There have been some technology improvements at the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department that will improve radio communications and the booking system at the jail.
The department has recently received an upgrade to its biometric inmate booking system that will now allow the submission of photos to a facial recognition program.
Equipment already in use includes live scan technology that takes digital fingerprints and submit them to local, state and national databases for quick identification of unknown suspects and iris scans of the suspects eyes, a technology that is even more accurate than fingerprints. Iris scans are also stored in local, state and national databases.
Department personnel now collect DNA samples from suspects for certain offenses.
"With the addition of the new facial recognition program, we are hoping crimes can be more readily and quickly solved," said Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay.
Improvements to the dispatching center have also been implemented.
Dispatchers with the department are now using new computer-based dispatching consoles, which offer several advantages to the aging system that was replaced after suffering a recent failure that left officers with no means of radio comunications.
"With a computer-based system, maintenance will be a lot easier," DeLay said. "The new system also has the capability to operate more frequencies and perform more functions than the old system did."
In the past, when the old system would malfunction, technicians would have to drive long distances to the department to perform diagnostics on the equipment. The old system was becoming less effective due to its age and changing technology.
"The process is easier now, with diagnostics and even repairs taking place remotely," DeLay said.
With more channels at their disposal, dispatchers can now perform back-up dispatching for surrounding agencies if necessary. The new system will also be compatible with the federally mandated radio requirements that will take effect in 2013.
"Thanks to the Lawrence County Emergency Management Director Chet Hunter and the Lawrence County Commission, funds were made available for the upgrades," DeLay said. "We are hoping to never have a repeat of the system failing and leaving officers and emergency personnel with no means of radio communications."