A new way to identify

Eric McMurray
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Summerside police gain new fingerprint scanner

SUMMERSIDE – It used to be, if a person was charged with a crime, they’d push their fingers into the wet, black ink of a inkpad.

Sgt. Joe Peters, right, shows Jennifer Driscoll, acting corporal, the new fingerprint scanner at the Summerside Police Services. Peters said the machine with make the process of getting fingerprints and sending them away quicker

If they were convicted, the felon’s fingerprints would be mailed to Ottawa, to the National Fingerprint Database.

But not anymore.

The Summerside police station has received a new fingerprint scanner, said Sgt. Joe Peters.

Starting in July, the federal government has mandated all police agencies to submit their fingerprint electronically, he said.

The new machine will allow police to process background checks quicker.

Peters said any person applying for a background check would go into the station and have their name checked in a police database.

“The problem was, if there was another (John Doe) out there in any part of Canada, with the same date of birth, (who) had been charged and convicted of an offence, they would be flagged.”

The next step would be to have the person have their fingerprint taken, and have them mailed to Ottawa, which could take anywhere from six weeks to three months, he said.

“If you wanted to volunteer for the boy Scouts, you wouldn’t be too happy to wait three months.”

The new fingerprint scanner will also send the prints instantly to the database, a process much faster than mailing, said Peters.

The machine will also provide a service known as “eliminations.”

“If I go to a break-and-enter scene and I find a fingerprint at the scene, and a few others have been exposed to that scene. That should have been there and I want to eliminate them, I can do that.”

The device will also identify people who refuse to cooperate with police, provided their print has been entered elsewhere in Canada.

Currently four members of the police service staff have been trained to use the machine.

The scanner is currently being installed and final tests are being done before the machine will be used day-to-day, said Peters.

“We hope by mid next week we’ll be up-and-running.”

The machine is standardized across the country and only six companies make the devices, said Peters.

Geographic location: Summerside, Ottawa, Canada

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