Through the use of asset forfeiture, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office has added another tool to help investigators identify possible criminals.
Last week, members from the sheriff’s office began utilizing two new Data Works Plus Rapid-ID systems.
The technology utilizes a smartphone to run fingerprints through a local database in order to reveal possible aliases, physical descriptions and possibly mugshots.
If police believe someone is lying about their identity, or can’t produce a valid ID, the Rapid-ID will help determine who they are. The device can also be used to help identify a deceased person if needed.
Results are returned almost instantly. When the information is captured by the device, it is compared against local and national databases.
Similar technology for fingerprint identification has been around several years, but the capabilities of the Rapid-ID recently turned some heads at the sheriff's office.
The devices were used during a prostitution sting earlier this year conducted by the Department of Homeland Security and the sheriff’s office.
“We looked at them a few years ago, but technology has improved significantly since then,” said Lt. Col. James Yarbrough. “When we saw how the feds were utilizing the same system, we made a decision that it was the right time for us.”
Yarbrough said the goal is to ultimately have the device for each shift and at the jail – where results from fingerprints can typically take hours instead of seconds.
Each device costs $3,000 and runs on a monthly plan of $40.
Investigator Jeremy Wood said since rolling out the two readers last week, he’s already seen instant results.
“So far, one out of the three subjects tested in the field was determined to be wanted on a warrant out of Savannah,” Wood said. “While we’re the only ones using the technology right now, if an officer from Newnan PD needed to use it, we’re always willing to help out.”