City, News

BPD digitizes its fingerprint system

The Boston Police Department may begin using a mobile digital fingerprinting system to simplify its search for suspects.’
Members of the Boston City Council discussed the technology Monday afternoon.
Councilor Rob Consalvo (Hyde Park) said he sponsored the meeting to keep Boston ‘ahead of the curb,’ when it comes to technology that could benefit the Boston citizens and police officers.
The Automated Fingerprinting Identification System would allow officers to immediately verify a person’s identity by scanning a fingerprint and comparing it with a database, Consalvo said, allowing access to information like outstanding warrants for arrest or prior convictions.
BPD deputy superintendent William Casey said the system would not be used to invade privacy, and would only be used in cases when reasonable suspicion justified the use of the device.
‘If they aren’t violating the law, it stops there,’ he said.
Casey said the AFID would not replace the booking process, but just begin it in the field.
Councilor At-Large Sam Yoon said he hopes the AFIS system will have a similar effect as Boston’s ShotSpotter system, which identifies gunshots in an area. Yoon said the ShotSpotter system is a great example of technology working with the law enforcement to save time.
‘Adopting new technologies should be done in a thoughtful manner,’ Yoon said.
Stephanie Hartnett, a former Brockton paramedic, testified in favor of the technology and spoke about a Level-3 sex offender who came to her home after meeting her 13-year-old daughter online. When Boston Police arrived at her home to question the man, it took them hours to identify him, because he was not carrying any identification.
Hartnett said if the police had AFIS, the situation would have been different.
‘In four minutes the Boston Police Department would have known he was a Level-3 sex offender,’ she said. ‘It is crucial for protecting not only our children, but our police officers.’

Comments are closed.