Fairfax County Police Deploy Devices to Enhance Identification Accuracy

To improve the accuracy of ID discovery by officers in the field, the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department (FCPD) is pioneering an advanced identification process. The hand-held biometric terminal has a fingerprint scanner and card reader, and it can also take photos on the scene.

For FCPD, the units, the DSV2+TURBO from Datastrip Inc., were loaded with custom software to seamlessly interface with FCPD's Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and to perform facial recognition against its Viisage software-enabled mug shot database. Using the device, FCPD can positively match a photo or fingerprints in about 30 seconds.

“Sometimes officers just get a feeling about someone, that the ID or information they provide isn't real. This allows them to confirm positive identification if the person has ever been previously fingerprinted,” said Lt. John V. Byrd, the project manager for FCPD. "Officers can use the machine to identify people who aren't carrying identification or who are unconscious at an accident or crime scene.”

FCPD purchased 50 DSV2+TURBO units as part of a $14 million grant from the Office of Homeland Security. FCPD since has ordered an additional 30 terminals. The system integrator for FCPD recommended the Datastrip device because it met the department's usability criteria and was easy to customize. The touchscreen, for example, was modified so it can be operated with a finger instead of a stylus, simplifying use in the field.

The units feature a large, high-resolution touchscreen display that is readable in both direct and low-light conditions; a long-life battery for extended shifts; and flexible expansion and communications options, including Wifi, Bluetooth and cellular for global communications, barcode scanning and proximity or magnetic stripe card reading.

Datastrip units also currently are used by police in Harris County, Tex., and Pinellas County, Fla., but Fairfax is the first jurisdiction to use the machines for both fingerprint and photo recognition.

For more information, visit http://www.datastrip.com.

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