A Central Iowa police department today unveiled the state’s first high-tech new digital fingerprint system.Des Moines police Officer Tim Briggs trained on the system, which he says was created in cooperation with the U-S military.He says they’ve taken a night-vision scope down to a specific wavelength that lets the gadget see oils deposited by a fingertip. Briggs explains the combination of an ultraviolet wavelength and the night-vision scope makes a fingerprint stand out like a neon sign, so chemicals and powders aren’t needed…and won’t destroy prints in the testing process.This gadget’ll be one of the first things through the door, and they’ll set up a light, scan for fingerprints and be careful to avoid them ’til the prints can be captured. The system uses a digital camera to photograph a fingerprint and a small, portable, digital printer to make an instant hard copy. Briggs says back at the station, the photos of the fingerprints can be loaded into a computer for matching.He says several years ago, computers and digital cameras were foreign to him, but the equipment has been around for a while and now is being adapted to police work. Briggs went to a manufacturers’ seminar to learn the digital system, and is teaching local officers how to use it.
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