From: Police Chief Magazine

By Lieutenant Leo M. Norton, Records and Identification Bureau, Los Angeles County, California, Sheriff’s Department


It is no secret that people do not always tell the truth; the reasons for this are as many and varied as the birds in the sky. Law enforcement professionals have lamented for decades that they are issued a badge and gun but not the ability to read minds. It takes time to develop the instinct to tell the honest from the not-so-honest, and even then agencies do not always get it right. Many bad guys have slipped from the grasp of a peace officer because of their charm and silver tongues or because the officer lacked the right piece of information that would have been enough to put the hooks on the crooks. One county in California has embraced fingerprint scanners as a means to secure that missing piece.

Determining the Right Solution

How a law enforcement professional determines who is who in any situation has recently changed, in a dramatic way, in Los Angeles County. Mobile fingerprint scanners have been deployed widely to various law enforcement agencies throughout the county. Devices are now in the hands of peace officers at the local, state, and federal levels, who are using this tool to overcome the problem of deceptive persons failing to identify themselves properly to law enforcement personnel. This amazing tool means no more wasted time playing the name game or running around in circuitous dialogue trying to verify the identification information given by the detained individual. Many success stories have already been shared, and many more are sure to come.

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