Crime Trackers

Sep 26, 2013 3:50 PM by Lupita Murillo

Tucson Police first in state to use automated fingerprinting

TUCSON - It's the latest in crime fighting technology and Tucson Police are among the first-in-the-state to use it.

An automated fingerprint identification system that patrol officers have access to 24/7.

More than 60 of these handheld devices have been distributed from patrol to undercover units.

News 4 Tucson's Lupita Murillo learned it's saving time, money, and keeping the community safe.

This gray box contains state of the art equipment Tucson Police are using to help them identify people they come in contact with.

Armed with the automated fingerprint identification system, Officer J.J. Flores is off to patrol the southside.

The handheld device is about the size of an iPhone and it costs $2,000. It's only been on the streets for a few weeks.

"It's helping tremendously, it's assisting uniform patrol to properly identify subjects that they're dealing with out in the street."

These are folks who don't have ID on them, or who may be giving a false name.

"If they're lying to you, there's a reason why they are lying to you."

Here's how it works: The officer takes two fingerprints on the device.

He then connects it to his computer in his vehicle. That's transmitted to Phoenix and it searches through an automated fingerprint identification system.

It also searches the FBIs' database-- all within sixty seconds.

"The name it comes back to see if whether or not he's wanted on previous criminal acts or any kind of warrants."
John Neeley, the identification superintendent, is responsible for getting the devices.

"Initially this was on a cops grant sponsored by congresswoman giffords," he said.

He says within the last few weeks they've used it to identify two bodies. Normally it would've taken 24 to 48 hours to ID them. They did it in less than minute.

The device is also making it safer
"Its going to make it a safer community , we're getting someone that's wanted off the streets."


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