Submission of Evidence to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory

448 FW 1
FWM Number
Originating Office
Division of Technical and Field Support

1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides guidance to Service officers on the proper way to collect, package, and ship evidence to the Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory (Lab) in Ashland, Oregon. Proper handling of evidence is essential to successful prosecution of cases involving violations of Service trust statutes.

1.2 What are the authorities for this chapter? The authorities for this chapter are:

A. 16 U.S.C.

B. 446 DM, Law Enforcement.

1.3 When must Service officers use the Lab? Officers send all evidence requiring forensics examination to the Lab unless Lab personnel have agreed in advance to other arrangements. Effective communication between officers and the Lab is essential to successful transmittal, analysis, and final disposition of evidence. Service officers should call the Lab if they are uncertain about how to send evidence.

1.4 What documents do officers need to include when submitting evidence to the Lab?

A. Evidence Submittal Form. Officers must enclose a dated Evidence Submittal form (Form 3-2053) with the evidence shipment. The form provides the following information:

(1) Submitting officer’s Division, Region, or State; title; and return address.

(2) The case (INV) number.

(3) Name and telephone number of the officer requesting analysis (the person the Lab can contact for additional information or clarification).

(4) An itemized description of evidence the officer is sending for examination.

(5) An item-by-item examination request (what the officer wants done with each item).

(6) Any special instructions about handling the return or forwarding of evidence. The Lab will return all items to the sender unless instructed otherwise. Due to space and logistical limitations, the Lab will not store evidence after analysis is complete. They will return the evidence to the submitting officer along with the original chain-of-custody form.

(7) Indication if the evidence submission consists of more than one parcel. Officers should number parcels on the outside (for example, 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3) and place a copy of the Evidence Submittal Form in each box, highlighting the specific items contained in that particular box, to help the Lab identify parcels that arrive on different days.

B. Chain-of-Custody Form. Officers must submit a completed Chain-of-Custody form (Form 3-2063) for all evidence items they submit to the Lab. The chain of custody can consist of a single form listing items submitted or as data marked on individual evidence seizure tags (Form 3-487) attached to each evidence item. Usually, you write the data on the back of the evidence seizure tags.

1.5 What are the general guidelines for officers to package and ship evidence to the Lab? In addition to following the general instructions in this section, officers should call the Lab Evidence Unit prior to sending evidence. Officers should also review the specific guidelines for shipping perishable, hazardous, firearms-related, or latent print evidence (see sections 1.6 through 1.14).

A. Packaging. Officers must properly package evidence to meet security, preservation, and chain-of-custody requirements. Officers should wear proper personal protective equipment for handling any item of evidence that may be contaminated.

(1) Individually seal each item of evidence (or groups of like evidence items) in separate evidence packages.

(2) Place all perishable carcasses and tissue samples in a double bag.

(3) Place all dried blood and dried tissue evidence in paper bags.

(4) Carefully secure all fragile evidence items.

B. Sealing. Sealing evidence properly is important. A container is properly sealed only if its contents cannot be switched, altered, contaminated, or damaged without detection. Proper sealing includes taping all container openings with evidence sealing tape and initialing and dating the taped area. To properly seal evidence, officers should:

(1) Use standard materials to staple or tape the container closed. Do not use evidence sealing tape; it is too fragile to keep the container closed.

(2) Place the evidence sealing tape over the opening of the container, making sure it contacts the container directly.

(3) Write your name or initials and the date at the edge of the tape so that the writing crosses both tape and container.

C. Labeling. Officers should label each sealed evidence package (paper bag, plastic bag, envelope, etc.) in a permanent manner with their name, badge number, INV number, evidence tag number, and date (or similar identifiers).

D. Tagging. Officers should attach Service-approved small blue evidence identification tags (Form 3-2052) to each individual evidence package. If you use staples, you should not staple through the bags as this might cause leakage and cross-contamination.

E. Inner Box. Officers should place all tagged evidence packages into a larger inner shipping container (box or bag) marked “EVIDENCE.”

F. Documentation. Officers should type or print a list that includes a description of the contents for all numbered and tagged evidence packages and attach it to the outside of the inner shipping container. Officers should place the Evidence Submittal Form, the signedchain-of-custody form, and other paperwork in an envelope and also attach it to the outside of the inner shipping container.

