Law enforcement officers go back to school

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2001

On Thursday, members of the Butler County Sheriff's Department, the Greenville Police Department and the Georgiana Police Department met at Greenville High School for a workshop on fingerprinting.

&uot;This is another way to keep law enforcement to its highest standard,&uot; said Chief Deputy Kenny Harden. &uot;There are a lot of officers here with a lot of years experience and this course will help them go out in the field and lift fingerprints from a crime scene.&uot;

The course, which was sponsored by the Butler County Sheriff's Department, was organized by Harden and was taught by T.R. Shanks, who retired from the Montgomery County Police Department and now is an identification officer with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department.

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Shanks, who has been in law enforcement for 33 years, said, &uot;It was a time when we could get with the Butler County Sheriff's Department and give this class as a refresher in fingerprinting. This course will teach these officers the different techniques of lifting and preserving prints for courtroom presentations.&uot;

The eight-hour course will help officers learn how to handle a crime scene upon arrival.

&uot;I just want to pass on examples of the mistakes that I made so they won't be made again,&uot; said Shanks.

&uot;The first officer on the scene is the most important,&uot; said Harden. &uot;Each needs to know how to handle the situation and the evidence.&uot;

According to Shanks, &uot;there are many factors that can damage the prints and these officers need to know and understand them. Latent prints are unknown prints and can be found anywhere at a crime scene if elements will allow it.&uot;

Some elements that can keep law enforcement officers from lifting prints are rain and humidity.

&uot;We use a black powder that reacts to moisture,&uot; said Shanks. &uot;Humidity can cause the powder to cake up. However, if rain comes or humidity, then the evidence can be moved to a place where it can dry.&uot;

&uot;I would like to say a special thanks to Montgomery County Sheriff D.T. Marshall for allowing Officer Shanks to come down here and help us out,&uot; said Harden.

&uot;We are always willing to help any offices that we can,&uot; said Shanks.