CMPD Testing Portable Fingerprint Scanners, Says Device Helps with Efficiency
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - We told you in April that CMPD was looking into portable fingerprint scanners and whether the technology could work here. Now, the department is testing nine of them. They've had them for about a week and a half and they say so far, so good.
The portable scanners have already led to the arrest of two people who were lying to officers about their identity. Instead of wasting time driving suspects to the jail to run their prints, officers can do it in seconds in the field.
The scanners only link to the Mecklenburg County jail system so the officer only gets a match if you've been arrested in the county. It cannot assist in determining a person's immigration status.
Major Rick Williams says “It doesn't touch 287G, it doesn't do anything on the federal system, it won't tell us if the person is in the country illegally, what their status is. All it will tell us is if they've been arrested in Mecklenburg County before and this is who they are.”
Williams says the scanners are about efficiency; they save officers' time but they could save your time, too. “There have been many cases where people have avoided going to jail just to be positively ID'd when we've been able to do that on the street,” says Williams.
Because the scanners cost about $1,400 a piece, it's unlikely that the department will buy one for every patrol car. The Police Foundation, a non profit, has helped fund the pilot program.
Police departments in DC, Florida and Georgia are also using the portable scanners. The ACLU has voiced concerns that the technology could lead to an invasion of privacy.