G. Odor Control. The package should not have any detectable odor. If an odor is detectable, officers should place the package into another sealed bag (or as many as needed to control the odor). Freezing and multiple bagging are the most effective ways to control odors. Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) shipping regulations specifically state that packages should not exhibit any noxious odors.

H. Inner Box Label. Officers should label the inner shipping container with their name, badge number, INV number, and date, and then seal the inner shipping container.

I. Outer Box.

(1) For non-perishable evidence, officers should place the inner sealed shipping container marked “EVIDENCE” into another unmarked outer shipping container or wrap it in brown shipping paper. Officers should not affix evidence tape to the outer container.

(2) For perishable evidence (carcasses and tissue samples), officers should place the inner sealed shipping container marked “EVIDENCE” into a hard plastic insulated cooler along with blue ice or dry ice (do not use ice made from water). Blue ice is often the bestmethod of keeping samples cool during shipment. Officers may use dry ice, but the cooler must be vented to allow carbon dioxide gas to escape and prevent explosions. Officers should label the shipping package as containing dry ice and should contact the shipper for additional dry-ice instructions.

(3) Officers should draw a circled letter “E” on the outside of each shipping package to alert the Lab that the parcel contains evidence.

(4) Officers should review sections 1.6 through 1.14 for specific packaging and shipping information based on the type of evidence.

J. Proper Address. Officers should address all evidence shipping packages: “Attention: Evidence Unit.”

K. Shipping Method. Officers should ship evidence using Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested Mail, or any other traceable commercial package carrier method. For perishable evidence (carcasses and tissue samples), officers should ship overnight or express on Mondays or Tuesdays only so that packages arrive during the work week. For shipping purposes, officers should classify all carcasses as “biological specimens.”

L. Multiple Containers. Officers should indicate the total number of packages on the Evidence Submittal Form, if the evidence submission consists of more than one shipping package. See section 1.4A(7) for more information on multiple containers.

M. Notification. Although advance notification is only required for hazardous materials or perishable evidence, officers should call the Lab and let Evidence Unit staff know that they are shipping evidence. This practice helps the Lab verify dates, times, and shipping methods and prepare for any special circumstances.

1.6 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship perishable evidence to the Lab?

A. Officers should freeze all carcasses and tissue samples as soon as possible. Quick freezing is especially important for protein and DNA analysis. The sooner a tissue sample is frozen, the better the chance of resolving protein activity and recovering DNA from the evidence.

B. Officers should use a hard shell insulated camping cooler to ship perishable carcasses and tissues.

C. Officers should use waterproof evidence tags. If these tags are not available, officers should use paper or cardboard tags that are sealed in zip-lock plastic bags and attached to the evidence bags.

D. Evidence items that you know or suspect are infected with pathogenic organisms cannot be sent to the Lab without special handling, packaging, labeling and shipping containment identified in public health regulations at 42 CFR part 72 and 49 CFR part 173.134. Contact the Lab for additional guidance before packaging and shipping these items.     

E. Officers should consult the Law Enforcement Memorandum Series for guidance on sending caviar samples to the Lab.

1.7 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship carcasses to the Lab? Officers may send whole carcasses to the Lab. Officers should call the Lab if they plan to ship significant numbers of animals or if they have a question about the Lab’s cause-of-death determination or species identification capabilities.

A. Packaging and Shipping Carcasses. In addition to the general guidelines in section 1.5 and guidelines for perishable evidence in section 1.6, officers should follow the specific instructions below for carcasses.

(1) Individually double-bag each carcass requiring examination with two heavy-duty plastic bags, then seal the outer bag.

(2) Pad or otherwise protect the beaks and talons of eagles and other raptors submitted for cause-of-death determination to prevent tearing of evidence bags and possible injury to evidence handlers. This is especially important if pesticides are suspected.

B. Skunk carcasses. Officers may not send skunk carcasses to the Lab. No amount of special packaging can get rid of skunk odor. Significant problems may occur if officers ship skunk carcasses by air.

C. Bait carcasses. Sheep, chicken, or other animal carcasses that have been used as “bait” and are known or suspected of being laced with pesticides are considered hazardous materials. Officers must follow the guidelines for hazardous materials evidence (see section 1.10) to collect and ship samples from suspected bait carcasses.

