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Washington County Sheriff’s Office to deploy palm print equipment


The Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) will implement new palm print equipment, which will provide a second form of undeniable identification for individuals facing charges, according to a report by Herald & Tribune.

The new palm print equipment will be partially purchased with a $32,400 government grant based on recommendation from the Public Safety and Budget committees.

The equipment will replace the computers that operate the 10-print scanners and the interactive screens in the two identification devices located in the WCSO’s booking department.

First announced in November 2014, the new palm print equipment will be implemented as soon as possible in an effort to meet Criminal Justice Information Security guidelines.

Other than providing the current software, the upgraded equipment will allow the department to begin taking palm prints.

“The FBI has started requesting palm prints. Soon they will be requiring them, and we are trying to stay ahead of the curve,” said Rick Hawkins, WCSO administrative services director, adding that the WSCO takes an estimated 7,000 fingerprints per year.

The WCSO provides the services for individuals housed in the Detention Center, as well as for federal and state agencies, Johnson City, Jonesborough, East Tennessee State University and the U.S. Forestry Service.

The process for each hand entails scanning the first four fingers as a unit, individual scans of the four fingers and a scan of the thumb.

Meanwhile, the interactive screen notifies the user if the quality of the scan isn’t acceptable and if it needs to be repeated, which occurs when there are worn fingerprints or smudges.

As a safety measure, police officers wear gloves when scanning the individual’s fingerprints, which can also help prevent the rare occurrence of the officer’s fingerprints being transferred.

Once completed, the files are sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations in Nashville, which keeps the data on hand until the offender passes away.

Though it is undetermined when the WCSO will begin implementing the palm print system, it is aiming to begin on June 1st for completion by the end of the fiscal year.

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