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Pinal County Sheriff’s Office To Take Biometrics To The Street

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said the iris identification technology makes signing in and releasing positively identified inmates exponentially faster and avoids the potential errors of ink fingerprints. “Instead of the fingerprints, which can take anywhere from six to twenty hours to check and verify, we’re going down to five seconds,” Babeu said. The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement organization in Arizona to implement iris biometric identification technology agency-wide. Babeu said $30,000 of inmate welfare funds were used to purchase the scanners. The scanners will be used in the prison to positively identify incoming and outgoing inmates and one scanner will be used for the sex offender registry, potentially as a self-serve kiosk, to keep information on around 700 offenders registered in the County. PCSO plans to implement the technology in the field to enable patrol deputies, detectives and SWAT members to verify the identity, and access criminal background and risk information, on suspects using a hand-held, wireless and multi-modal (iris, fingerprint and facial) biometric recognition device operating on a smart-phone. Highlighting the handheld iris-scanning device, Babeu acknowledged that the technology was reminiscent of a sci-fi movie. He said it would only be used to identify suspects without legitimate identification. “We’re not going to be walking down the street scanning people’s faces,” he said.

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