OCEAN PINES – Officials with the Ocean Pines Police Department are using $30,030 in awarded grant money to fund a new finger and palm printing machine that will comply with federal mandates.
Police Chief David Massey said the new equipment will replace a six-year-old Livescan system, which was purchased before the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) first required palm scanning technology in May of 2013.
The new machine will now allow police officers to scan both finger and palm prints, identify individuals, and search state and federal databases for outstanding warrants.
“We didn’t have that capability of palm printing,” Massey said. “So it’s really a two-for-one.”
Although the Livescan system purchased by the police department in 2010 eliminated the delayed, and often faulty, ink process, Massey said the new machine will also notify the officer if the finger or palm print was acceptable.
“It tells you right away if the prints were done incorrectly,” he said.
He said this feature specifically expedites the fingerprinting process required of camp counselors, lifeguards or any one in direct contact with children.
To pay for the new equipment, Ocean Pines Police, with the support of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, applied for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (BJAG) award in the fall of 2016, months after the External Audit Unit of the Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository deemed the prior machine uncompliant.
“It’s not cheap,” Massey said. “It’s a big financial investment.”
The assistance grant, offered through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to fill gaps in justice systems around the state, awarded more than $1.95 million in funding to 28 recipients in the month of December. The Ocean Pines Police Department was one of two entities in Worcester County to receive grant money.