KINGSTON TWP. — Township police officers now have the capability of completing a fingerprint identification process alongside the road in less than two minutes, said Sgt. Martin C. Maransky, of the Kingston Township Police Dept.
The police department recently acquired a mobile fingerprinting device called the Evolution Fingerprinting Scanner, a handheld device that allows officers to spend more time on the streets and less time identifying a person of interest.
“We can use this device when we are on the road and need to positively ID a person,” Maransky said.
The Evolution Fingerprinting Scanner is a Samsung device, which is the size of a cell phone inside a rubberized, heavy duty case with a built-in finger pad.
The device is not a phone, despite its appearance, Maransky said and it can only be used to scan either two thumbs or a thumb and a finger of a person a police officer wants to identify.
Most people have a photo ID card or a driver’s license on them, Maransky said, noting often wanted persons do not carry identification.
Within minutes, a dedicated signal to the Federal Bureau of Investigation connects with two databases to find a match and respond to the officer, Maransky said.
Before the mobile device, township police officers had to take a person of interest to Kingston Borough or to the Pennsylvania State Police in Wyoming to utilize the Livescan system to identify someone, he said.
“This (the Evolution Fingerprinting Scanner) is the same technology as Livescan, only it is mobile,” Maransky said.
The department acquired the scanner through a grant from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, Chief Michael Moravec said.
In August, Moravec received an email from the PaCPA offering a grant to obtain the device.
“I received the email and thought, ‘Wow! This is something that we could be interested in,’” Moravec said.
“It was a no-brainer,” Maransky said. “This (police) department embraces technology.”
Kingston and Dallas townships, both accredited by the PaCPA, seized the opportunity and applied for the grant. Each police department received one scanner, Moravec said.
“The grant is good for a year,” Moravec said. “Then the department will have to absorb the $1,000 connection fee and any maintenance costs.”
“What is it worth to identify one wanted person?” Maransky asked.
Kingston Township Police Department received its Evolution Fingerprinting Scanner in November, Maransky said.
Moravec said the department developed a usage policy before officer training began.
Officers were happy to have the technology available to them, Maransky said.
“We haven’t had to use it yet,” he said.
“It is a time-saving device,” Moravec added.