Paperless prints? Grant would help

Published 10:16 pm Monday, March 14, 2011

A pending grant could mean a paperless fingerprinting system for the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Russell Thomas said the department has applied for a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to help make the transition to the new LiveScan technology.

“Everything now has gone paperless. Whereas we used to send our arrest reports in and our incident reports in each month at the first of the month through paper … it’s all done electronically, so we have to go out and do those reports electronically,” Thomas said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“LiveScan will allow the Sheriff’s Department to digitally scan inmates and all arrested persons’ fingerprints. The equipment will be able to automatically update fingerprint databases in Alabama and other connected databases, which will help local, state, and federal agencies to keep accurate fingerprint data,” he said.

According to Thomas, the new finger printing system will save time and money.

“We’ll be able to go in and scan finger prints and palm prints, rather than having to do the fingerprints manually. A lot of times, in the old way of doing things, often times you would run into problems with the cards,” Thomas said. “For example, you might not have enough ink on a fingerprint, or you might not properly roll a fingerprint from side-to-side, or you may have too much ink. With the new system, we will be able to scan the hand and the palmprint and it will automatically be sent in. The new system will cut down on the work required to put finge print cards together, and on the time it will take to send those in every month. It will be a time-saving mechanism.”

The Pike County Sheriff’s office is no stranger to receiving valuableg money for upgrades in law enforcement technology and, because the new technology is a requirement, Thomas said contacting ADECA about funds to help pay for the $20,000 system was a no-brainer.

“Last year we were awarded a $25,000 grant through ADECA, the law enforcement traffic safety division, and that money was used to put cameras and computers in the cars,” Thomas said. “We now have asked for $20,216, which is the total cost of the new LiveScan system. Last year, we were able to save Pike County taxpayers and the General Fund of this county $25,000 through (the) grant.”

Thomas said that if their request for the grant is denied, then the County Commission will have to pay for the technology to allow the local department to meet requirements in place for all 67 counties. “We feel good about the grant and hope that we’ll be able to receive this money and be able to install our new system in the county jail,” Thomas said.