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LAPD fingerprint unit blamed for arrests

October 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The LAPD is investigating its fingerprint analysis unit, which has been blamed for the arrests of innocent people.Police officials are asking the FBI and the District Attorney to help fix the unit. They're also forming a task force to audit cases and the people who work there.

A recent report found fingerprint errors lead to the arrests of two innocent people, and those charges were dropped.

One fingerprint analyst was fired after an internal investigation. Three other analysts were suspended and two supervisors were replaced, while more staff were hired in the unit.

Officials now plan to put the unit under the supervision of LAPD's detective bureau.

Bratton said several people in the unit are to blame for the errors, but they "do not represent the hard work and dedication of the close to 100 people who work in that unit."

The department is also applying for a grant to hire an outside firm to review the way fingerprints are analyzed. Such a contract will cost $400,000 to $500,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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