Technology helps Northbridge police ID suspects quickly

...The department got the new Crossmatch scanner, which cost around $27,000, installed a few days ago, after a line item in the state fiscal 2017 budget allocated public safety funds to the town. The budget item was supported by state Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury, state Sen. Ryan C. Fattman, R-Webster, and state Rep. David K. Muradian Jr., R-Grafton.

NORTHBRIDGE - On Friday, a man was brought to the Northbridge Police Department on an arrest warrant, a fairly routine event. He was fingerprinted and booked.

Within minutes, documents detailing his criminal record churned out of a printer in the booking area, listing the prisoner’s history of arrests by local area police, which in this case, included the Worcester Police Department. Soon FBI, Massachusetts State Police and U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports would come through as well.

Sgt. Brian R. Patrinelli said if the man had been brought in two days earlier, he would have had inked fingerprints rolled onto cards that would have been sent to the state police laboratory in Sudbury. The ink-and-card prints would be analyzed and then, in six to eight weeks, a report would be sent back to Northbridge police.

“What took eight weeks to come back, comes back in five minutes,” Sgt. Patrinelli said about the department’s new Crossmatch fingerprint/palm scanner. “It comes up with all his rap sheet from across the country. If he’s wanted somewhere, it makes a note on that.”

The department got the new Crossmatch scanner, which cost around $27,000, installed a few days ago, after a line item in the state fiscal 2017 budget allocated public safety funds to the town. The budget item was supported by state Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury, state Sen. Ryan C. Fattman, R-Webster, and state Rep. David K. Muradian Jr., R-Grafton.

The technology will expedite not just criminal arrests, but gun license applications and employment background checks as well, according to police.

Chief of Police Walter J. Warchol said his department was one of the last in the area to update to scanning fingerprints, but it’s an important tool.

“We’re seeing a lot more people that we don’t know locally,” he said. “This way it gives us a quick reference. It’s a time saver.”

Millbury Police Chief Donald P. Desorcy said his department has scanned fingerprints for nearly a decade and found it has turned up critical information while a suspect was still in custody.

“It definitely is a benefit,” Chief Desorcy said, “Especially when you have a suspect that you’re not sure his or her information is accurate. Especially with the mall, we have a lot of people come in from all over the country.”

Sutton police have arrested someone who gives them one name, but when they scan the fingerprints and it links to state and federal databases, “It’s somebody completely different,” Police Chief Dennis J. Towle said. “When we’ve had hits on a person with a fake name, or an arrest warrant, it’s within an hour.”

Uxbridge had an electronic fingerprint system, but it lapsed until it was brought back a year or so ago. Police Chief Jeffrey A. Lourie said that when the scanner was out of service, suspects had been released who police later found had warrants from other jurisdictions.

The fingerprint scanner doesn’t just help police keep suspected criminals in custody while their background is checked. The department is able to turn around a license-to-carry application in “basically days instead of months,” according to Chief Lourie.

“I’m very pleased to have Uxbridge back up in operation,” he said.


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