UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) – Several Cumberland County police departments are the first in Pennsylvania to use new technology.
Officers are using mobile ID fingerprint systems to scan fingerprints. It then shows if the person has a criminal history or an active warrant.
Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed made the announcement Wednesday at the Upper Allen Township Police Department.
Police departments in Upper Allen Township, Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, and Hampden Township, as well as the DA’s office, are using the handheld systems.
The fingerprint scanned is used if someone doesn’t have an ID or if police have reason to believe the person is suspicious or dangerous. The devices usually return results is less than three minutes.
“With the heightened concerns that we have in this country about terrorism, we are as likely to encounter a terrorist in traffic stop by a local police officer than almost anywhere else,” Freed said.
“Oftentimes, on traffic stops or when encountering a potentially dangerous person, every minute counts,” said Cpl. Adam Reed, spokesperson for Pennsylvania State Police.
Each device cost less than $2,000 and was paid through a grant from Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.
No information comes up if someone doesn’t have a warrant or a criminal history of a misdemeanor or higher.
Police say the fingerprints are immediately deleted.
“Unfortunately, in today’s technology, any of you can go on the Internet, and you can buy false ID, get your picture on it with all kinds of false identifying information. Sadly, it’s very popular on a lot of your college communities, but also it’s very popular with the criminal element there,” Upper Allen Township Police Chief James Adams said.
“People involved in criminal activity often don’t carry ID purposely, or they’ll use false ID,” Freed said.
Upper Allen Township Police are the first of five Cumberland County agencies to get this new technology. Allentown and Philadelphia got the devices after that. The grant pays for 237 systems, and eight are in Cumberland County.