Grant funds digital fingerprint technology

Published 9:35 pm Monday, May 2, 2011

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a $20,216 grant to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department to enable the department to track criminals more effectively.

Bentley notified Pike County Commission Chairman Homer Wright that the grant has been approved.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said the grant will fund the purchase of a digital fingerprinting system.

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Rather than submitting inked fingerprint cards manually, submitting the information digitally allows officers to immediately submit and obtain fingerprint information from local state and federal databases. The system saves time by getting up-to-date information available within minutes rather than days.

“This digital fingerprinting system not only saves time, it also saves manpower,” Thomas said. “When you consider that we have about 900 people come through the jail every year and that fingerprints had to be taken manually, that’s a lot of man hours that we will save with this digital system.”

Thomas said it will soon be mandated that all 67 counties in the state have the digital fingerprinting systems.

“We are very appreciative to Gov. Bentley for the grant,” Thomas said. “If we had not received these funds, the money for this digital fingerprinting system would have come out of the county’s general fund. This grant saved the taxpayers of Pike County $20,216.”

The Pike County Sheriff’s Department received a similar grant in 2010 and Thomas said the grant funds were put to good use.

“The 2010 grant was for $25,000 and it was used to purchase state-of-the-art, in-car camera systems for the patrol cars.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice.