Department of Public Safety upgrades fingerprint database

Two year upgrade of Alaska’s Automated Fingerprint System will help solve crimes faster.

After years of planning and months of testing, the upgrade to Alaska’s portion of the Western Identification Network (WIN) Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) has been successfully completed. Alaska, the first state to upgrade among the eight WIN states cutover to the improved software in mid-November. The process involved over six months of testing and trialing the critical system that processes all civil, criminal, and forensic fingerprints in the state.

The new upgrade will allow Alaska public safety professionals the ability to increase efficiency with an improved algorithm that decreases the amount of manual processing that must occur for a fingerprint to be processed into the system. Additionally, the latent fingerprint processing match rate improved drastically from an average of 40% prior to the upgrade to a superior 70% match rate during testing. The increased match rate will allow forensic scientists and investigators to solve crimes faster.

“This upgrade will allow not only the Department of Public Safety, but other state and local law enforcement agencies the ability to save investigative and forensics time with the new tools and system updates we now have access to,” said Kathryn Monfreda, Director of Statewide Services for the Department of Public Safety. “My staff’s time and effort that went into this upgrade over the last two years will pay off quickly with the increased efficiency that this will bring on the frontend and backend of biometric identification.”

Alaska’s biometric database contains over 600,000 fingerprint records collected from arrested individuals, statutory employment fingerprint submissions, and latent fingerprints collected during criminal investigations. Alaska is also able to access other WIN states’ databases to match fingerprints against and is included in the federal fingerprint database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming make up the Western Identification Network.

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