SAPS pays tribute to women in law enforcement: meet Warrant Officer Mangaliso, a fingerprint analyst

PRETORIA – In celebration of women’s month, the South African Police Service (SAPS) continues to celebrate it’s women who continuously break barriers in a male dominated environment

Today, we introduce the nation to Warrant Officer Amanda Mangaliso.

The forty-two-year-old member has nine years’ service having joined the organisation in 2012.

The member holds a Bsc(Hons) Chemical Science degree and is one of 157 female Forensic Analysts in the Organisation.

Originally from Bityi in the Eastern Cape, the member serves as a Fingerprint Analyst at the Crime Scene Laboratory in Pretoria.

As a Fingerprint Analyst, the member utilizes her knowledge to analyse and examine fingerprint clues left at crime scenes.

Fingerprint examining refers to the act of matching a suspect to the fingerprints he or she may have left behind at a crime scene.

Fingerprint Analysts are essential throughout the proceedings of a court case, as their evidence can be used to identify an individual and determine whether he or she were present when a crime was taking place.

An interesting fact about fingerprints is that no one in the world has the same fingerprints, not even identical twins.

It’s also interesting to note that an individuals fingerprints remain the same until they die, unless the deep layer of the skin is destroyed or intentionally changed by plastic surgery.

There are three main fingerprint patterns, called arches, loops and whorls. The shape, size, number and arrangement of minor details in these patterns make each individuals fingerprint unique.

As a Fingerprint Analyst, Warrant Officer Mangaliso relies on evidence collected by a Crime Scene Examiner at a crime scene.

When a fingerprint is found at a crime scene it is often referred to as a latent print. Cross-checking these prints against other prints in the SAPS database has the potential to link a series of crimes together, or to place a suspect at the scene of a crime.

According to Warrant Officer Mangaliso to be a successful Fingerprint Analyst an individual must be detail-oriented, good at analyzing data to solve problems, well organized,must possess excellent verbal and written communication for presenting detailed findings in reports and to also be able to testify as an expert witness in court.

To qualify as a Fingerprint Analyst, operational members within the SAPS or individuals from external environments must be in possession of a degree or diploma in Natural Science.

“My line of work requires dedication, perseverance and patience because much of the job requires long hours at a desk, studying fingerprints to compare the lines and swirls in the prints, looking for a match”.

To Warrant Officer Mangaliso and other Fingerprint Analysts, we salute you for choosing to serve the people of this country with pride and integrity. We also say thank you for putting your country first.

Source: South African Police Service

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