1.8 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship tissue samples to the Lab? Tissue samples require special handling. In addition to the general guidelines in section 1.5 and guidelines for shipping perishable items in section 1.6, officers should follow the specific instructions provided below.

A. Sample Integrity. Officers should always maintain a clean working area when processing evidence samplesfor shipment. Careful handling of blood or tissue evidence is crucial to the Lab’s ability to complete certain analytical procedures. Officers must use only new sterile single-edged razor blades, collection bags, and gloves to prepare each individual package of blood and tissue evidence. The Lab will ship sample collection bags and razor blades for blood serum (serological) evidence to officers if needed.

B. Tissue Sample Handling. Officers should freeze blood or tissue evidence. If freezing is not possible, officers should protect the sample and allow it to air dry at room temperature. Officers should place all dried samples, such as blood or tissue on clothing or tools, in sterile paper bags to prevent condensation and growth of microorganisms that could affectserological results. Officers should ship perishable and non-perishable evidence in separate containers. Officers should call the Lab’s Serology Section if they plan to ship significant numbers of samples (more than 20) or if they have a question about the Lab’s protein or DNA analytical capabilities.

1.9 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship bird evidence to the Lab? Officers should always send the whole bird if it is available. Officers should send all of the available material if only a partial carcass (dry or wet) is available. The examiner at the Lab will removefeathers or parts for diagnosis, prepare them for identification, and return them to the officer who has the remaining portions of the evidence.

A. Dry, Non-perishable Material. Officers should follow the general evidence packaging and shipping guidelines in section 1.5.

B. Frozen Material and Oil-soaked Birds. Officers should package each item of frozen material or each oil-soaked bird separately and follow the instructions in sections 1.6 and 1.7 for shipping perishable items and carcasses.

C. Artwork. Officers should wrap flat items (fans, medicine wheels) in a plastic bag, tissue, or other non-inked paper and place them in a box layered between styrofoam or plastic packing peanuts. Officers should cushion items such as Kachina dolls in styrofoam or plastic packing peanuts inside a sturdy box.

D. Single or Loose Feathers. Officers should pack each item in a labeled plastic bag or paper envelope. Officers should ensure that feathers will not bend during packaging or shipping.

E. Down/Trace Evidence. Officers should send the entire “host” item (trap, stick, etc.) or relevant part bearing the trace material to the Lab as a packaged evidence item. The Lab examiner will examine the host item and remove the relevant material. Officers should never collect or package trace feather evidence on adhesive tape.

1.10 What specific guidelines should officers follow to package and ship hazardous materials evidence to the Lab?

A. Hazardous materials evidence (HME). HME consists of materials that could potentially cause injury or death, such as live ammunition and any solid or liquid suspected of being a pesticide or poison.

(1) DOT regulations require that anyone shipping hazardous materials must be trained and tested. The training must include:

     (a) General provisions of the hazardous shipping regulations,

     (b) Information on how to package and ship hazardous materials, and

     (c) General information on emergency responses, self-protection measures, and accident prevention methods and procedures.  

(2) Officers should consult the Law Enforcement Memorandum Series for guidance on sending hazardous materials samples to the Lab.

B. Shipping Requirements. Officers should always call the Lab before shipping any HME.  Officers must not ship hazardous materials by U.S. Mail. Officers must follow DOT regulations for packaging, labeling, and shipping.

C. HME Collection/Packaging/Shipping Kits. The Lab has special collection and packaging kits for shipping HME. These kits allow Service officers to prepare shipments that comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and DOT regulations. Officers should call the Lab if they need HME kits. If officers with access to a telephone are investigating a crime scene where HME samples are present and they are concerned about collection processes or amounts to collect, they should call the Lab’s Chemistry/Toxicology Unit either before or during the evidence collection process.

D. Using the HME Kit. Officers should follow the instructions provided in the HME kit.

(1) Put on the latex gloves included in the kit for protection.

(2) Make a preliminary examination of the material to determine if the sample is pure or diluted. If uncertain, officers should assume that samples are pure. Pure samples include solid samples (such as distinctly visible granules, powders or pastes) found in containers, on bait carcasses, loose on the ground, or elsewhere with distinct color or odor. Pure samples also include liquid samples found in containers. Diluted samples include solid or liquid samples that occur in very small amounts, whether visible or not, on soils, corn, grains, or seeds, or in water, and other liquids and substrates.

