Santa Monica police spend $60k annually on fingerprinting service

Police departments across California are using Live Scan, the state Department of Justice’s (DOJ) national electronic fingerprint database, when “booking” suspects into custody and performing employee criminal background checks, according to a report by the Santa Monica Lookout.

The fingerprint technology scans millions of prints annually and transmits criminal histories of suspects to agencies within hours, which is significantly faster than the days or weeks it took just a few decades ago

Santa Monica Police Department is one of more than 45,000 police agencies that use Live Scan on a daily basis, which has cost the agency more than $55,800 a year over the past three years.

A staff report recommending the city fund Live Scan services for the next five years for no more than $300,000, or $60,000 a year.

Live Scan enables individuals to be fingerprinted by having them place their fingers on a glass, which electronically captures an image of their fingerprints to be compared and matched against DOJ criminal records.

The system annually processes about 2 million background checks in California and 1.2 million federal background checks, according to the DOJ’s website.

Previously reported, the Stockton Police Department in California has been undergoing a trial program for the past four years involving a new handheld device that scans fingerprints, irises and other biometric data.

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