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CBS21 News Report originally published Wednesday, May 15th 2019
Cumberland County has a new tool to help fight crime.
The machine is called Vacuum Metal Deposition. Inside, under a vacuum pressure, metal evaporates onto the evidence and coats it with a thin film. Then, in the blink of an eye you see the development and the prints are revealed.
And the new technology is getting laboratory analysts even more excited about solving crimes.
"It has changed my job dramatically. it has changed the way I process evidence," explained Carol McCandless, the lead laboratory analyst for the District Attorney's office.
It also allows officials to then go back and sample DNA from where they know fingerprints are.
"It speeds up the process," explained Skip Ebert, the Cumberland County District Attorney. "It's knowing where to look for the DNA. And that coupled with our ability and our office, we have a rapid DNA system, we'll be able to identify subjects much much quicker.”
Game changing technology
McCandless continued to say that the detail the machine captures is a game changer. "This is a lot more detailed. I’ve never been able to develop any detail close to this off of a piece of paper."
Officials also believe the technology will help solve some of the heroin problems in the county. The wax surface they have as evidence hasn't allowed for fingerprint recognition in the past. But with this machine they can get a fingerprint from the wax surface.
"I’m still able to get a fingerprint off of a waxy substance. So I look forward to doing that with the glassing packets that come through the laboratory for drug analysis so we can see if there are latent fingerprints on those items," explained McCandless.
"It's knowing where to look for the DNA. And that coupled with our ability and our office, we have a rapid DNA system, we'll be able to identify subjects much much quicker.”
In the future officials are also hoping to go back and look at evidence from some of the county's cases that have been left unsolved.
They also say it can help paint a picture for jurors inside a courtroom.