SBI agents used all the latest techniques

Posted by Teresa Leonard on February 27, 2014 

The SBI had its beginning as part of the State Bureau of Identification and Investigation. The Bureau of Identification had gotten its start in 1925 with H. H. Honeycutt as director. It was responsible for collecting and organizing crime information.

BIENNIAL REPORT OF THE STATE'S PRISON 1925, STATE LIBRARY OF NORTH CAROLINA

In 1942, then-director of the State Bureau of Investigation Fred C. Handy gave readers an overview of the bureau and its modern approach to criminal investigations.

During the 1937 session of the Legislature, an act was passed providing for the creation and operation of this bureau. To finance the bureau, the act provided that in every criminal case finally disposed of in the courts $1 additional cost was assessed and paid to the State Treasurer of North Carolina. One-half of this amount was to be allotted to the use of the bureau.

One year after the passage of the act, on March 15, 1938, the governor appointed a director with authority to proceed with the creation and operation of the bureau.… On July 1, 1938, the first special agent was appointed, and during the same month a firearms identification and questioned document expert entered the services of the bureau. On Aug. 15, 1938, the first fingerprint expert was employed. Necessary scientific equipment for the bureau was secured during the following months and made ready for service to the law enforcement agencies of the State.…

There have been provided laboratory facilities for the analysis of evidences of crime, including the determination of presence, quantity and character of poisons, the character of bloodstains, microscopic and other examinations of materials associated with the commission of crime. Also the examination and analysis of projectiles for ballistic imprints and records which lead to the determination of identification of criminals, the examination and identification of fingerprints, and other evidence leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of criminals.…

The search for, development, and identification of fingerprints is conducted by trained experts using the most modern equipment. This work requires a thorough knowledge of the various methods of obtaining latent fingerprints. Such fingerprint records when obtained are filed for comparison with those of any suspects, making them available for immediate or future comparisons. In many instances after the arrest of a suspect and obtaining his fingerprints we have been able to positively identify him as being the perpetrator of a number of unsolved crimes.…

Since the importance of photography in criminal investigation is being more and more recognized as indispensable, the bureau has accordingly set up complete photographical facilities. There are on hand cameras for general application and field use, together with special cameras for specialized application, including copying cameras, photo-micrographic cameras, fingerprint cameras, etc. Special lens are also interchangeable for particular application and photography by means of ultraviolet light and infrared illumination.…

The bureau is provided with devices for listening and sound recording, also a psychograph for use in the detection of deception. There is also a moulage and plaster of paris supplies and material for making casts of such items as tools, tool marks, fingerprints, wounds, face masks of unidentified dead, footprints and tire imprints, and perishable evidence. An ultraviolet ray lamp is available for the fluorescent examination of various materials, including washed-out bloodstains and other invisible stains, semen stains, invisible laundry marks, and writings with sympathetic ink. This also is used for the differentiation between inks and papers, determination of mechanical and chemical erasures in documents, and the development of latent fingerprints by certain chemical processes.…

We often receive requests from mothers of young girls who have run away from their homes asking for assistance in an effort to locate them. Also, from wives who suspect their husbands of infidelity and request the bureau to assist them in getting evidence to substantiate their suspicions. Upon one occasion a young man visited the bureau to make a request that the lie detector be used on his wife, a recent bride, to satisfy himself as to whether or not she had told the truth about her life prior to their marriage.

There are times when some of the inquiries we receive would indicate that we are looked upon as a “Bureau of Information.” Only recently we received an inquiry asking if there was an orphanage any place in the state where babies under 1 year of age could be placed.

Unfortunately no law enforcement agency can solve all cases referred to it. In all unsolved cases we never close our investigation. The N&O 4/26/1942

Read more stories from local and state history and send us your own stories on the blog Past Times, newsobserver.com/pasttimes.

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