Rhode Island buys fingerprinting hardware

Rhode Island purchased 10 additional digital fingerprinting scanners in

an attempt to completely automate state criminal records.

Live-scan fingerprinting equipment creates digital fingerprints, which can

be checked for criminal records among applicants for jobs or permits, and

helps law enforcement identify and track criminals.

"Years ago, you had to ink them, and it would be too long to find out who

they are," said Rhode Island State Police Sgt. Leroy Rose. "Now, you find

out within minutes."

The software, provided by Digital Biometrics Inc., includes computer-based

fingerprinting systems, photographic systems, multimedia data storage and

communication servers, and systems integration and software development

needed to implement identification management systems.

The 10 units and auxiliary equipment were purchased using federal grants

for about $500,000, Rose said.

With the seven units the state already had, four of the five state barracks

will have digital fingerprint capability, as well as several local police

stations and the state prison. The distribution of the 10 units will be

based on need, Rose said.

Within a year or two, Rose said the state hopes to purchase additional hardware

so that fingerprinting will be completely automatic: Once a fingerprint

is scanned, it is automatically sent to other stations, the state record

center and then to the FBI.

Currently, the fingerprints can be sent to the record center but have to

be printed before sent to the FBI, Rose said.

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