TOMMY L. RUTLEDGE
Examiner of Questioned
Documents and Forensic Handwriting Expert
Tommy L. Rutledge has been employed with the Oklahoma City
Police Department since May 20, 1967. Currently, he is a Sergeant assigned to
Forensic Services. Mr. Rutledge was assigned to the Document Lab in 1977,
beginning his apprenticeship with George Englebretson.
Through Englebretson, Mr. Rutledge met and studied
periodically with other qualified examiners with the Oklahoma State Bureau of
Investigation and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. In 1982, Mr.
Rutledge was assigned to spend sixteen hours per week for several months at the
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, working with Ernie Smith, Forensic
Document Examiner, perhaps the most qualified and reputable examiner in
He attended the United States Secret Service Questioned
Documents School in Washington, D.C. in June 1978, assuming full responsibility
as Document Examiner for the Oklahoma City Police Department in 1981. In July
1981, Mr. Rutledge attended the FBI Academy Advanced Questioned Document course
in Quantico, Virginia.
The scope of his expertise includes the examination and
identification of disputed and/or questioned documents involving handwriting,
handprinting, typewriting, check protectors, rubber stamps, the processing of
documents for alterations, eradications and falsifications. He possesses
specialized training in the use of microscopes, document photography, line and
paper measurement and varied light applications, including ultraviolet and
Mr. Rutledge initially became qualified as an expert witness
in the Federal Court system through work and study with the Secret Service,
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division. He has been involved in hundreds of
cases, in state and federal courts, in and outside Oklahoma, where document
examination findings were key to litigation. Each time, he has been called upon
to testify and has been re-certified an expert. Additionally, he successfully
examined and identified foreign documentation in Zurich, Switzerland in July
In February 1983, Mr. Rutledge attended the FBI Academy Crime
Laboratory Forensic Photography School, completing extensive studies in document
photography, copy work, darkroom procedures, processing of evidence, use of
special lighting techniques, reconstruction and matching of torn edges,
ultraviolet and infrared photography and infrared luminescence. Since then, he
has conducted examinations involving many aspects of identification, including
thin layer chromatography (TLC), performing his own photographic work,
processing and preparation of displays and exhibits for trial presentation.
In April 1989, Mr. Rutledge attended the Central United
States Police Institute, successfully completing an arduous course in Technical
Investigation. To further his knowledge and expertise to demonstrate findings
through photography, he performed for approximately two years in the forensic
photo lab within the Forensic Science Technical Investigation Division of the
Oklahoma City Police Department.
Mr. Rutledge remains current on issues of forensic document
examination, receiving and studying literature and publications on legal and
other aspects of the field. He frequently attends conferences and seminars and
maintains a consulting relationship with other experts throughout the country.
He enjoys memberships in the Fraternal Order of Police, the International
Association For Identification, The Oklahoma and Midwest Document Examiners
Association and is a former member of the Southwestern Association of Forensic
Document Examiners. In years of being called upon to give testimony, he has
never failed to qualify in any Court.
Mr. Rutledge is an affiliate of American
Professional, Inc. in Oklahoma City, where he maintains a scientifically
equipped laboratory including stereo microscope, magnifiers, long and short wave
ultraviolet light sources, infrared camera with a full set of dropout filters,
side specialty lighting, transmitted light tables, MP4 copy stand, a video
monitoring system which has expanded his ability to examine obliterated and
altered documents, and a fully equipped darkroom available to prepare
photographic displays for courtroom presentation.