The old-fashioned method of getting fingerprints from an alleged criminal is fast becoming extinct, as most law enforcement agencies are turning to a quicker, more beneficial fingerprint collection system.
Just last week the West Point Police Department rolled out a new Cross Match Live Print Scanner, which automatically scans a person’s fingerprints without any sticky ink or paper involved.
West Point Chief of Police Tim Brinkley said for years the WPPD used the ink and roller to collect and process prints, but things are now changing for the better.
“We’re moving into CSI technology,” Brinkley said. “James Bond technology has finally made it to West Point.”
With the Live Print fingerprint machine the person whose prints are being collected would simply lay their fingers or hand down on the machine, and after a few simple clicks of the computer mouse the fingerprints are scanned in and stored into the WPPD’s fingerprint database.
“It eliminates the need for a fingerprint technician to manually examine details of the prints,” he said. “It’s all done electronically. There’s a less likelihood of smudges. All of the problems that come along with ink and roller are eliminated, and the machine is very accurate in its detailing.”
Once the fingerprints are electronically collected by the live scanner the mapped image is sent to another component and the prints are then compared in the local database of prints. Then prints are forwarded on the Jackson to be compared in the statewide database. If no matches are found in the local or state database of fingerprints the prints can then be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigations database, Brinkley said.
“That’s something we haven’t been able to do in the past,” he said. “We’ve always had to scan a fingerprint card with ink on it into a machine and then manually have the information sent to Jackson. Now it’s all done electronically in a matter of minutes. We’re excited about the technology and the potential to solve crimes. It really brings us into the 21st Century when it comes to forensics.”
One of the WPPD’s Criminal Investigation Division officers has already been through some forensics training will now go through more extensive training in fingerprint comparison and how to use the new technology effectively.
In the near future, Brinkley said, the WPPD anticipates entering into an agreement with the Columbus Police Department, which would have access to the WPPD’s fingerprint database if an agreement is reached. The WPPD would also be allowed to use the Columbus Police Department’s database.
“I’m a firm believer that West Point, Columbus and Starkville share common criminals, and it would be good if we could search their database and let them search ours when we have prints for comparison before even sending them to Jackson,” Brinkley said.