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Report Provides Insight Into Mobile ID Fingerprint Technology

NCJ Number
Techbeat Dated: July/August 2014 Pages: 3-6
Date Published
July 2014
4 pages
This article summarizes a report ("Landscape Study of Mobile ID Fingerprint Devices") by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence regarding issues related to the use of these devices, including case studies of their successful adoption.

The case studies showed a high level of benefit following the implementation of mobile ID fingerprint technology in the field. Mobile fingerprinting in the field using these devices enables an officer to record suspect fingerprints, send them to a fingerprint database, and receive a rapid return of a match that identifies the suspect. Some of the jurisdictions involved in the study reported that as knowledge of this technology's use spread in the community, the number of false identities provided by suspects to officers in the field declined significantly. Other benefits included a reduction in the time needed to identify deceased persons, thus speeding investigations and increasing the likelihood of solving cases. This also led to a reduction in the need to use DNA for deceased victim identification, which assisted in reducing DNA testing backlogs. There were some problems encountered, however. Device and fingerprint database interoperability presented a major challenge. Agencies considering the use of mobile fingerprint devices should learn about the technology's use in neighboring jurisdictions. This is the key to enabling users to develop communication strategies throughout their jurisdiction. Another significant challenge that must be addressed is the development of training and skills in using the device. The ability to capture a good fingerprint image can make a difference in the effective use of the technology. It is also important for agencies to field test the technology and be familiar with FBI and National Institute of Standards and Technology device standards before making a purchase decision.

Date Published: July 1, 2014