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NEW AUTOMATED FINGERPRINT SYSTEM IS SOLVING CRIMES

 NEW AUTOMATED FINGERPRINT SYSTEM IS SOLVING CRIMES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Col. Glenn A. Walp,


commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, today gave a demonstration of the new Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) recently acquired by the law enforcement agency.
 "Since the early 1920s, the Pennsylvania State Police has collected, analyzed and retained criminal fingerprint cards," Walp said. "We are the state's central repository for criminal records, and, until now, the system has been administered, for the most part, manually.
 "The new AFIS system allows the State Police to employ modern automated technology to the present science of fingerprint identification."
 Walp said AFIS has helped the State Police solve nearly 400 criminal cases since the department began testing the system in November 1990.
 "AFIS has proven to be the most significant crime fighting tool available to law enforcement in the past decade," Walp said. "All across Pennsylvania, we are solving serious crimes by matching fingerprints to suspects -- crimes that most likely would have gone unsolved without this new technology."
 Prior to AFIS, it was necessary to already have a suspect before a latent fingerprint could be processed. With AFIS, a suspect is not required. The computer, within minutes, tracks down the suspect from a deposit of fingerprints housed within the memory of the computer.
 "AFIS has led to the arrest of multiple suspects like the one in Pittsburgh, who burglarized homes and often raped women," Walp said. "A latent print was obtained at the scene of the latest break-in, processed on the Pittsburgh Police Department's remote terminal and run against the AFIS data base. Within minutes, a suspect was revealed. He has since been arrested and charged with 46 burglaries, six rapes, 33 counts of receiving stolen property and four counts of criminal attempt- burglary."
 Walp discussed two additional cases solved through the use of AFIS:
 On March 16, 1991, a latent fingerprint from a homicide in Bristol Township, Bucks County, was received at the AFIS remote terminal in Bethlehem. An elderly female had been brutally murdered. Two latent prints had been lifted from the scene, one in blood on a TV remote control and one on a telephone receiver. Within about 30 minutes of input into the AFIS, a suspect was identified. The suspect has been arrested and is pending trial.
 And, more recently, a 1975 murder case in Philadelphia was solved by securing a fingerprint from the cellophane wrapper of a cigarette packet and running the fingerprint through AFIS.
 "These are just three of the hundreds of cases that have been solved," Walp said. "From homicides to rapes, from burglaries to arsons, AFIS is helping to solve unsolved cases and bring suspects to justice, and now that AFIS is fully operational, it's available to all law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania."
 Eight remote latent input terminals have been installed throughout Pennsylvania. In addition to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, there are terminals located at the State Police Crime Laboratories in Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Bethlehem, Wyoming and Lima (Delaware County) to provide service to all law enforcement agencies within their assigned regions.
 During 1991, a total of 164,474 new criminal arrest fingerprint cards were processed through AFIS; a 70,000 fingerprint card backlog was also processed. AFIS is capable of processing 900 fingerprint cards daily as well as 300 latent prints daily, Walp said.
 State Sen. John J. Shumaker (R-Dauphin), a strong advocate of the AFIS system, joined Walp at the demonstration.
 "AFIS, which has been on the job for just a short time, has built up a solid track record of crimes solved and suspects caught," Shumaker said. "With AFIS in place, citizens throughout the state should know that when a crime occurs, the chances of quickly apprehending a suspect are greatly increased. This system will make neighborhoods safer for law-abiding families and act as a strong deterrent to crime. I'm proud to have been the prime advocate for AFIS in the state Legislature."
 During the past year -- the testing period for AFIS -- five homicides, four homicide victims, six rapes, seven arsons, nine drug offenses, 30 thefts, 39 theft of motor vehicles, 228 burglaries, two aggravated assaults, 27 robberies and 30 other criminal offenses have been identified through AFIS.
 The AFIS system cost $7.3 million and will be paid through a master lease program. Currently there are more than one million fingerprint records on file with the Pennsylvania State Police.
 /delval/
 -0- 2/27/92
 /CONTACT: La-Verna Fountain of the State Police Department 717-783-5556/ CO: State Police Department ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: PDT


JS -- PH015 -- 3247 02/27/92 11:58 EST
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Date:Feb 27, 1992
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