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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Illinois State Police reach milestone with 10,000th Automated Fingerprint Identification System latent print hit

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Press Release Date: January 15, 2009    || Archived May 14, 2009
The Illinois State Police today announced it recorded its 10,000th fingerprint identification using the NEC Corporation of America Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). AFIS is a computerized database of fingerprints from known individuals and unknown latent fingerprints from crime scenes. Currently, there are over five million “ten print” fingerprint records on file at the Bureau of Identification in Joliet, Illinois, as well as approximately 12,300 unknown latent fingerprints.

"AFIS has revolutionized the identification process for law enforcement due to the accuracy and speed at which a positive hit can occur," said Director Trent. "Technological advancements in the field of forensic science like AFIS play a major role in identifying those who are guilty of committing crimes and holding them accountable."

The ten print records consist of known fingerprints from individuals arrested for criminal offenses, as well as from individuals required to undergo background checks for certain licensing requirements. These fingerprints can be captured using modern computerized devices or, in some cases, fingerprints are still captured using ink and fingerprint cards. Once the prints are captured, they are sent electronically to the Joliet facility to determine if the person has a prior criminal record. The Bureau of Identification processes thousands of ten print transactions each day, along with unknown latent print transactions.

Crime Scene Investigators and Forensic Scientists process evidence collected at crime scenes using specialized techniques to visualize and preserve latent prints found on items of evidence. The ISP Division of Forensic Services has seven regional laboratories throughout the state that process evidence and enter unknown latent prints into AFIS.

The computerized system compares unknown latent prints from crime scenes to the ten print records to determine if there may be a match or identification. Recently, one such case involved a hit and run incident where the suspect hit another motorist from behind, severely injuring the motorist. The suspect abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene. ISP Crime Scene Investigators responded to the scene and developed a latent print from the vehicle. At the ISP Forensic Science Center at Chicago, a Forensic Scientist entered the unknown latent print into AFIS. The print matched one of the ten print records, and is the 10,000th “hit” or identification by the ISP using the NEC AFIS.

“NEC considers itself a partner with law enforcement," said Barry Fisher, Vice President, Identification Solutions Division, NEC Corporation of America. “Milestones such as this 10,000th identification mark a win for the Illinois State Police, for NEC, and above all, a win for the people of the State of Illinois. NEC is committed to developing ever faster and more accurate identification solutions to help law enforcement solve crimes and identify criminals."

The ISP is a pioneer in this technology and was one of the first state agencies to obtain and use AFIS. Only two other agencies using the NEC AFIS - - Texas and California - - have reached the 10,000th identification mark. Since the 1989 debut of AFIS in Illinois, it has been an effective tool for providing important investigative leads when detectives had no other clues regarding who committed the crimes. To date, the ISP has searched nearly 30,000 cases using the NEC AFIS.

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