(3) If pure samples are involved, coat the two cotton-tipped applicators with the sample (solid or liquid); place the applicators (with attached samples) into the collection tube; and tightly secure the screw cap (be sure to screw it on correctly). Officers should always collect a total of three tubes from the same source. Under DOT regulations, officers may place up to 1 gram or 1 milliliter of sample (liquids, granules, or powders) into the tube. Lab analytical instruments are very sensitive and can measure amounts far smaller than the amount typically absorbed by the cotton tip. Officers may place more pure sample into the tube without contaminating the outside of the tube, but a single tube cannot contain more than 1 gram or 1 milliliter of a pure sample.

(4) If diluted samples are involved, place approximately 12 milliliters (as indicated by the markings on the collection tube) into the collection tube, being careful not to contaminate the outside of the tube. Tightly secure the screw cap. Officers should always collect a total of three tubes from the same sample source or location. All three tubes in the submitted HME collection kit should contain samples collected from the same source or location.

(5) For both pure and dilute samples, officers should label each tube with unique identifying information, including their name, the date of collection, the INV number, and a unique item number. For example, officers may write “seizure tag #123456” on all three tubes collected from one location or specimen and then mark the three tubes as items lA, lB, and lC.

(6) Officers should label the padded envelope with their name, collection date, the INV number, and the item numbers placed on the tubes.

(7) Place all three tubes into the padded envelope and seal the envelope with sealing tape or staples. Officers should not enclose the latex gloves, but should dispose of them properly.

(8) Mark the initials of the officer and the date on the sealing tape.

(9) Double-bag the padded envelope pack in two zip-lock bags, removing all excess air and completely seal-locking each bag.

(10) Attach all seizure tags, etc., to the top flap of the outer sealed plastic bag, taking care not to staple through the air-tight portion of the bag and compromise the seal.

(11) Place all of the tagged evidence packages (each package consisting of a double-bagged and sealed padded envelope) into a new, sturdy, double-walled inner corrugated cardboard shipping box marked “EVIDENCE” and seal with evidence tape. No more than 300 tubes, or 100 3-tube packs, can be shipped in one cardboard box.

(12) List all of the tagged evidence packages (3-tube collection kits) on the Evidence Submittal Form (for example, Tag #: Item Description: Three collection tubes labeled ITEM #IA, lB & lC from...).

(13) Place the completed Evidence Submittal Form and chain-of-custody form into an envelope and attach it to the top of the closed inner container.

(14) Place the inner shipping container marked “EVIDENCE” into an outer shipping container.

(15) Place the DOT Excepted Quantities label on the shipping box and ship using a common carrier, and not the U.S. Postal Service.

E. Mixing Hazardous and Non-hazardous Evidence in a Single Shipment. If Service officers want to ship HME samples with other evidence items in the same shipping container, they must place the sealed double-bagged padded envelope pack into a new, sturdy, double-walled corrugated cardboard box first, and then place this box into another shipping container with the other evidence. Officers must place the DOT Excepted Quantitieslabel on the outermost container.

F. Weight Limits. Service officers must ship the HME box separately if the complete evidence shipment with enclosed box containing the HME samples weighs more than 64 pounds. A shipping box that has a DOT Excepted Quantities label cannot weigh more than 64 pounds. Officers must place the DOT Excepted Quantities label on the outermost container of the HME shipping box.

G. Shipping. Officers must ship HME on a commercial carrier since the U.S. Postal Service will not accept such shipments.

H. Unknown, Potentially Hazardous Chemicals. See section 1.11 for more information on packaging and shipping unknown, potentially hazardous chemicals.

1.11 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship evidence containing chemicals to the Lab?

A. Special Issues. The types of evidence listed in (1) through (4) below may require special arrangements. Officers should always call the Lab for assistance before shipping such items. Officers may personally be subject to fines and penalties if they do not follow the requirements (see 49 CFR 107.329).

(1) Chemical-contaminated tissue samples for protein or DNA analyses.

(2) Stomach or crop contents suspected of containing toxic chemicals.

(3) Chemical-contaminated materials (clothing, carcasses, etc.) that they cannot ship using the protocol in section 1.11C below.

