Leading fingerprint technology comes to south Georgia - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Leading fingerprint technology comes to south Georgia

August 14, 2006

Thomas County-  Fingerprint technology featured on the Discovery Channel and CSI could help solve crimes in south Georgia. The Thomas County Sheriff's office is the first in Georgia to receive The Vacuum Metal Deposition System. The system will help identification technicians solve old crimes and narrow the list of potential suspects.

What's inside this box could help investigators solve the previously unsolvable.

"It's going to help us with items of evidence that we've had problems developing latent fingerprints on them," said Lt. Glenn Hutchinson, Identification Supervisor.

They're the first statewide to receive The Vacuum Metal Deposition System. The machine uses gold and zinc to enhance fingerprints on surfaces, like plastic.

"It works extremely well on plastics, on items that have been submerged in water, or exposed to moisture," said Hutchinson.

Investigators will also have a larger database of criminals to search, with the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

"It allows us to search the FBI fingerprint database which contains some 50 million fingerprint cards," said Hutchinson.

Equipment like the IAFIS will help narrow down the list of suspects when technicians sit down to look at prints.

"Florida and Alabama are both very much in play when it comes to dealing with the crime," said Sheriff Carlton Powell, Thomas County.

With more than 18 departments counting on technicians to properly identify criminals.

"If we can solve the crimes here in this county or in adjoining counties, it takes criminals off the streets," said Powell.

The new technology will help get convictions and take more criminals off the street.

The $55,800 VMDS will be funded by a 50/50 grant through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. The IAFIS is funded through a state grant.

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