Going digital with perps’ digits

A computerized fingerprinting system currently being tested by the New York Police Department’s 84th Precinct in Brooklyn will shave hours from the lengthy arrest-to-arraignment process, officials said, freeing up officers to return to patrol in record time.

The system, known as Live Scan, will allow police to gather picture-perfect fingerprints to submit to the state’s criminal-records data base, located in Albany, which then retrieves any matching prints and accompanying criminal records on file and transmits them back to the precinct.

It will replace the previous paper-and-ink procedure for taking prints, which would then be sent by fax to Albany, said Sgt. Nick Basso, a supervisor at the precinct. A prisoner could not be arraigned until fingerprints and rap sheets were returned from Albany  a process that can take up to 24 hours. “Now prints and a rap sheet could come back within minutes rather than hours,” Basso told The New York Daily News.

The system includes six-foot-high scanners with two video monitors and a flat desktop at waist level with two touch-sensitive panels. As a  suspect’s fingers are placed on the glass panels, the scanner’s lasers read the prints and display them on the monitors.

Basso said the scanner turns out usable prints more than 80 percent of the time, compared to 50 percent using the paper-and-ink method. If successful, the pilot program will be expanded to other precincts.


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Published in Law Enforcement News
Dec. 15, 1996.
© 1996, LEN Inc.