California Police Use Wireless Fingerprinting on Patrol

Biometric authentication is getting a workout by police in Ontario, Calif., who are using a mobile device capable of using wireless communication to match fingerprints from individuals encountered on patrol to a fingerprint database of 250,000 people arrested over a period of years in the community. The Ontario police are currently using the Integrated Biometric Identification System (IBIS) device from Identix to record fingerprints in the field. If a match is found, the returned information can provide name, data of birth, any information on arrest warrants, contact information and agency file photos. "It is innovative," says Ann Punter, forensic manager for the Ontario Police Technology and Special Projects Unit, which designed the system with the assistance of police in Hennepin County, Minn., Identix and with help from a grant from the National Institute of Justice. The IBIS contains a wireless card that communicates over the Sprint network. The Ontario Police developed the database, called Automated Fingerprint Identification System, on its own. Fingerprints can be scanned into the database, which is not part of the state of California or country fingerprint database, from fingerprint cards. The department found an advantage in keeping the database local.