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Alaska completes biometric database upgrade to solve crimes faster

Alaska completes biometric database upgrade to solve crimes faster

The department of public safety of the U.S. State of Alaska has announced the completion of a two-year upgrade of its fingerprint biometric database which will enable public safety officers to better handle crime.

In a news release announcing the development, the public safety department said the upgrade to Alaska’s portion of the Western Identification Network (WIN) Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) comes after years of planning and several months of testing.

With the upgrade, there will be a significant reduction in the amount of time needed to manually process fingerprints into the system that handles all civil, criminal and forensic fingerprints statewide. Additionally, the latent fingerprint processing match rate is said to have improved drastically from an average of 40 percent prior to the upgrade to a 70 percent match rate in testing. The increased match rate will allow forensic scientists and investigators to solve crimes faster, the release explains.

Kathryn Monfreda, director of statewide services for the department of public safety, praised the efforts of the department’s staff in contributing to the process and said the upgraded software will help save up time for investigations and forensics.

“This upgrade will allow not only the Department of Public Safety, but other state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to save investigative and forensics time with the new tools and system updates we now have access to. My staff’s time and effort that went into this upgrade over the last two years will pay off quickly with the increased efficiency that this will bring on the frontend and backend of biometric identification,” Monfreda said.

Alaska is said to be the first among the eight WIN states to carry out the upgrade. With this, the state will be able to access other WIN states’ databases to match fingerprints, the release states, and includes its system in the federal fingerprint database maintained by the FBI.

The state’s biometric database contains over 600,000 fingerprint records collected from arrested individuals, statutory employment fingerprint submissions, and latent fingerprints collected during police investigations, according to the statement.

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