Mobile fingerprint scanners help Richmond County deputies

Thanks to new technology installed Thursday in patrol cars, deputies can verify a person’s identity in minutes through mobile fingerprinting.

“It’s a whole lot faster,” Lt. Jimmy Young said after a morning training session on the scanners.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office used a grant for more than $20,000 to obtain the 12 Rapid ID fingerprint scanners.

Ten of the scanners will be in patrol cars, and two will be in the jail’s booking area.

Young said the devices will be spread among senior officers to ensure that at least two to three devices would be available for every shift.

Additional funding from a grant will provide another five scanners to the Criminal Investigation Division. Those scanners should arrive in the next few weeks.

Young said mobile fingerprinting will eliminate a lot of wasted time.

Before, deputies would have to take people to the jail to run their fingerprints.

Deputies said they frequently run into people who claim to not have ID and lie about their identity. Now all the deputy has to do is have people scan their finger on a device the size of a cellphone.

The device takes an image of the print, wirelessly sends it to the deputy’s laptop and searches through the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s database for a match.

Less than a minute after taking the print, deputies will know the name of the person in question, previous booking locations, parole and probation information, and current warrants.

“You wouldn’t get their criminal history, but you would know (whether to look further),” said Stephen Reneke, the project manager for DataWorks Plus, which installed the equipment.

The technology is being used in about 50 agencies in the state. Agencies have already had success.

Reneke said a Florida state trooper used the device during a traffic stop in 2011 and verified the driver as a suburban Atlanta murder suspect who had been sought for eight years.

Richmond County is the first local agency to adopt the technology.

The fingerprinting software can also be used to identify bodies, people in a coma or those with mental illness who can’t speak for themselves.

New fingerprint technology will be in use

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