NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County Commissioners Court on Wednesday approved a contract between the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office to upgrade its fingerprint technology.
Sheriff Jason Bridges said DPS first contacted his department back in May about an initiative to upgrade fingerprint systems across the state. Bridges said the current technology has taken its share of wear and tear, and has become outdated.
“It’s just, basically, the machines they have out there are just like any technology, it’s at the end of life,” said Bridges. “So they’re replacing that with newer and more modern equipment.”
Modern, Bridges explained, because the fingerprints would now be scanned digitally, rather than taken from ink on paper. As soon as a person is fingerprinted, with the push of a button, the file is transferred to the state, and depending on the reason for the fingerprinting, a person’s state records are updated almost immediately.
Bridges said the new technology would enhance his office’s capabilities.
“Back in the older days where we used to do fingerprints by ink and roller prints and all that, well we’d have to mail them and send them into the state and all that,” Bridges recalled. “Obviously, that could take a month before that information got into the database. Now, we’re talking real-time information.”
The new systems will likely be paid for by the Texas legislature, Bridges said, much like most projects TxDPS undertake.
Bridges stressed how important of a role technology played in the process of keeping fingerprints, which play a significant role in convictions, sentencing, identification, and more.
“I can only imagine this machine. It’ll be newer technology; I don’t know how it will be better than what we have now,” Bridges said. “We’ll see what the new one has to offer.”