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New technology almost ready for Carbon Prison

Published August 27. 2010 05:00PM

The days of rolling a suspect's fingers in ink and then on a card to record fingerprints at the neighborhood police station is going the way of striped prison suits in Carbon County - and the change just may begin within days.

The first steps toward implementation of the Live Scan Booking Station and Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network, which involves electronic fingerprinting and "mug shots," may be taken as early as Sept. 1, according to Acting Carbon County Correctional Facility Warden Timothy Fritz.

The system can also be used by people who are not charged with a crime, but need to have their fingerprints on file for employment reasons.

Speaking at a public Prison Board meeting Wednesday, Fritz said those accused of summary offenses - minor crimes including disorderly conduct, harassment or criminal mischief - may be coming to the county prison in Nesquehoning to be printed and photographed.

"We're looking at Sept. 1 starting to do the summaries," he said. Fritz explained that district judges would call the prison and give an official the names of people who needed to be printed and photographed. The people would then call the prison to make appointments.

They would be charged $75 if they agree to pay the bill immediately. If they don't have the money, a bill of $100 would be added to their court costs.

But it won't be until January 2 that the full system is up and running. That means reconfiguring the prison entry to steer people to the Live Scan area and hiring a part-time officer to schedule sessions.

The county has applied for a three-year grant through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to help offset the cost of fully implementing the system.

The $66,600 hardware system was given to the county more than a year ago by the Pennsylvania Police Chief's Association.

County Controller Robert Crampsie noted that a separate account must be created to handle revenues and expenditures related to the system.

He said he would speak with county Court Administrator Roberta Brewster to make the county has everything in place that needs to be in place before commencing the system.

Police officers are being trained to use the system.

The documentation for the system continues to be tweaked.

At the meeting, Commissioners Chairman William O'Gurek, a board member, said he read the Live Scan policies and procedures document.

His only suggestion, he said, was that the chief of the Beaver Meadows police department is identified as a member of the committee that will oversee the program.

"I thought that may be too specific," he said. "That maybe it could be general - to say a 'representative' of the Chiefs of Police Association, as opposed to 'the police chief of Beaver Meadows'.

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