U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

LatentSleuth: A Case Study on the Impact of Federal R&D Funding

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2021
8 pages

This report presents a case study that shows how federal R&D (Research and Development) funding enabled public-private R&D collaboration that led to the development of FLASH ID, LatentSleuth, a quantitative handwriting analysis software, which ultimately spawned a quantitative latent fingerprint-to-reference product.



LatentSleuth was developed under the funding mechanisms of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), through its agencies such as the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).These and other DOJ agencies support a portfolio of funding for innovations that help sustain the forensic innovation ecosystem. In the featured case study, DOJ funding enabled a company, university, and federal government collaborative research team to create FLASH ID. The funding enabled support of an ongoing ”family tree” of collaborators across multiple universities; evaluation and use of LatentSleuth in a crime laboratory; and extensive research into the development and applications of statistics-based methods for interpretation and presentation of impression and pattern evidence. NIJ and the FBI Laboratory, both within the DOJ, help drive the development of a collaborative research community that assists in enabling just forensic outcomes.

Date Published: September 1, 2021