On Aug. 11 Missouri Director of Public Safety Mark James announced that Missouri used Department of Homeland Security 2005 Law Enforcement Terrorism Protection Program funds to purchase 125 LiveScan fingerprinting systems for Missouri police and sheriffs' departments.
Chief Deputy Eric King and reserve officer and dispatcher Lee Simmons are the only officers presently trained to operate the new fingerprinting system. King said the Criminal History Service Unit of the Missouri Highway Patrol trained him and Simmons.
"All the officers who work in the sheriff's department will be trained to use the machine, as well as officers with the Alton Police Department," King said.
King said the new machine will speed things up in his department. "Within 15 minutes we will have all the information we need regarding a subject we have arrested," the deputy said.
He said LiveScan will also help the quality of the fingerprints.
"This updated fingerprint collection process will replace the traditional ink pad system, allowing officers to scan and digitize an individual's entire handprint. These systems will tremendously help Missouri law enforcement agencies to identify criminals and terrorists who otherwise would escape detection under the old method," James said.
With this system, officers can take fingerprints quickly to check them against existing fingerprint databases, which compare the locally obtained prints with those of wanted persons, including terrorists, while the person is still in custody.
In the traditional system, fingerprints were submitted by mail for comparison and the return of important information was not timely. The new system is also portable and can be quickly relocated to scenes of catastrophic emergencies.
The Sheriffs Association and the Missouri Police Chiefs Association helped develop a priority list of recipients for this system totaling 125 jurisdictions. The LiveScan purchases require the police and sheriff departments to incur all yearly maintenance costs for the systems.
SEMA and DPS worked with the Missouri Office of Administration to obtain a contract for the LiveScan system and maintenance. The savings generated by using the state contract allowed Missouri to purchase LiveScan units for more jurisdictions as compared to each jurisdiction purchasing the LiveScan units.