Thursday, September 11, 2008

Media Opportunity Thursday

WHAT: Media Opportunity

WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008

TIME: 2:45 p.m.

WHERE: Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Public Information Office

TOPIC: CCSO Rapid ID pilot program

SUMMARY: A Collier County Sheriff’s Office pilot program that uses an electronic fingerprint device lets judges in the courtroom and deputies on the road check a person’s warrants and criminal history on the spot.

Called Rapid ID, the device assists law enforcers when there’s confusion over a person’s identity.

CCSO is the only law enforcement agency in Florida using Rapid ID devices in a courthouse and by deputies in the field.
For the past two months, judges at the Collier County Courthouse have been using Rapid ID when a defendant’s identity has been an issue.

The device electronically scans two fingerprint images which are then sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and entered into a statewide fingerprint database. If there’s a match, that person’s criminal history and any warrants he or she may have will be delivered electronically to the judge within 45 seconds to a minute. The statewide database covers anybody who has been arrested and fingerprinted in Florida.

Before Rapid ID if a defendant’s identity came into question in court, typically the judge would halt the proceeding and call in a fingerprint examiner, a time-consuming process.

Currently, there is one Rapid ID device on the third floor of the courthouse that is available for all of the judges to use.

Deputies have been using the devices for about a month as part of the pilot program.

The device allows deputies to electronically fingerprint people while they are out in the field such as during traffic stops. If there’s a match, the person’s criminal history and warrants immediately show up on the deputy’s in-car computer.

FDLE is supplying the devices at no cost to CCSO through a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.