By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
Picayune Police investigators on Thursday gave Nicholson Elementary students the skills they needed to collect finger prints to work on the mock case of the missing chocolate recipe.
That morning the investigators stopped by Maureen Pollitz’ class to show her students how to collect fingerprints, a skill they would use to solve the mystery.
Assistant to the Chief of Police Jeremy Magri told the students that detectives are trained to take fingerprints to help the department solve crimes. Typically those cases can include burglaries, robberies, murders, or any other case where a fingerprint could be used to identify who was involved.
After prints are taken, they are sent to the FBI’s computer system for record keeping purposes and possible identification, Magri said. Detective Chris Toft then showed the children how he collects fingerprints while working on a case.
He used a piece of paper to demonstrate how to collect fingerprints. After getting prints, he put a special magnetic dust on the paper, which sticks to the oils left behind by the human hand. Then Toft took a piece of clear plastic tape that he used to preserve the print.
Most of the time the department uses the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab to match prints. The Crime Lab employs professionals who know how to find prints on file that may match the fingerprints collected at a crime scene. Toft said those specialists look for seven points of detail, or differences, in the prints. Those differences can include branches, end points and even scars or burns on the fingertip.
After the officers spoke with the class, they left the students to use the information they learned to solve the mystery of the missing chocolate recipe.