21
Okt
2004

Police add to biometrics arsenal

Biometrics, the science of using measurable physical characteristics to identify people, has added new weapons to the arsenals of law enforcement agencies, and as some of these new tools are connected to high-speed wireless communications they could become widely available to officers in the field, not just those back at headquarters. Hand-held devices that can be used to digitally scan fingerprints and match the results against large databases are being tested by several law enforcement agencies nationwide, with officials at some saying that the benefits of biometrics are already clear. The companies behind the products see uses that extend beyond local law enforcement activities, into such areas as homeland security and border control. They say the tools also have potential in the private sector, in banking and employee identification, for example, and that foreign governments have begun ordering them as well.

The Portland, Ore., police department has been testing a mobile fingerprint identification device since April. The unit, called IBIS and made by a Minnetonka, Minn., company called Identix, is slightly larger than an ordinary hand-held computer. It can scan fingerprints and then compare them with records kept by members of the Western Identification Network, a consortium of law enforcement agencies in Western states with a database of more than 3.5 million fingerprint records.

//www.globetechnology.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20040923.gtprintsep23/BNStory/Technology/


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