Arapahoe wins federal grant for biometric ID system
by Dave Young
Arapahoe County will become the first law enforcement agency in Colorado to begin identifying criminals, missing children and seniors using biometric analysis of the human iris.
A technician from the software and hardware developer demonstrated how their device analyzes the iris, which has 235 identifying points of reference, versus a fingerprint’s 65.
“Fingerprints change but irises stay stable throughout your life,” said Patricia Lawton of Biometric Intelligence and Identifying Technologies, “Which is why it’s a great biometric to identify somebody with.”
Lawton helped develop this new technology application.
She said the iris is 12 times more reliable for identification than a fingerprint.
A National Sheriff’s Association technology grant allows Arapahoe County to be first in the state to apply it to law enforcement.
A deputy helped us demonstrate how it works while Lawton scanned his eyes.
“He won’t tell us who he is,” she said as the deputy held a digital scanner in front of his face and images of his two eyes revealed on a laptop computer screen.
“The camera’s taking a digital photograph of his eyes, the saturation the focus the quality the camera’s talking to him telling him whether or not he’s in range,” Lawton said as on-screen graphics illustrated each item she described.
“In six seconds the information has come back that this is who he is,” she said as a photo image of the deputy appeared on the screen.
The developers say in government studies so far, with more than two million cross matches, there’s never been a false positive with their device.
After initial testing, Arapahoe County will share the technology with other law enforcement agencies across the state who will eventually share criminal and inmate ID records.
“Particularly after we’ve done it for a period of time after a year,” said Arapahoe Sheriff Grayson Robinson, “We will have upwards of 20-thousand inputs into this database.”
Robinson said it will also be used to help track missing kids and seniors who’ve been registered by family members.
“We see this as the future,” said developer Lawton, “This will be the first step when you come in, we’ll match your iris to your records and your records will come up. “
A record that’s impossible to fake.