Police get high-tech finger-printer
By Caton Deuso
Whitehall Police Department has purchased a Live Scan finger-printer that Sgt. David Buxton said will be a good addition to the department and should speed up the booking process.
“We’re doing it the old-fashioned way,” he said about the current finger-printing method.
Sgt. Buxton applied for a grant last fall for the equipment and it was purchased at the beginning of the year. The new system will cut out steps for the department and will be a benefit when taking prints.
“Before the live scan, we would roll their prints on a print card and they go into a box to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and meanwhile the person that has been fingerprinted has been released most likely,” he said.
“And even if it is a big arrest, by the time the prints have reached the sheriff's office, the person is gone. Then, if the system at the sheriff’s office can’t recognize the print, you have to find the person and reprint them.”
If an individual needs reprinting, it can often be hard to locate them after they have been released, Buxton said.
“We have people from out of the area that have a charge that will never appear on what’s called their criminal history,” he said.
“You need that fingerprint number saying the prints are good to associate that with the person that has been arrested,” he said. “Judges can’t close out cases because they don’t have that number. The case remains open until you get the person and good prints.
Although Granville has a system, it is only programmed to one station and would not be able to accept fingerprints of other local stations.
On average, in 2020 there were 49 people fingerprinted, but the department has already sent a dozen prints within the last month or so.
“I believe that right now we have less than 10 sets of fingerprints that need to be redone and that’s over the years with hundreds of cases,” he said.
Officers started training on the new system on June 1 and are now using the equipment. Buxton said the odds of officers getting
“This system is instant in and will tell you if the prints are good on the spot,” he said.
The Whitehall Police Department is on its way to having much of its equipment updated. With the antenna improving radio signals from Fort Edward to the new finger-printer, there are just some odds and ends to finish.
“We just have some equipment that has been neglected over the years that we will be taking care of in the next few months,” he said. (Photo by Caton Deuso)
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