Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. (8th Senate District-Merrick) announced this week that New York State has become the first state in the nation with the ability to check crime scene fingerprints against the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) providing law enforcement with an important new tool to catch criminals.
While New York State routinely tries to match the fingerprints of suspects who have been arrested against FBI files, this landmark connection marks the first time any state can search for a suspect by putting a fingerprint found at a crime scene through the federal fingerprint database.
"This new on-line search capability will be a criminal's worst enemy because it will help us catch more criminals sooner, reducing the chances they will prey on new victims," Fuschillo said.
"We have reduced the crime rates to the lowest levels they have been in a generation, but we can do even more," he added. "New York State is committed to providing federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with the most up-to-date technological tools possible to help them keep our homes, streets, schools and neighborhoods safe."
Using the Remote Fingerprint Encoding System (RFES), crime scene fingerprints are scanned into a workstation at the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services and transmitted to the FBI. A fully automated search of the FBI's database is conducted and a list of comparable suspect fingerprint images are turned on-line to DCJS. Fingerprint examiners at DCJS then review suspect images to determine whether exact matches exist.
Working in cooperation with the FBI, NYS is now able to go beyond its borders and conduct fully automated searches of crime scene fingerprints against the FBI's national fingerprint database of approximately 40 million records.
Previously, the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services conducted searches of crime scene fingerprints against its own Statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System (SAFIS) database of two million fingerprint records.
"This cutting edge integrated system will allow NYS law enforcement officials to use fingerprints lifted from local crime scenes to identify perpetrators from across the nation," said Senator Fuschillo. "State boundaries will no longer provide anonymity to these criminals."