Memphis crime scene investigators are hoping to catch more criminals using the same technology that saves babies, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Lifting fingerprints from evidence using incubators, or similar machines, is a growing trend among big city police agencies, said Maj. Pat Lovett. At a medical center yesterday, CSI investigators picked up two Airshields C-100 incubators donated to Memphis police by Universal Hospital Services. “This is like kids at Christmas,” Lovett said as officers checked out the machines, worth about $25,000 new and $8,000 used.
Incubators have a controlled temperature and humidity, which develops prints more quickly. Until now, it’s taken up to several weeks to get prints. The center has been replacing some machines with newer models and asked its provider, Minnesota-based UHS, if the company would donate the old ones. Memphis CSI investigators lifted some 46,000 prints last year and ran them through the system. About 25 percent led to arrests. Officers dip the evidence in Ninhydrin-based chemicals and leave them to develop in a climate-controlled lab. Now they’ll use the incubators for the most important fingerprint checks.