By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
A new, pricey piece of equipment has already been put to use at the Fultondale Police Department.
“With success,” added Evidence Technician Brandon Brown with a smile.
The small box with the fancy price tag also has a fancy name: It is a Mini-CrimeScope 400 Alternative Light Source, and is worth more than $10,100.
Its purpose is to use a source of light, seen by special glasses worn by the technician, to see fingerprints, bodily fluids or other evidence not normally visible.
The police department received the equipment as a donation from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation and the Fultondale Firehouse Subs store. The store collected funds by selling recycled pickle buckets for $2 each, collecting change in donation canisters and allowing customers to round up their bill to the nearest dollar.
Although the department has had the machine for a couple of months, the donation was made official during a ceremony Thursday at Firehouse Subs in Fultondale.
Making it even more special is that it was donated in the name of Fultondale Police Officer David Riddlesperger, who died in October 2011.
Riddlesperger’s wife Betty and two sons, Hunter and Morgan, were on hand for the
The Fultondale Firehouse Subs collected money for the project, and the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation donated the remaining funds for the equipment.
The department received the Alternative Light Source after applying for a grant from the foundation.
“It’s already paid off to have it,” said Brown. He said the equipment is portable, so it can be used in the field or in the department’s evidence lab.
“It will make our jobs a lot easier,” he said. “It will not only prove guilt, but innocence.”
He said one major use of the machine is to detect fingerprints on rough surfaces where it is impossible to lift fingerprints using traditional methods. With the Alternative Light Source, a technician can put a certain powder on the fingerprint and then photograph it; it can then be used as evidence.