A Press Conference was held at 2:00 PM this afternoon at the Baxter County Detention Center to unveil and demonstrate the operation of a new live scan fingerprint system that was recently received from the Arkansas State Police.
On hand for the unveiling was the Director of the Arkansas State Police, Colonel Winford E. Phillips, and members of his staff including Lieutenant Cora Gentry, Rita Gibson, and several officers from State Police District I. Also present was State Senator Johnny Key and State Representative Karen Hopper. Senator Key played an instrumental role in obtaining the live scan system for the Sheriff's Office from the Arkansas State Police. This equipment, valued at approximately $70,000, was obtained at no cost to the Sheriff's Office, and all maintenance and future software upgrades will be provided by the Arkansas State Police. Funding for these systems is derived from the fees collected by the Arkansas State Police when they perform background checks for pre-employment and other purposes.
The live scan fingerprint system allows fingerprints of prisoners, inmates, sex offenders, and others to be digitally scanned, stored in a database, and almost instantly be transmitted electronically to the Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau in Little Rock. This process will take the place of the old style ink and card procedure that has been used for decades. A demonstration of the new live scan system, which became operational in February, was performed by Sheriff's Sgt. Danielle Campfield and a citizen "volunteer" who was in attendance.
In addition to the live scan system at the Detention Center, the Sheriff's Office will also be receiving from the Arkansas State Police an Automated Fingerprint Identification System, known as "AFIS", for placement in the Criminal Investigation Division building. AFIS is the process of automatically matching one or many unknown latent fingerprints against a database of known and unknown prints. This process is often instrumental in identifying a person suspected of committing a crime or linking a suspect to other unsolved crimes. The system is linked to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's national fingerprint database. The Sheriff's Office will serve as a remote latent print site that is linked with the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory. The automated system can provide officers with a fingerprint match within a matter of minutes, whereas submitting rolled and inked prints on a card by mail as in the past often resulted in a delayed response of weeks or even months.
The Baxter County Sheriff's Office will be one of only four (4) jurisdictions within the State of Arkansas to have the AFIS system in place and operational. The Sheriff's Office is very fortunate to have an experienced, retired police officer, Mr. Andy Kluth, who is a certified latent fingerprint technician, working for us as a part time civilian employee. Mr. Kluth will serve as a professional contact between the Sheriff's Office and the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory with respect to the AFIS system.
The Baxter County Sheriff's Office submitted over 100 new fingerprint records from the live scan system to the Arkansas State Police Identification Bureau during the month of February. The system is also available for use by other law enforcement agencies when they have a special need for an expedited response to submitted fingerprints.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff