Me and the FBI

I receive daily updates from the FBI because I am THAT important.

No, I’m pretty sure the FBI don’t even know I exist, except as a name on their subscription list. Every day for the last seven or eight months, I have received newsletters from the minions at the Bureau, updating me on what they’re up to these days. Some of it is boring. Some of it is very interesting. Like the file on John Lennon the FBI recently made public.

What interests me most, as a writer, are the cold case files. The latest one I received is about a 30-year old Omaha case where Detective Doug Herout and Senior Crime Laboratory Technician Laura Casey were able to identify fingerprints left at the scene of a brutal stabbing. They were able to do this using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or the  IAFIS to those of us with an in at the Bureau.

Sorry. Can’t always control the fantasies.

The IAFIS didn’t exist 30 years ago, so the fingerprints lifted at the crime scene were of little use unless there were suspects to match with them. But, and this is truly amazing if you think about it, evidence to every crime ever comitted in the United States, and probably elsewhere all over the world, are kept forever. Somewhere. That has got to be one very large locker.

I have to go and Google this. I’ll be right back.

O.k., it’s all right here, if you’re interested;

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/ecu

Meanwhile, back to my original post (focus, Amanda, focus);

So, at someone’s request, the FBI re-opens the case and by throwing old evidence into new technology they find out who the killer is days before he is to be released from jail for an entirely different offense.

That is so cool. From the innocent’s point of view.

From the criminal’s POV, not so much.

But what if Jerry Watson, the killer in this case, had never been arrested? His prints wouldn’t have been in the data base to be matched to the evidence. He would never have been caught.

Should everyone’s fingerprints be on file? Say, as soon as you start highschool? Stop at the school office, pick up your class schedule and submit your fingerprints?

And people wonder where we get our ideas for stories. They’re all over the place.

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