovering and preserving of fingerprints.
A crime scene investigator's fingerprint kit should minimally contain these items: fingerprint powders; fingerprint brushes; fingerprint lifting tapes; latent print backing cards; a storage case; magnifying glass; a fingerprinting station with LE Fingerprinting inkless pad
with non-skid rubber feet; fingerprinting slab and roller; and gloves.
The fingerprint powder options for the crime scene investigator are: dual use; fluorescent magnetic; fluorescent; latent print; magnetic; powder jet and theft detection. The fingerprint brushes should have extra soft bristles. The lifting tapes should be adhesive, heat treated and pressure wound to avoid fish eyes found in some tapes. The LE Fingerprinting inkless pad leaves a crisp and highly visible ridge imprint. It leaves no ink residue on fingers, and it dries instantly. Gloves should be disposable, 5 mil thick, plastic, seamless and either powdered or powder free.
There are latent print kit options available for the crime scene investigator to include in his fingerprint kit. These options include: extra backing cards; chemical developers; feather dusters; hinged lifters; and magnetic applicators. Other options available for inclusion in the crime scene investigator's fingerprint kit are: ink remover towelettes; fingerprint cleaner; extra fingerprint ink roller; fingerprint magnifier; fingerprint ridge counter; and either a fingerprint stand, fingerprint pedestal or tabletop units in different sizes. It is also advisable that the crime scene investigator carry these items in his fingerprint kit: a flashlight; a carbide tip evidence scribe; 2 metal tape dispensers; a pair of white cotton gloves; an evidence ruler; one set of tweezers; and evidence labels.
The crime scene investigator must be prepared for all situations that can possibly arise at a crime scene. Additionally, he must be ready to have all fingerprinting supplies available to him in order to implement booking and background checks, when warranted.