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Stun Gun Electrostatic Lifter

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Footwear track identification is a widely accepted form of identifying or connecting a suspect to a criminal act. The responsibility lies with law enforcement personnel to detect, collect, analyze, and present this evidence in a court of law.

Footwear tracks, when visible, should be recorded by photographic methods. Whenever possible, recover the item containing the footwear track by using lifting tapes, various types of lifters, or casting material. Even if proper photographic techniques are applied, there is no guarantee that the resulting images would be of value for comparison and/or identification.

Devices commonly referred to as "Electrostatic Dust Lifting Devices" are marketed for detecting and recovering dust or nonvisible wear tracks as well as latent prints in dust. The list price of these devices can range from about $500.00 to $900.00. However, there is a device that can be easily and readily adapted that performs equally well, is less expensive, lightweight, and is widely available. This item is commonly known as the stun gun.

The equipment needed to do this application is as follows:

· Stun gun
· Sun blocking window film without adhesive sold under the brand name Gila River Products.
· Probe with 2' lead and alligator clip on the end.

To begin, as with any method, be sure to PHOTOGRAPH FIRST then attempt your lift. Place film with metallic side up over the dust print. Attach the alligator clip with the probe attached to one of the outer contacts of the stun gun.

NOTE: The inner contacts are not used.

Place the opposite contact approximately ¼" from the edge of the solar film. With the probe in the other hand, place it approximately ¼" from the opposite edge of the solar film. When you press the switch you will observe an electrical charge arcing between the probe, the contact and the film. This is creating static electricity. While it is arcing, move the probe around the outer edge of the solar film. You will see that the solar film will appear to vibrate then suck down on the item. This should take approximately 15 to 30 seconds.

Making sure you do not move the lift film once it is down on the print, press out all air bubbles, streaks, etc. using an inexpensive foam brush. Once completed, carefully pull off the solar film. Use a strong flashlight for side lighting to observe the dust print.

The dust print can now be photographed quite easily by using side lighting. This is a fragile print so handle it as such. The lift film with the print will need to be protected by placing it in a shallow box such as a pizza box, a thin computer label box or by purchasing a box. The solar film can be wiped off with a dry clean cloth and reused if no useable print is developed.

Depending on the brand, the price of the stun gun is $59.00 to $120.00 and can be purchased through a law enforcement supply company.

The probe, which comes with a 24" lead and will plug into the alligator clip, can be purchased at an electronics store for approximately $3.95.

The lifting film can be purchased through the Lynn Peavey Company.

Stun Gun Electrostatic Lifter

Stun Gun and Probe in use

Stun Gun lift on film

Copyright 2011 - Richard Warrington
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