MIDDLESEX COUNTY—Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Freeholder Mildred S. Scott announced plans to purchase electronic fingerprint-recording and verification equipment for five police departments in the county.
The equipment, known as Live Scan, replaces the outdated method of using ink and paper to copy fingerprints, and is used to electronically compare fingerprints in nationwide police data bases, quickly checking for such information as identity, criminal records, and outstanding arrest warrants.
With Live Scan, police officers will know an individual’s background in as little as 15 minutes. With ink and paper records, police could wait as long as four weeks for results, Kaplan said.
He said an emergency preparedness grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will enable the county to purchase Live Scan equipment for the Cranbury, Dunellen, Milltown, South Amboy and Spotswood police departments. Each Live Scan system costs $25,831.
Scott, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee, said, “As county officials, we consistently seek ways to work with our local law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of all our residents. Our purchase of these electronic scanners is one way we can ensure that municipalities have the best tools to protect the public effectively and efficiently.”
The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders is scheduled to vote to approve the expenditure at its meeting on Dec. 3. The Live Scan equipment could be up and running in each of the five departments by January, Kaplan said.
“The benefit in this is the use of technology,” said South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, who is also president of the Middlesex County Police Chiefs Association. “With shrinking budgets and departments having trouble replacing manpower, this is a tool that can make us more efficient.”
Dunellen Police Chief Gerard Cappella, who will serve as the vice-president of the Chiefs Association in 2010, welcomed the new equipment.
“This just makes our job easier,” Cappella said. “We appreciate the effort of the prosecutor and the county for going forward and helping us to achieve this.”
“In these tough economic times, we would not have been able to do this on our own,” he said.
With the addition of Cranbury, Dunellen, Milltown, South Amboy, and Spotswood, there will be 24 municipal police departments, and the Rutgers University Police Department, using Live Scan in Middlesex County.
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