Sheriff's Office Embraces New Technology
March 1, 2005
Wayne County Sheriff Richard
Pisciotti today announced the start of new technology in 3 areas of
Sheriff's Office operations. The areas utilizing new technology
are Corrections, Criminal Records, and Road Patrol.
Starting March 1st correctional
officers will be utilizing digital technology to capture an arrested
persons fingerprints and photographs. Those digital images will be
sent electronically to the Division of Criminal Justice Services
(DCJS) in Albany, and then on to the FBI.
Digital images will be captured
on a machine known as a "livescan." An individual's
fingers are placed on the glass surface of a scanning device and are
scanned and recorded utilizing specially designed computer
software. The software, which meets FBI specifications, will
not allow unacceptable prints to be captured nor will it allow
fingers to be printed out of sequence. After the fingerprints
are accepted by the computer software, they, along with the digital
photographs of the arrested person, are sent via a secure network to
the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office in Syracuse. From there
the prints and photographs are stored on a multi-agency, central
repository computer, and then forwarded to the DCJS and FBI for
identification. After identification of the prints, a criminal
history of the person is made available on a new secure DCJS site
known as "e-Justice." The criminal history and or
identification information is usually available within 20 minutes
from the time the prints are electronically sent. With the old
system, fingerprint cards were mailed to DCJS and responses sent back
usually in about a month.
With the new "livescan"
technology, fingerprints can know be captured in as little as 5
minutes in comparison to up to 30 minutes with the old ink and paper
method. Fingerprints are captured once instead of multiple
times for different local, state and federal agencies.
Having the criminal history, also
known as a rap sheet, back within 20 minutes is also a major benefit
because it establishes the true identity of the arrested person
before he or she is processed through the criminal justice system.
Sheriff Pisciotti states that the
new "livescan" technology frees up corrections officers to
spend more time performing other necessary duties. It also
immediately establishes a person's true identity, thereby preventing
a person from being booked into the correctional facility under an
assumed name or a wanted person going undetected.
Sheriff Pisciotti entered into an
agreement with Sheriff Walsh of Onondaga County to use Onondaga
County as a store and forward for the fingerprint data. Sheriff
Pisciotti stated that it is much cheaper and more efficient to go
through Onondaga County because Onondaga County already has in place
the central computer system, network lines to Albany, and system
maintenance. Sheriff Pisciotti stated that in these times
of tight budgets, purchasing and maintaining our own system would be
cost prohibitive. Wayne County pays a nominal annual fee of one
thousand dollars to Onondaga County for the use of their system
including data storage and back up. The agreement
with Onondaga County also allows Wayne County Sheriff's personnel
full access to arrest data for several central New York police
agencies, which also utilize the Onondaga County system, along with
access to the DCJS "e-Justice" service.
The Records Division of the
Sheriff's Office will also be utilizing the same new
"livescan" technology. Records personnel will
take persons fingerprints digitally for pistol permit applications,
and other applications requiring fingerprint submissions to DCJS.
After the electronic submission
of the fingerprints, a criminal history and identification
verification check is sent back to the Sheriff's Office from DCJS and
the FBI, usually within twenty-four hours. Sheriff Pisciotti
states that this new system will greatly expedite the investigation
processes necessary for a pistol permit application. Under the
old system it took up to 6 months for the application process to be
completed, mainly due to amount of time necessary for DCJS and the
FBI to handle and process the ink and paper fingerprint cards.
The last area of the department
using new technology is the Road Patrol Division. Sheriff's
deputies now utilize portable tablet computers and hand held scanners
to issue vehicle and traffic tickets. The new system called
"TraCS (Traffic and Criminal software), allows a deputy to
issue a traffic ticket by scanning the driver and registration
information from the bar codes on the driver license and registration
in to the software program on the tablet computer. The deputy
only needs to key in the specific charge and court information and
scan his signature to complete the ticket. This greatly reduces the
time necessary to issue a traffic summons. The deputy then
prints out the drivers copy of the ticket on a thermal printer
mounted in the patrol car. A deputy can issue multiple tickets
to a driver by simply replicating the ticket information already
entered with new violation sections. Accident reports are
also being completed using the same software and tablet computers,
which greatly reduces the amount of time it takes a deputy to clear
an accident scene.
At the end of the deputy's shift
and while at the main Sheriff's station in Lyons, all ticket and
accident data is electronically transferred the main computer via a
wireless network. The data is then uploaded to the New York
State Department of Motor Vehicles and Office of Court
Administration. Three justice courts in Wayne County, Arcadia,
Walworth, and Savannah, are currently testing the system and are
retrieving ticket data from the Office of Court Administration
through a secure network. The rest of the justice courts will
be sent paper copies of the computer generated tickets until all
testing is completed. It is anticipated that within 6 months
all the courts will be retrieving their ticket data electronically.
TraCS is a free software system
that was originally developed by the Iowa Department of
Transportation that includes modules for the electronic collection of
data for all aspects of police work, such as traffic tickets,
accident reports, DWI arrests, incident investigations, criminal
arrests and commercial vehicle inspections.
The New York State Police, in
conjunction with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor's
Traffic Safety Committee, have developed TraCS for use by New York
State law enforcement agencies. Wayne County Sheriff's Office
is one of approximately 44 agencies across the state currently using
Sheriff Pisciotti states that the
TraCS system greatly reduces the time a deputy spends on paperwork
and greatly increases their availability for patrol. The
Sheriff further states that the less time a deputy and motorist are
stopped alongside busy roads, the less chance there is for traffic
disruption to the motoring public and the less chance there is for
injury to the motorist and deputy.
Sheriff Pisciotti also states
that the TraCS system will provide more timely and accurate ticket
and accident data, thereby allowing him the ability to strategically
deploy his limited resources to the highest risk accident areas.
Sheriff's deputies will soon be
using the software and tablet computers to electronically complete
all their police reports and wirelessly download them to the central
computer. This, along with the creation of a central repository
for all police agencies reports, will greatly enhance data sharing by
all Wayne County law enforcement agencies.
The Sheriff added that funding
for all the new technology came from federal grant monies and no
local taxpayer money was used.