AFIS Specialists


The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) is the central repository for fingerprint records in the State. The AFIS Unit works closely with the Crime Information Bureau (CIB), the DNA Databank Unit, and the Identification Units at the WSCL. This unique environment requires an AFIS technician to possess the skills necessary to perform fingerprint identifications and pattern analysis on hundreds of prints per day. Comparisons and quality control are performed on a variety of media, including paper sources, inked ten-print cards, and digital images. The AFIS Unit is currently located at the Madison Laboratory. To support the unit, there are seven positions at the Madison Laboratory.


The AFIS Unit process fingerprints and palm prints from evidence and/or from subjects arrested or taken into custody from booking facilities throughout the state.  The AFIS Unit supports the Identification Unit by performing the preliminary analysis on all ten print to unsolved latent images in the database in an attempt to identify suspects that leave their prints at a crime scene. The AFIS Unit also supports the DNA Databank Unit by performing all fingerprint identifications on DNA submission forms. Furthermore, the AFIS Unit supports the CIB by verifying fingerprints on expungement requests, criminal history requests, and consolidation records, as well as, performing identifications for external agencies including the Department of Corrections. Due to these interactions, AFIS technicians are considered the gatekeepers of fingerprint identification information for all law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin.


 AFIS Pattern Types



Automated Fingerprint Identification System


AFIS is a computer-based system for reading, cataloging, searching, matching, and storing fingerprints, palm prints, latent prints, and related demographic data.  It has the necessary software and hardware to acquire digitize, process, store, and retrieve fingerprint and palm print images from ten print cards, latent evidence cards, and live image scans.  The AFIS compares fingerprints and palm prints and identifies possible matches based on minutiae associated with ridge endings, bifurcations, and associated demographic data.  This system interfaces with the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), providing Wisconsin law enforcement agencies access to nationwide and international criminal justice information.  The Department of Justice's original AFIS was installed in 1993 and currently is the repository for over one million fingerprint cards.  This data in AFIS is shared statewide by several AFIS remote sites.


Automated Fingerprint Identification System : Caseload and Case Type


In 2016, the Wisconsin fingerprint database received 172,158 ten-print card submissions. The AFIS Specialists performed quality control (QC) on 116,292 of those records, and compared 3,858 in print to print verification (P/P). The P/P verification process is used to determine whether or not a criminal history record already exists for an individual in the system. In addition to maintaining the database, the AFIS Specialists also performed print comparisons on 36,184 DNA sample submission forms and made preliminary determinations on 110,661 ten-print to unsolved latent prints (TP/UL) stored in the AFIS.