NSP fingerprinting goes mobile

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska State Patrol is using mobile technology to quickly identify people on the road.

They're doing this with mobile fingerprinting devices. Troop C has two of the 12 throughout the state, one in Kearney and one in York.

Trooper Todd Suchsland, Nebraska State Patrol Troop C, carries the mobile fingerprinting device. He said he's had it for about a year and a half, and will use it one or two times a day.

"While we're out on the road, if somebody doesn't have their identification with them I can come to the scene, or it can be my stop, and then I can request a print from them. Then we can get information off of them potentially," Suchsland said.

The device pulls two fingerprints from your pointer finger. You simply place your finger on it, and it scans your fingerprint on the spot.

It then uploads the prints to a special computer program, and sends them off to the Nebraska AFIS database and FBI's Repository for Individuals of Special Concern, or RISC, database.

From there troopers can see if there's any warrants for the person, as well as their driving records and any criminal history. It could also pull up a photo or a state ID.

"All the computer technology that we have now before 20 some years ago when I started in law enforcement, it's a big difference. As long as it works right, it's definitely beneficial to us," Suchsland said.

He said a big benefit he's seen to the device is that the information it retrieves can help prepare them for hostile situations. That way they know how to approach the person, and if they need to take precautions.

Suchsland said they don't only use it when they pull people over on the roads.

"We did have off of an accident on the interstate one day, the other trooper was able to identify an individual that was a fatality by utilizing the device," Suchsland said.

He said crime or drug investigators will often call them on scenes to identify bodies.

Suchsland said on a more general basis, the mobile fingerprinting devices help save them some time by not having to take someone to jail to be fingerprinted.

Of course, this doesn't mean you'll always be fingerprinted every time you're pulled over by a state trooper. Suchsland said it's usually only if someone forgets their identification, or refuses to give it.

He said they're hoping to receive more funding to get some more in the area.