New machine makes fingerprinting easier, cleaner and ink-free

TUPELO – A new computerized ink-free fingerprinting machine will save money, time and hand soap.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Department has purchased its second computerized Automated Fingerprinting Information System that will be for public use. The new $13,000 AFIS computer will alleviate the use of messy ink and paper for people who need to be fingerprinted for work and various reasons.
Sheriff Jim Johnson said the current fingerprinting system is tedious and prone to errors. On average, the jail fingerprints about 30 people a month.
“With the ink it’s messy and it’s not always accurate,” said Johnson. “Ink smudges, and when the fingerprint smudges, it’s no good. But we don’t know that until we mail it off. When it doesn’t take, it has to be mailed back to the person with the reason it was rejected and mailed back. The new AFIS computer will take care of all of that before the print is ever sent to the FBI database.”
Fingerprints are scanned directly into the AFIS system and are sent directly to the FBI database in Jackson with the new machine, according to Johnson. A similar machine was purchased jointly by the sheriff’s and police departments recently to be used only for fingerprinting inmates.
Aside from saving money on ink and other supplies needed to operate the current machine, Johnson said instant fugitive notification will be part of the new system.
“As soon as we put fingerprints in this machine we will immediately know if someone is wanted by another agency,” said Johnson. “When we do them by ink, we have to mail them off and the person is gone before the results are known. This new system will wipe out that time loop. If we put your fingerprint in the machine and you are wanted for it a crime, it will tell us.”
The public-use machine is expected to be installed and operational in the coming days.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

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