Device helps Pasco deputies discover true identities

NEW PORT RICHEY - The Pasco County Sheriff's Office unveiled a piece of technology last week that will make it easier for law enforcement to track down criminals.

Deputy Daniel Fenstemacher, a nine-year veteran with the Pasco Sheriff's Office, demonstrated the RAPID-ID check fingerprint scanner, which allowed deputies to make an arrest after the individual gave a false name.

"This helps us identify subjects that are possibly giving us a false name or trying to use somebody else's name to avoid positively identifying them," Fenstemacher said. "How this works is you take someone's fingerprints, for example take their left index finger and put it on the machine, and it takes a picture and send those prints to the computer. If their fingerprints are in the database, we'll get a hit off them for a positive response."

The cell phone-sized device is connected to the officer's computer in the field, where it connects with installed software and searches state and national databases for matching prints. The search usually takes just a minute and when it yields results, officers are given the correct name and criminal history.

"I've been in law enforcement for nine years and this is a great tool to use," Fenstemacher said. "I'm in a traffic unit and I come across a lot of people and sometimes those people don't have IDs with them and a lot of times you feel like they're not giving you the right name."

There are more than 2,800 RAPID-ID devices from Greenville, S.C.-based DataWorks Plus being used in Florida. Each agency that uses the Florida RAPID-ID has their own transaction controller which accepts submissions from the mobile devices. It is used by Florida Highway Patrol, several county and city law enforcement agencies and at jail entry and exit.

The sheriff's office used the device last month to positively identify Nathan Carreras, a repeat offender who gave the name Richard Pecheco to a deputy who stopped him and asked for ID. The deputy used the fingerprint scanner from the field to positively identify Carreras, who had an out-of-county warrant in Hernando for resisting arrest.

Carreras also gave phony identification to law enforcement in 2009 after being arrested and charged with retail theft and resisting a merchant, according to an arrest report.

Deputies said the scanner has helped with numerous cases over the past several weeks.
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