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Westchester County Police Department unveils cutting-edge fingerprint technology

Over the past year, VMD has featured in many news reports worldwide and we thought it would be useful to share some of these with you. New reports will be added to our site over the coming weeks, so keep checking back for updates.

CBS NY and ABC7 News Reports with video. Originally published on February 13, 2020.

Westchester County police unveiled new technology that enables detectives to lift latent prints from a range of materials.

Westchester County’s Forensic Investigation Unit is now using Vacuum Metal Deposition (VMD) technology to make fingerprints clear as day.

“You’re taking evidence, you’re putting it in the chamber, you’re reaching a specific vacuum pressure and you are evaporating a small piece of metal that would adhere to everything except the sebaceous materials which are left behind from the pores in your fingerprints,” says Detective Rich Van der Meulen.

Until recently, fingerprints were often undetectable on items such as wood, ammunition and clothing for the county’s Forensic Investigation Unit. However, with the new Vacuum Metal Deposition device, it can detect prints on the unthinkable.

“The process exposes fingerprints that otherwise would have gone undetected, or would have been impossible to lift using traditional means.” 


“The VMD machine can obtain latent prints from items that were submerged under water, fired ammunition, plastic bags, thermal paper, money, wood and articles of clothing” – Westchester County Public Safety Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason said.

He also stated that VMD would enhance investigations into cold cases.

“Every technological advance creates an opportunity for our detectives to take a fresh look at items of evidence recovered at crime scenes years ago, even decades ago,” Gleason said. “VMD technology has been shown to reveal prints from items that are more than 20 years old.”

“We believe this technology will be valuable, not only in current investigations, but in reprocessing evidence associated with cold cases.”