Mobile, Ala., Police Department Bolsters Criminal Identification Efforts

System yielded 36 hits in first 30 days of operation.

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Mobile Ala., Police Department (MPD), wanted to enhance the city's ability to quickly and reliably identify crime scene prints and match them to city and state databases.

The department installed NEC's Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) earlier this year. The system yielded 36 hits, or matches of latent prints, in its first 30 days of operation -- while the city's earlier fingerprint identification system, which had become outdated, yielded only 39 matches in over six years.

"NEC's Automated Fingerprint Identification System has paid significant and immediate dividends for the city of Mobile and its police department," said Lt. Joseph Rose of the MPD ID Unit. "The ability to coordinate our searches and records with those of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will not only accelerate the growth of our own database, but will also leverage the millions of prints already in the other databases. The net result will be more effective crime-fighting and a safer Mobile."

For Mobile, the AFIS arrived already loaded with electronically converted fingerprint images from the ABI system, allowing the department to immediately search known Mobile records, and expand the search to the statewide database in the absence of hits at a local level. The system at ABI then automatically forwards Mobile Police Department searches to the FBI. Both ABI and AFIS send notification back to Mobile PD with notice as to whether an identification has been made.
Miriam Jones is chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines. She joined e.Republic in 2000 as an editor of Converge magazine.