Florida's new fingerprint technology helps law enforcement

Published 23 March 2010

Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrests 3,000 people every day; checking their fingerprints against Florida’s bank of 16.5 million prints on file was becoming a problem; a new FALCON fingerprinting system, installed at a cost of $7.4 million and in use since last June, has solved these problems

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) new fingerprinting system, FALCON, has helped law enforcement triple the number of fingerprint matches from crime scenes.

Tallahassee.com’s Elizabeth M. Mack writes that a news conference was held last week to give an update on the $7.4 million system that FDLE started using last June. “The new system provides more opportunity to make matches,” said Kristen Chernosky, FDLE spokeswoman. The previous system, Automated Fingerprint Identification System, had been used since 1996 and was nearing full data capacity.

Every law-enforcement agency in our state benefits from the arsenal of high-tech tools this system delivers,” FDLE commissioner Gerald Bailey said. “This is an investment in public safety technology that translates to more crimes solved, offenders off the streets, and improved safety statewide.”

With FALCON, law-enforcement officers are able to review palm prints and partial prints taken from a crime scene. Chernosky said 3,000 people are arrested every day. When their fingerprints are taken they are put into the system. So far, 4.8 million prints are on file from arrests since the FALCON system has been in use. FDLE now has 16.5 million prints on file.

One of the biggest benefactors of this project will be local law enforcement,” said Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki, Leon County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “There’s a greater probability that more of the prints submitted by local law enforcement will find a match.”