Rotary Club of Clearwater Learns the Value of Forensics
Photo by Dennis Eckel
How valuable is Forensics, in tracking down criminals and bringing them to face a Judge?
Rotarian Phil Beauchamp raised this question when he recently introduced William "Bill" Shade, Fingerprint Records Manager in the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, to the Rotary Club of Clearwater, at a regular Wednesday noon meeting at the Belleair Country Club.
Shade had the attention of the Rotarians as he mentioned Digital Fingerprinting, where ink is no longer used and the fingerprints can be immediately entered into a computer. That information can then be made available nationwide. Instead of filling out fingerprint cards, storing them away in a drawer, prints can now be accessed by an officer, with a laptop computer anywhere in the country, as he\she investigates a crime or questions a stranger.
Even Palm Prints, taken from any crime site, are now successful in identifying criminals. Shade described how his department solved a crime from only a small area of a palm. The Iris and Retina of an eye can also be used to identify individuals.
Photographing the face of individuals now provides an ability to identify criminals or victims. An individual in Florida, whose face is photographed and the information entered into the national database, can then be matched and identified in Colorado, or any state by an officer who is submitting the information via his computer.
Each individual has distinct identification data on his face that even a beard will not hide. Instead of taking weeks to find a match, information is now available in minutes or within a couple of hours.
Shade exposed the Rotarians to new terminology:
Shade emphasized that Police Departments need to buy the equipment for digital identification, and then input their findings into the national database.
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