New technology will allow Fairfax County police to identify someone on the street within a matter of seconds with a set of new tools they will share with departments elsewhere in northern Virginia.Now, let's hope that efficacious use of this new technology will be made.
A $14 million federal homeland security grant in 2005 allowed Fairfax police to purchase 50 units of a new portable Automated Fingerprint Identification System. The tool can scan two index fingers and search for a match among the approximately 1 million fingerprints on file in northern Virginia and the District of Columbia, Fairfax Lt. John V. Byrd said. A match will come back in about 30 seconds, often with a photograph, if a person's fingerprints are on file.
"This has the possibility to be the most effective tool for police since the two-way radio," Byrd said.
The portable units also can take a photo of a person and search for an image match, but that system is less reliable because there are fewer photographs than fingerprints on file, Byrd said.
Police believe the technology could significantly improve their ability to solve crimes, gather intelligence on gangs and combat terrorism, Byrd said.
"An officer on the street will be able to identify a person that he may or may not have been able to identify through other techniques," he said.
Most of the units will stay in Fairfax County. But the police department will share the technology with Arlington, Loudoun and Prince William counties, as well as with Fairfax City, Vienna, Herndon and Alexandria.
...Fairfax is the first jurisdiction to use machines that feature both fingerprint and photo recognition technology...
This technology should be in use nationwide.