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U.S. sheriffs continue to buy into iris biometrics systems to identify suspects, inmates

U.S. sheriffs continue to buy into iris biometrics systems to identify suspects, inmates

A biometrics vendor says that more than two thirds of all U.S. sheriffs’ agencies have asked to join a nationwide iris-scanning ID verification network. Law enforcement and prison officials are deploying systems for the identification of inmates, past and present.

The vendor, BI2 Technologies, has worked with the National Sheriffs’ Association on a number of biometric identification projects for about 10 years.

The lengthy partnership has resulted in 2,100 of the 3,100 sheriffs’ offices asking to join the network, known as the Inmate Recognition Identification System (IRIS) from BI2, according to the company.

Most recently, Florida’s Leon County Sheriffs’ Office has begun using the biometrics network to identify current and released inmates. ABC affiliate WTXL reports that half a dozen other counties in the state also use the same iris biometrics system or are about to start doing so. The software identifies about 265 characteristics to create a unique algorithmic template, according to the vendor.

Leon County is identifying current or former inmates found in the national database within 15 seconds, according to the report.

The vendor has encouraged sheriffs to see how biometrics can also generate revenue through a background-checking program called Access. A five-year agreement, signed in 2019, provides iris and fingerprint biometrics as part of background checks that the sheriffs can complete for a fee.

Other companies making biometric inmate-tracking products include DataWorks Plus and M2sys, which has a broader biometric product range.

BI2’s competitors in the U.S. law enforcement market for iris biometrics include Iris ID.

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