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California Department of Justice Integrates Palmprint Matching Capability

Agency enhances biometric identification system.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Department of Justice's (DOJ) will expand its biometric identification system for the California Automated Palm Print System (CAPPS). Upgrading the system by integrating a palmprint database matching system with the existing fingerprint database dramatically enhances the state's law enforcement capabilities.

NEC Solutions America (NECSAM) and the California DOJ recently integrated the company's automated palmprint identification system with Cal DOJ's existing automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS). The California DOJ AFIS system is the largest of any U.S. state, containing more than 14 million fingerprint records and handling 15,000 queries per day.

The CAPPS currently contains approximately 200,000 records of individuals with criminal records, but the California DOJ and its local agency clients plan to expand the database as the technology for electronic capture of palmprints is more widely deployed throughout the state.

"Over the last 20 years we have literally made millions of identifications using AFIS technology," said Gary Cooper, chief of the Criminal Identification and Information Bureau within the California Department of Justice. "With this new matching tool, we will be even more effective in enhancing public safety because approximately 30 percent of all fingerprint evidence recovered at crime scenes comes from the palm area of the hand."

"Expanding our criminal identification capabilities has been a key initiative for Attorney General Bill Lockyer," said Cooper. "A number of cases have been solved in the early stages of this new palmprint program, and we expect the case clearances will increase proportionately as the number of subjects in the database increases."
Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.