Alaska has officially updated its Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS). The state’s biometric database has more than 600,000 fingerprints, gathered during criminal arrests and during hiring for select jobs that require biometric registration. The database also includes latent prints pulled from various crime scenes over the years.
According to Alaska’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), the improved fingerprint ABIS is more efficient than its predecessor, and will also reduce the administrative burden on state employees since it eliminates much of the manual processing that was necessary under the old system. It is also much better at identifying latent prints, with the processing match rate jumping from 40 percent to 70 percent during six months of testing.
“This upgrade will allow not only the Department of Public Safety, but other state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to save investigative and forensics time with the new tools and system updates we now have access to,” said DPS Director of Statewide Services Kathryn Monfreda. “My staff’s time and effort that went into this upgrade over the last two years will pay off quickly with the increased efficiency that this will bring on the frontend and backend of biometric identification.”
Alaska completed the transition in November, at the end of the six-month trial period. In doing so, it became the first member of the Western Identification Network (WIN) to switch over to an upgraded system. The Western Identification Network consists of eight states (Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, in addition to Alaska) that share forensic databases with one another to speed up criminal investigations.
In 2018, Alaska’s Division of Motor Vehicles updated its driver’s licenses through a partnership with Gemalto, which has since been acquired by Thales. The Western Identification Network has previously leveraged NEC’s Integra ID 5 fingerprint matching solution to help solve cold cases in the region.
Source: Alaska Native News
January 4, 2020 – by Eric Weiss