Johnstown police to get new fingerprinting technology

The Johnstown Common Council accepted a $27,979 state grant for a new electronic fingerprinting d


The Johnstown Common Council accepted a $27,979 state grant for a new electronic fingerprinting device for the city’s Police Department Tuesday night.

Lt. Mark Gifford, Johnstown’s acting police chief, said a new state mandate took effect in January that requires every police agency in the state to upgrade its fingerprinting technology. Gifford said state and federal authorities are no longer accepting the old ink fingerprint cards, which had been the standard for decades.

“As of [last month] they won’t be accepting those from anyone,” Gifford said. “We can’t purchase the equipment until March 31, that’s when the grant comes into effect. The grant will pay for the electronic fingerprinting equipment in its entirety.”

Johnstown is purchasing the new electronic fingerprinting equipment from a company called Advanced LiveScan Technology. Gifford said he hasn’t been trained how to use the equipment yet, but said it has the potential to make many aspects of police work easier and faster.

“Fingerprinting with ink and rolls, often they get kicked back because you have a defendant, a prisoner, who’s not cooperating, which makes it very difficult. If you have an intoxicated prisoner, that makes it a very difficult situation,” he said.

With the LiveScan technology, taking fingerprints will be as easy and instantaneous as placing a person’s hand on the device’s scanning screen, Gifford said.

The fingerprints will then been instantly downloaded into state and federal databases, giving the Johnstown Police Department immediate access to any charges that might be pending against the individual anywhere in the country.

“With the ink way, we had to mail the fingerprints to other agencies. We’ll be able to find things out much quicker now,” Gifford said.

The resolution to accept the state grant was put forward by newly appointed Johnstown 3rd Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin, who was officially sworn into office by Mayor Sarah Slingerland on Tuesday night. The resolution was her first official act as a member of the council.

Categories: Schenectady County

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