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San Diego Area Officers Using Facial Scans in the Field

November 11, 2013  | 

California law requires people detained by an officer to identify themselves truthfully, but they don’t always do so. The new facial scan technology being tested in the San Diego area technology may take the matter out of their hands, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.

Police in the San Diego County city of Chula Vista recently arrested a young woman, still in her pajamas, for possession of narcotics. Before taking her away, Officer Rob Halverson paused in the front yard, held a Samsung Galaxy tablet up to the woman’s face, and snapped a photo, the Union Tribune says.

Halverson fiddled with the tablet with his index finger a few times, and – without needing to ask the woman’s name or check her identification – her mug shot from a previous arrest, address, criminal history, and other personal information appeared on the screen.

Twenty-five local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies – including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Border Patrol, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and San Diego State University – participate in the system with Chula Vista.

The Tactical Identification System, coordinated by the San Diego Association of Governments, matches images taken by officers in the field with databases of about 348,000 San Diego County arrestees. The system itself has nearly 1.4 million booking photos because many people have multiple mug shots on record. Officers have been using the system for about six months.

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