East Texas Law Enforcement Officers Visit Fingerprint School

Thanks to popular police and detective shows more of us are familiar with crime scene investigation. However, you need to remember that's Hollywood and not real life.

Law enforcement officers learned this week the real art of fighting crime at a fingerprinting school.

Items most often touched at crime scenes are handed out at the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Department. FBI evidence collection instructor Ann Hinkle provides the guidance.

The process is tedious and requires lots of patience. Good eyesight helps too.

"You can see it pretty good with a flashlight and if you know what you're looking at you can pull them off the surface." says Deputy Brandon Boulware.

Hinkle introduces the group to new powders, putty substances and brushes. Magically the prints appear on even the roughest texture. But this is science, not to be confused with what you may see on your favorite crime show.

"They have a lot of things on CSI that don't exist in the real world for crime scene detection or true crime scene processing. So we kinda need to strike a balance. Yeah, it's entertaining to watch those shows, but what they're presenting to us may not be actually the real world." says Ann Hinkle with the FBI.

In East Texas, deputies can't call a special crime unit to solve the crime in an hour.

"When we go out we process the crime scene. If it's a large scale crime scene we call out the detectives and they come out. They have some specialized equipment." says Deputy Roy Mobley Jr. But nothing like Hinkle has access to. She says few counties have the budget to support state of the art equipment. She finds it amazing what smaller crime agencies are capable of doing with what they have. She calls her classes a mutual learning experience.