“There is, of course, an irony to this, since law enforcement agencies have increasingly been using fingerprint recognition in police work…”
In one answer to the question, ‘Who watches the watchmen?’, biometric surveillance technology could soon be turned against police in Baltimore.
As The Baltimore Sun reports, administrators at the Baltimore Police Department have decided to implement fingerprint recognition for time and attendance tracking, with officers to be required to scan their fingers when starting and ending shifts. The decision comes amid a scandalous federal trial of officers from the department’s Gun Trace Task Force that has found signs of rampant abuse of overtime claims.
As anyone who has spent a lot of time watching The Wire can attest, overtime pay has long been a hot commodity among police officers in Baltimore; and officers involved in or familiar with the fraud tell the Sun that it was frequently used by middle management – sergeants and lieutenants – as a reward for good work. Fraudulently accounted overtime pay would be used, for example, to give an officer who had cracked a case to take a ‘slash day’ or ‘G day’ – in other words, a day off with pay. But managers don’t want a culture in which officers are given extra rewards for simply doing their jobs, and are seeking to implement biometric time and attendance tracking to help change that culture at its foundational level.
There is, of course, an irony to this, since law enforcement agencies have increasingly been using fingerprint recognition in police work, sometimes amid protest from privacy rights advocates. When the BPD starts implementing its biometric time and attendance tracking, some officers may have similar complaints. But as they say, the game’s the game.
Source: The Baltimore Sun
February 1, 2018 – by Alex Perala