(4) Any other unknown chemical that they cannot ship in excepted (very small) quantities.

B. Carcasses. Officers may package and ship animal carcasses when the suspected cause of death is ingestion of pesticides or poisons. They should follow the guidelines in section 1.7.

C. Packaging and Shipping Protocol for Unknown, Potentially Hazardous Chemicals. Officers may collect, package, and ship unknown chemicals to the Lab in very small quantities using special collection, packaging, and labeling materials the Lab will provide. Officers should follow the protocol described in section 1.10 for any suspected hazardous chemical material (for example, any solid or liquid chemical of unknown identity that may or may not be visible and/or may or may not have a chemical odor) that is stored in a container (can, jar, etc.); on bait carcasses (sheep, chickens, etc.); in soil, water, or other substrates; or on corn, seeds, and grain samples.

1.12 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship live ammunition to the Lab? In general, officers should avoid sending live ammunition to the Lab. If an investigation requires such a shipment, the officer should contact the Lab in advance and follow the packing and shipping instructions below. Officers must treat live ammunition as dangerous goods and must properly package and label live ammunition for shipment. Officers who fail to adhere to DOT regulations for shipments of live ammunition could be fined as much as $25,000.

A. Ammunition Subject to Restrictions. Officers must package live ammunition according to DOT requirements at 49 CFR 173.63(b). These regulations include:

(1) Ammunition for rifles or pistols not exceeding 50 caliber.

(2) Ammunition for shotguns no larger than 8 gauge.

(3) Ammunition with inert projectiles (blanks).

(4) Ammunition having no tear gas, incendiary, or detonating explosive projectiles.

B. Packaging Live Ammunition. Officers must package live ammunition as follows:

(1) Protect all primers from accidental detonation (wrap in tissue, etc.).

(2) Pack in an inner box or sturdy container.

(3) Pack the inner box in a securely closed, strong outer box or sturdy container.

(4) Pack and ship live ammunition and firearms in separate packages.

(5) The maximum weight of the package cannot exceed 66 pounds.

C. Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods. Officers must complete a shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods form provided by the commercial shipper. They must also follow all general evidence labeling, tagging, chain-of-custody, and submittal form requirements (see section 1.5). Officers must attach the completed shipper’s declaration for dangerous goods form to the outside of the package. The commercial shipper will provide instructions on how to complete the form and properly label the box for shipping. These forms require a single emergency telephone number that will be answered 24 hours a day by someone who is knowledgeable about the shipment. If available, this telephone number should be the officer’s cellular telephone, which the officer must carry at all times while the shipment is in transit.

1.13 What are the specific guidelines for officers to package and ship firearms evidence to the Lab? This section provides packaging and shipping requirements for cartridge cases, shot shells, or discharged bullets when officers require a match to a specific firearm or need to determine a possible source firearm. This section also provides packaging and shipping requirements for firearms. Officers should follow the general shipping procedures provided in section 1.5 and the guidelines below when packing and shipping these items.

A. Cartridge Cases, Shot Shells (Expended), and Discharged Bullets.  

(1) Do not send wet or damp cartridge cases or shot shells. If the cases or shells are recovered wet or damp, officers should allow them to air-dry thoroughly before packaging and shipping them.

(2) Use a water wash (no rubbing or scrubbing) to remove excess organic material unless the Lab needs to perform serological examinations on the organic material. If the Lab is going to perform serological examinations, allow the blood or tissue to air-dry and then package and ship following the general guidelines in section 1.5.

(3) Package test-fired and evidence cases and shells separately in paper products whenever possible following the general guidelines in section 1.5. Plastic bags and containers may allow the growth of bacteria that are potentially harmful to micro-striated detail on bullets or promote rusting on cartridge cases and shot shells.

(4) Individually wrap or otherwise protect all cases, shells, and discharged bullets to prevent rubbing and abrasion during transit.

(5) The outer shipping container must be strong enough to prevent compression damage to all items in transit.

B. Firearms.

(1) Officers must not ship loaded firearms to the Lab under any circumstances.

