Friday, August 9, 2013

Should Your Department Have Mobile Biometrics?

Technology is constantly evolving and changing.  It seems as though every day there is a new or updated version of a product designed to make policing easier, deciding whether or not to buy in to the new technology can often be a lofty decision.  Is the technology going to be around for a while?  Is it going to be be widely used?  Is it going to work?  Is the advertised increase in efficiency going to be worth the initial purchase costs?

Fulcrum Biometrics FbF Mobile One
Should your department invest in a mobile biometric scanner?  A what?  A mobile fingerprint scanner about the size of a cell phone.  Whether or not this investment makes sense for your department might be highly dependent upon the size of your jurisdiction.  If you're a small town and know your residents, there's probably no need for this type of technology.  However, if you are a large city or a tourist destination, being able to accurately identify individuals can save you a great deal of manpower in the long run.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office (Georgia) deployed the use of seventeen mobile fingerprint scanners in throughout their department in 2012, and were looking to add ten addition units this year due to the success of the initial purchase.  In an interview with the Augusta Chronicle, Capt. Scott Gay said of the mobile fingerprint scanners, "They're a valuable tool.  They help us ID folks who try to be misleading."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has had similar findings.  The use of these devices saved a great deal of man hours in the long run.  In particular, it drastically reduced the number or mandatory rebookings due to paperwork issues.  For example, if a person was apprehended and gave their name as John Doe, that is the name that would be placed on all paperwork associated with their booking...until finger print identification returned that their true name was John Smith, causing the arresting officer to need to completely redo all paperwork associated with that booking.  With the use of the mobile fingerprint scanner, the arresting officer can determine that John Doe's true name is John Smith prior to ever getting him back to the station...well before filling out mounds of paperwork with the incorrect information.  It has allowed their officers to spend more time patrolling the streets and less time in the office performing administrative duties

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