Denver and Nebraska police using Morpho fingerprint identification devices

October 2, 2015 - 

The Denver police department will be equipped with Morpho’s MorphoIDent handheld fingerprint devices to help officers identify suspects who lie about their identity, according to a report by CBS Denver.

The City of Denver announced the $260,000 purchase of the fingerprint identification technology as part of its 2016 budget.

The MorphoIDent device works as an extension of traditional biometric access control systems, enabling real-time identification based on Morpho’s biometric technology.

The optical scanner is fully FBI PIV-IQS certified and offers on-device or remote matching capabilities.

The department’s gang unit, comprised of 19 police officers, were issued the fingerprint devices in a pilot program last fall, which officers say significantly lowered the number of mistaken identity cases.

“We frequently have times when someone that we contact doesn’t have an identification card and gives us a name that is not their name,” said Denver Police Lieutenant John Pettinger, who oversaw the pilot program, adding that the technology could greatly prevent the wrongly jailing of people.

“It is an ongoing problem that we are looking for technology to hopefully help us out with,” said Lieutenant Pettinger.

During the pilot program, Denver Police Chief Robert White ordered officers to only use the fingerprint device during an arrest, or with documented consent of the person being fingerprinted.

Denver Police said it is currently developing guidelines that specify when the devices can be used.

Lieutenant Pettinger said the department has not decided on if individuals would be asked to submit fingerprints during minor incidents, such as a routine traffic stop, but said it is working to ensure that officers are not being too intrusive with the technology.

“They are sensitive to the idea of capturing information when most people think it is not warranted,” said Lieutenant Pettinger.

The Denver Police Department said it will not retain the fingerprints of any individuals who are not arrested or charged with crimes.

In a separate report by KNOP-TV News, the Nebraska State Patrol revealed it purchased five LiveScan devices from MorphoTrak earlier this year.

As part of the state police equipment upgrade, Keith County Jail in Ogallala, Nebraska also received one of the devices.

MorphoTrak LiveScan solution is an electronic, advanced fingerprint capture device in which fingerprints are rolled across a glass plate and scanned.

The machine achieves faster, cleaner, and more accurate results than with the Keith County Jail’s previous manual ink and roll method on paper cards, while significantly cutting down on the workload for employees when inputting inmate fingerprint data.

Using the $35,000 machine, jail inmates are able to input their fingerprint information into a database, which is then printed out on a booking card for easier access and usage.

“It’s going to save us a lot of time on the busy weekends. We would spend hours typing up print cards and this machine does that for us. It’s a lot more accurate,” said Lieutenant Travis Ponick, who added that other western Nebraska police departments received the equipment based on a state-issued grant.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.