LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (U.S. Marshals) - The U.S. Marshals Service partners with the FBI's Next Generation Identification Program as the first federal law enforcement agency to pilot the use of mobile fingerprinting devices capable of exposing a fugitive's true identity in minutes and providing another level of protection for law enforcement.
Many times wanted fugitives use aliases or lie about their true identity when they come in contact with law enforcement. The mobile fingerprinting devices allow deputy U.S. marshals and task force officers to fingerprint individuals in the field to confirm their identities and determine if they are fugitives from the law.
"These devices not only strengthen our ability to protect the public," Assistant Director William D. Snelson, head of the U.S. Marshals Investigative Operations Division said. "They also provide another level of security for our deputies and task force officers, who receive instant feedback on the potential threat a subject poses."
The Marshals Service deployed the devices in Little Rock and 14 other of its 94 district offices and all seven of its regional fugitive task forces across the country in June. After just three months, use of the devices resulted in significant arrests.
The Eastern Arkansas Fugitive Task Force has used this device successfully on numerous occasions. While conducting a recent fugitive investigation in Conway County Arkansas, members of the task force located a residence occupied by a fugitive and several other individuals. While utilizing the Mobile Fingerprint Device to obtain information from the other occupants of that address, it was discovered that one individual had given false information to law enforcement regarding his identity. Minutes after that subject was fingerprinted, the Mobile Fingerprint Device indicated he was wanted out of the state of California for felony residential burglary charges. He was immediately taken into custody and later extradited to California.
On Sept. 11, Philadelphia police contacted the U.S. marshals about a subject who identified himself during a traffic stop as Jose Santiago with a birthdate of Sept. 27, 1987. When authorities ran
Santiago's information for warrants, an individual named Jose Santiago-Santiago with a birthdate of Sept. 25, 1989, resulted. Santiago-Santiago was wanted for murder and weapons violations in Puerto Rico since January 2011. Santiago's responses during questioning and a picture in the USMS database weren't enough to identify both men as one and the same.
The U.S. marshals scanned his fingerprints using a mobile fingerprinting device to assist Philadelphia homicide investigation. Within one minute, the system positively identified Santiago as the alleged murderer Santiago-Santiago wanted in Puerto Rico. The mobile scanner provided biometric information in the field almost instantaneously rather than having to wait to get to a jail facility booking station.
The Marshals Service built an information technology server dedicated to this pilot effort. Through its server, the agency established a connection to the FBI's Repository of Individuals of Special Concern, a database containing the information of wanted persons, sex offender registry subjects, known or suspected terrorists, and other persons of special interest.
When a deputy fingerprints a subject in the field, the device sends a query directly to the RISC database. In minutes or even seconds, the deputy receives a response providing vital information about the individual. RISC only includes wanted persons associated with a fingerprint, but deputy marshals use additional tactics and resources to verify a person's identity.
"Since many fugitives do not carry identification or attempt to elude law enforcement by providing false information, this device and technology will allow our deputies to readily identify and arrest wanted fugitives," said Clifton Massanelli, the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The U.S. Marshals Service will seek to expand the use of the mobile fingerprint devices to its other district offices next year.