The use of in-the-field fingerprint scanners, as reported by the Seattle Times, is a huge help to police, especially when it can be done nationally.

An excerpt.

“His cop’s sixth sense told Deputy Ryan Abbott something just wasn’t right about the woman at the SeaTac check-cashing business.

“The King County sheriff’s deputy had been summoned to the store by employees who believed the woman might be trying to cash a stolen check.

“She handed Abbott her driver’s license with photo, but a computer check revealed the woman had no criminal history — not exactly the kind of person who would typically be passing a stolen check.

“Still, recalled Abbott, “I was suspicious of her ID and the fact that when we ran the name we didn’t get a (criminal) record.”

“That’s when Abbott pulled out a device about the size of a smartphone and asked the woman if he could scan her fingerprints. Within 30 seconds Abbott had the woman’s real name and learned she was wanted on two felony warrants for identity theft.

“Even in the increasingly computer-reliant field of law enforcement, the MorphoIDent portable fingerprint scanner is being hailed as “the next step in helping to fight crime” by King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. The device allows cops in the field to take two images of a suspect’s fingerprints, which are transmitted, via Bluetooth, to the deputy’s in-car computer, where they are then run through King County’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), a database of more than 700,000 prints taken in the county.”