(2) Officers should purchase a sturdy hard plastic gun case for use in shipping unloaded firearms to the Lab. After completing examinations, the Lab will return the case to the officer with the evidence. Officers may also use the Lab’s four-rifle, locking metal airplane-baggage-handler-resistant case for sending multiple guns to the Lab for analysis. This case is expensive to ship, especially when loaded with firearms. Officers should include all accessories (such as a scope or magazine, etc.) that were attached to the firearm at the time of the shooting incident.

(3) If officers have any concerns about the function or safety of a firearm, they should state these concerns on the Evidence Submittal Form or in the transmittal letter.

C. Cartridge Cases or Shot Shells to Match to a Specific Firearm. Officers can produce their own test fires for submission to the Lab using the procedure below if the investigation involves cartridge cases or shot shells, not discharged bullets, collected from a crime scene and the officer has access to the suspect firearm.  

(1) Produce five to eight test-fired (expended) cartridge cases or shot shells using the suspect firearm. Retain the firearm in case other test fires are needed. In most cases, the firearm does not need to be submitted to the Lab. If officers have questions about producing their own cartridge case or shot shell test fires (expended casings), they should contact the Firearms Unit Coordinator at the Lab. When producing the test-fired casings or shells, officers should use the same magazine, scope, etc. that was attached to the firearm at the time of the shooting incident. Officers should contact the Firearms Unit Coordinator before producing the test fires if they have questions about the importance of a particular removable gun part relative to the comparison examinations.

(2) Use two different brands of ammunition when possible. One brand must be identical or nearly identical to the questioned case or shell. When using shotgun shells, officers should produce test fires of the same class as the collected evidence shells (for example, high brass with high brass, magnum with magnum, pellet size with pellet size, etc.). Officers should always use new ammunition. Officers should never use ammunition that may have been previously chambered or use the suspect’s ammunition.

(3) List the make, model, and serial number of the test-fired firearm with the information submitted.

(4) Follow the guidelines in section 1.13A for submitting cartridge cases and expended shot shells to the Lab.

D. Discharged Bullet to Determine a Possible Source Firearm. The Lab can determine a list of possible source firearms based on the general rifling (class) characteristics of the bullet if the investigation involves a discharged bullet collected from a crime scene, a carcass, or other place and the officer does not have the suspect firearm. Officers should follow the guidelines in section 1.13A for submitting discharged bullets to the Lab.

E. Discharged Bullet to Match a Specific Firearm. Officers should send the firearm to the Lab for test firing if the investigation involves a discharged bullet collected from a crime scene, a carcass, or other place and they have the suspect firearm. We strongly discourage field test firing to produce bullet exemplars (test-fires) because they may result in exemplars that are inadequate for microscopic comparison purposes. Officers should follow the guidelines in section 1.13B for submitting firearms to the Lab.

1.14 What are the specific guidelines for officers to collect, package, and ship latent print evidence to the Lab? Officers should follow the guidelines in this section to collect, package, and ship evidence items suspected of bearing latent (non-visible) fingerprints.

A. Collection and Shipment of Latent Print Evidence.

(1) Use cotton gloves to pick up the evidence items whenever possible to avoid transferring additional latent prints to the evidence. Be careful not to wipe or brush against surfaces that may bear latent prints.

(2) Fasten the evidence items to a rigid surface (or suspend the item inside a box) with wire, zip-ties, or string to prevent shifting and contact with other evidence items. Latent prints are package sensitive. Officers should call the Lab if they have questions.

(3) Place documents and other paper evidence in sealed manila envelopes.

(4) Place any developed latent lifts in sealed manila or mailing envelopes.

(5) Keep all items separate to minimize destruction of latent prints.

(6) Place all separately packaged items into another inner shipping container marked with the words “Latent Print Evidence.”

(7) Follow the general guidelines in section 1.5 for packaging and shipping. Include all known and relevant information about the item (for example, flashlight was found in snow after being lost for one week, was air dried, secured into an evidence container, and shipped to the Lab).

B. Precautions. Officers should take the following precautions when collecting, packaging, and shipping evidence items suspected of bearing latent prints:

(1) Do not cover items that the Lab needs to examine for latent prints with evidence tape.

(2) Do not handle latent print evidence with thin disposable plastic or latex gloves. Whenever possible, use cotton gloves.

(3) Do not package items suspected of having latent print evidence in cotton, cloth, styrofoam peanuts, or any other packaging that might smudge or wipe away latent prints.