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MorphoTrak MorphoIDent

Written by Juan Martinez

One of the challenges facing patrol officers is the ability to quickly determine if the individual they are facing poses a threat of potential violence, is wanted for any reason, or can be safely and confidently cited and released. In the past, mobile fingerprint capture units tended to be heavy, bulky and took precious time to “boot up.” Because of that, officers tended to use mobile units only as a last resort. Participation levels were low, even if the units were available.

Under a joint pilot program with the Prince William County Police Department and the Northern Virginia Regional Identification System (NOVARIS), the county has been testing the new MorphoTrak MorphoIDent mobile identification terminal. When an officer makes an arrest for probable cause and a warrant is subsequently issued, MorphoIDent allows identity verification of the person taken into custody and confidence that the iformation contained in the warrant is accurate.

Using an optical sensor FBI-certified for image quality, the MorphoIDent terminal captures two fingerprint images for each subject. It then sends high-resolution bitmap images of the fingerprints to the MDC laptop via a secure Bluetooth® 2.0 connection. The MorphoMobile application running on the MDC receives the fingerprint images, creates a NIST packet, and sends it to NOVARIS for search. In the case of a HIT, MorphoMobile provides a comprehensive search response from NOVARIS to the MDC.

The HIT response then returns to the MorphoIDent, which vibrates to indicate to the officer that the subject is in the database. HIT responses on the device are displayed on a large 2-inch LCD screen viewable even in direct sunlight. Responses typically include the individual’s photo, name and demographic information. If the initial search results in a NO HIT, the search continues to the adjacent AFIS sites in Washington, D.C. and finally the AFIS site in Montgomery County/ Prince George’s County, Md. The prints are searched against three site databases of individuals with arrest records in the National Capitol Metropolitan Region.

Mobile fingerprint devices, such as MorphoIDent, can assist law enforcement in many situations, including: 1) determining if the person has any outstanding warrants; 2) clearing someone with the same name as another person; 3) eliciting a suspect to be truthful when a “HIT” is returned; and 4) confirming identification of incapacitated individuals. Mobile fingerprint devices become even more powerful tools when linked to the technologies available through the MDC in the patrol car. Through the use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, the mobile device can remotely communicate with any COTS Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled PDA or laptop. A photo and basic identification information received on a MorphoIDent HIT response might be the first part of the data quickly available in the field.

For example, the NOVARIS mugshot system is available through the Prince William MDC. This system contains a lot of additional information, including mugshots, arrest and charge information and arresting officer information. Associated NOVARIS and other ID numbers are also available, providing information for additional database searches.

Data security is maintained through secure Web services and proxies between network exchanges. Connectivity between the MorphoIDent terminal and the vehicle MDC is established through Bluetooth 2.0. Each device must mutually accept requests to connect and provide required passcodes. In addition, Bluetooth Accessibility and Discovery are disabled on both the MorphoIDent terminal and vehicle MDC once a connection is established, keeping the connection secure.

Juan Martinez is the Forensic Terminals Product Manager at MorphoTrak.

Published in Law and Order, Nov 2011

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