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IDENTICO’s Technique for Recording Legible Prints on Live Scan Fingerprinting Equipment

During Live Scan Fingerprinting images are collected and submitted electronically by using a live scan device which shall be approved and classified by FBI as Electronic fingerprinting equipment. IDENTICO gives following instructions to individuals and follows the methods for best possible capturing as described below.


The fingerprinting starts by placing applicants four fingers of left hand onto the glass surface of live scan fingerprinting scanner. At first the identification of flat impressions is made by taking images simultaneously without rolling. These are referred to as plain, slap, or flat impressions. The individual’s right and left four fingers are captured first, followed by the two thumbs (4-4-2 method). Instituting this finger capture method ensures the highest level of fingerprint sequence accuracy.


  • The recommended height for recording legible fingerprints is approximately 39 inches from the floor. This allows the forearm of an average adult to be parallel with the floor. This is the recommended position to record fingerprints.



    • Soap and water are preferred; however, rubbing alcohol may be substituted.
    • If hands are moist, wipe each finger with rubbing alcohol. If hands are dry or flaky use a small amount of hand lotion and wipe off any residue.
    • If capturing fingerprints electronically, ensure the live scan fingerprint device is properly calibrated and the platen is free of dust, dirt, and any residual fingerprint images.
  • The individual’s hands should be cleaned prior to printing:
  • Instruct the individual to look away from the fingerprint device, not to assist in the fingerprint process, and to relax. Grasp the individual’s right hand at the base of the thumb with your right hand. Cup your hand over the individual’s fingers, tucking under those fingers not being printed. Guide the finger being printed with your left hand.
  • When taking the rolled impression, the side of the finger bulb is placed upon the platen. The finger is then rolled to the other side until it faces the opposite direction. Care should be exercised so the bulb of each finger, from tip to below the first joint, is rolled evenly. Generally, the weight of the finger is the maximum pressure needed to clearly record a fingerprint. In order to take advantage of the natural movement of the forearm, the hand should be rotated from the more difficult position to the easiest position. This requires the thumbs be rolled toward and the fingers away from the center of the individual’s body. Roll each finger from nail to nail in the appropriate space, taking care to lift each finger up after rolling to avoid smudging.
  • Capture protocol requires the technician to simultaneously press the individual’s four fingers on the surface of the live scan device at a 90-degree vertical angle. Care should be taken to capture all fingers in the allotted space. Repeat this process for the left hand and then print both thumbs simultaneously (4-4-2 method). Capturing all fingers and thumbs in a vertical position improves finger segmentation software accuracy.
  • Complete all required textual information. It is important to enter the appropriate data in all fields when known.


Special Circumstances


Deformed or missing fingers:

If the finger is deformed, every attempt should be made to record the fingerprint in both the rolled and plain impression blocks. A postmortem kit, which is more commonly known as a spoon, can be utilized to assist in recording these images. If unable to record the image, simply place a notation in the fingerprint block (e.g., deformed, webbed) or electronically apply the Unable to Print (UP) code in data field 2.084.

Missing fingers are fingers physically present but cannot be recorded at the time of capture due to injury. Each missing finger should be designated via a notation in the fingerprint block (e.g., bandaged, injured, crippled, paralyzed) or electronically apply the UP code in data field 2.084.


Fully amputated fingers:

An amputated finger occurs when the finger’s first joint is no longer physically present. Amputated fingers should be designated via a notation in the fingerprint block (e.g., amp, missing at birth, severed) or electronically apply the Amputated (XX) code in data field 2.084.


Tip-amputated fingers:

If a portion of the first joint is present, record the available fingerprint pattern area in both the rolled and plain impression blocks.


Extra fingers:

When fingerprinting an individual with an extra finger, record only the thumb and the next four fingers. Do not record the extra finger as either a rolled or plain impression.


Scarred fingers:

Record scarred fingers in both the rolled and plain impressions without a notation.


Worn fingerprints:

An individual, by the nature of their work or age, may have very thin or worn ridges in the pattern area. Apply light pressure and use very little ink to record these types of fingerprint impressions. A technique known as “milking the finger” can be used to raise the fingerprint ridges prior to printing. This technique involves applying pressure or rubbing the fingers in a downward motion from palm to fingertip.

We have served hundreds of individuals with known difficulties in obtaining legible prints, and by using our methods we were able to keep the rate of required re-screening very low. For professional and accurate livescan fingerprinting or Level 2 Background Screening services please contact us today at (954) 239-8590 or visit us online at www.myidentico.com




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