Fingerprinting is one of the most commonly earned merit badges, and for good reason. With the right supplies, this five-requirement badge can be completed in less than an hour. In completing this merit badge, you’ll learn about the history of fingerprinting, how fingerprints are used for security purposes, the science behind your own fingerprints, and the different categories of fingerprints that exist. You’ll also learn how to take your own fingerprints and record these results on a fingerprinting card. After all that, you’re done!


  What Are The Fingerprinting MB Requirements? 

Expand each topic below to find out!

1. History of Fingerprinting

Give a short history of fingerprinting. Tell the difference
between civil and criminal identification.

2. AFIS vs Biometric Access Controls

Explain the difference between the automated fingerprint
identification systems (AFIS) now used by law enforcement
agencies and the biometric fingerprint systems used to
control access to computers and places like buildings
and airports.

3. How Does Fingerprinting Work?

Do the following:

a. Name the surfaces of the body where friction or
papillary ridges are found.

b. Name the two basic principles supporting the
science of fingerprints and give a brief explanation
of each principle.

c. Explain what it takes to positively identify a person
using fingerprints.

4. Take Your Own Fingerprints

Take a clear set of prints using ONE of the
following methods.

a. Make both rolled and plain impressions. Make these on
an 8-by-8-inch fingerprint identification card, available
from your local police department or your counselor.

b. Using clear adhesive tape, a pencil, and plain paper,
record your own fingerprints or those of another person.

Note: You can download the actual FBI Fingerprinting card here to print and use

5. Identifying Types of Fingerprints

Show your merit badge counselor you can identify the three
basic types of fingerprint patterns and their subcategories.
Using your own hand, identify the types of patterns you see



Need some help taking your own fingerprints? Check out How to Roll Your Own Fingerprints!

Don’t have an ink pad? No Problem! Did you know you can make your ink pad or use the graphite from a pencil to capture your fingerprint? Check out the videos below to learn how!



Test your knowledge by identifying the below fingerprints!


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