Fingerprint Technology Fighting Crimes

Latent fingerprints have helped to solve many crimes, and now Leon County has the latest in fingerprint technology, a scanner that can record your prints and send them anywhere e-mail can go.

A man has just been released from prison. The law requires him to be fingerprinted and photographed at the Sheriff's Office within 48 hours. His prints are being recorded with a computer called the "Live Scan".

"I love it myself. I was trained on the ink and I was the first one trained on this and this is the cat's meow," says Ian Thomas.

Ian Thomas fingerprints up to 20 people a day with the Live Scan. Unlike the inkpad days of press and roll, you can do these prints over and over again until you get the best print possible.

The Live Scan is not just for folks who are required by law to be fingerprinted. It's for folks who may need to be screened for a job perhaps in state government or working with children.

The fingerprints are ultimately printed out and sent to FDLE, but perhaps the real beauty of Live Scan is that deputies in the field or anywhere in the country can get them quickly via e-mail.

"If for some reason we are in a position where we need to immediately send a set of prints over to, let's say, FDLE or the FBI, we can just shoot it straight down the internet and they immediately have it," Ian Thomas says.

The Sheriff's Department charges citizens $3.00 for a fingerprint session and gives them a copy of the prints when they leave. TPD also does fingerprinting for job applicants. They'll do it for free but they still use ink.