Inkless Fingerprinting

JONESBORO - No longer will persons being fingerprinted by law enforcement have to use the  ink process.

New technology can get suspects fingerprinted and identified within minutes instead of hours or days. Until recently the only way to get fingerprinted was by the old fashioned ink and pad method, messy and easy to smear or mess up.

Technology has stepped in to save the day.

Detective Ernest Ward, JPD, "This scans the print electronically, and you can do it ten fifteen twenty times in the same amount of time that it would take you on the ink."

The new system bypasses the ink pad to take the print.

Ward. "It allows us to come in and do an ink less fingerprint which is cleaner, if you do mess one up you can immediately re-scan. Because you don't have to replace the pad, you just click delete and do it again, delete do it again, delete, do it again."

Equipment wise the system is quite simple consisting of a computer, a scanner, monitor and laser printer.  After the print is taken, the software analyzes each print and determines if a do-over is necessary. If the print is satisfactory then the print is analyzed for quality.

Ward, "The quality score, which is here is 67 percent of 100 percent and the quality threshold which is set at 40 which is pretty much standard and set with the software, and what it does is make sure it passes the quality check before it is sent out. "

The software is used to identify specific points on each fingerprint that law enforcement can use to identify whose print it is or isn't. Detective Ward says there are many, many advantages to this kind of computer based fingerprint system.

Ward , "Once we are connected on line we will print the person one time. Electronically there will be a copy sent to the state,there will be a copy sent to the FBI and we will keep a copy here. There will also be a copy kept on line here as it keeps a copy of everything we scan."

Ward says the system should be fully connected to the state and FBI within a couple of months. And then the results will take minutes not days or weeks.

Ward, "When we send it in within ten minutes we will know something back. If that person is wanted somewhere else or someone's captured a fingerprint. We will know it within ten minutes if that person is a wanted person a suspect in something else we can actually identify the person."

The Jonesboro Police Department has only had their system in place for about a week along with similar equipment recently installed at the Craighead county Sheriffs office.