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Palm Prints Helping Police Solve Crimes | Crime

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Palm Prints Helping Police Solve Crimes

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The tools of real-life crime scene investigations could soon resemble the flashy Hollywood technology seen on television police dramas. Palm prints, for example, are now helping investigators link people to crimes.

"It's made a huge difference, because we have more area to compare," said North Las Vegas Police Crime Scene Investigator Dana Marks. "There are different times you'd leave palm prints versus fingers or a whole hand print. If you're sliding open a glass window, you might use your whole palm, whole hand."

"We started collecting palm prints, because we're trying to capture the whole aspect of the hand. The palm and the fingers all have ridges," Marks added.

Later this month, the North Las Vegas Police Department plans to digitize its prints on file. Nearly 500,000 print cards, now residing in dozens of metal file cabinets, will become accessible at the click of a mouse.

"It makes my job a lot easier, because I don't have to go searching for the palm prints," Marks said. "The ink ones that are collected at the jail, I can just get on the computer and pull them right up."

The change will help narrow the margin of error and reduce the time it takes to connect a suspect to a crime.

"It's difficult, because you have to spend time trying to find your numbers of how they are identified, be able to make sure you have the right arrest date, to go through all of these to find somebody," Marks said.

Digital palm print technology will become an important tool for investigators, North Las Vegas Police Officer Chrissie Coon says. Jurors can also expect to hear about it.

"CSIs are absolutely going to have to testify to a jury about where juries are going to start to learn about palm print technology and how (it's) used to solve crimes," Coon said.

North Las Vegas Police expect to complete the digital transition February 21. The Henderson Police Department and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department already use digital systems, Coon says.