EL PASO - Inmates across the southern border will soon have one less way to hide their identities.
Thirty-one jurisdictions form southeast Texas to San Diego will make identifications using IRIS, a device that takes a picture of the eye -- which supporters say is more accurate than a fingerprint.
“This technology is going to be cheaper and quicker, and if we get an immediate identification, I don’t think we would need – we would still have to maintain the fingerprints, but I don’t think we would need to go to those for an identification.”
IRIS doesn’t need inmate information to make an identification. So, if an inmate doesn’t have any personal information or gives police the wrong information, police will be notified.
IRIS searches take less than 20 seconds.
“Were an individual arrested in one jurisdiction, but literally thousands of miles away, he’s wanted on another jurisdiction’s warrant, it’ll immediately notify the jurisdiction, regardless of who he says he is. This is who you got, this is who he really is.”
Police say it’s common for criminals and illegal immigrants to use aliases to avoid detection. They hope IRIS will help better identify repeat offenders along the southern border who give police false information.
“With this technology, you’ll be able to identify the individual under whatever name he wants to use at the time. Whether it’s immigration or any type of violation.”
While the iris is more accurate and easier to search than a fingerprint, police say it likely won’t replace a fingerprint. To put it simply, criminals don’t leave an iris-print at the scene of the crime like they do a fingerprint, and irises have little forensic value.
“Fingerprints will never go away. They have great forensic value. We have a massive database.”
Mullin says IRIS will be in every southwest border jurisdiction by the end of the year.
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