Latent Hit of the Year Program Overview

The FBI Latent Hit of the Year is awarded annually to an outstanding latent examiner or officer who solved a major violent crime by using the FBI's IAFIS database.

Video Transcript

Narrator: The FBI Latent Hit of the Year is awarded annually to an outstanding latent examiner or officer who solved a major violent crime by using the FBI’s IAFIS database.

Peter Jaklevic: When she was murdered, she was just a day or two shy of her 90th birthday.

Pat Robinson: It was a horrible murder that happened 30 years ago.

Chuck Gaylor: We had no physical evidence, we had no witnesses. All we had was the photograph of a bloody latent fingerprint.

Narrator: They are walking among us, in big cities and small towns—but hiding a dark secret. They are criminals who have not been caught.

Robinson: A case is considered cold when we have no further leads to follow up on.

Narrator: But there is a tool you can use to help solve them—an exceedingly simple procedure that is helping to capture more criminals every day.

Greg Michaud: It’s a pretty good indicator that you’ve got your guy.

Narrator: IAFIS. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. A national database maintained by the FBI, available to every law enforcement agency in the country.

Larry Hornak: Fingerprints still matter, because they’re something that have a legacy, they have a history.

David Cuthbertson: IAFIS has approximately 71 million records and it’s accessed over 200,000 times each day. 

Narrator: Law enforcement agencies all over the country have helped build the FBI Biometric Fingerprint Repository from the ground up.

Cuthbertson: The IAFIS grows by new submissions from the 18,000 local, state, federal and tribal agencies with which we partner.

Narrator: The result of this cooperation—is convictions.

Norm Wright: Detectives all over the country are using these resources to solve crimes that were unsolvable.

Narrator: And with current new technologies, the Next Generation Identification program, or NGI, is taking IAFIS to the next level.

Cuthbertson: Enhancements will include providing up to four times greater search accuracy, the ability to search multiple biometric repositories, the capability to search and store both known and unknown palm prints and supplementals, and the establishment of the national palm print system.

Narrator: Every year, the FBI gives the Latent Hit of the Year award to an examiner or officer who used FBI IAFIS to catch a criminal.

Cuthbertson: The Latent Hit of the Year program really allows us to publicize those investigators and agencies who have made the best use of the IAFIS latent services. It generally celebrates the solving of the whole case which is solved by the new technology available through the latent services program.

Jocelyn Masten: You just don’t believe that after 30 years, you’re going to get an ID on a latent print.

Hoi Lui: The FBI IAFIS system is very resourceful, and is easy to use.

Narrator: Using special software available free from the FBI, you submit the prints.  You get back up to twenty possible matches.  One of them might lead you right to the perpetrator. 

Gloria Pasqual: I helped to find this murderer 37 years later.

Narrator: No matter where you live, every submission to IAFIS expands your search to the entire country.

Robinson: Criminals don’t care about crossing state lines.  When you utilize IAFIS, you’re widening your dragnet to all points of the country. 

Narrator: It doesn’t matter how long ago they did it. It doesn’t matter how far they’ve run. But it does matter when they’re caught…and served justice.

Cuthbertson: If you’re a criminal, and you leave a fingerprint at a crime scene, we will find you.

Stacey Houg: IAFIS did unlock this entire case. 

Wright: Killers are being sent to prison

Narrator: Tap into the power of IAFIS.

To learn more about using the FBI Biometric Fingerprint Repository, go to To submit for the Latent Hit of the Year Award, send an e-mail

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