It's pretty much understood that the fingerprint is a unique identification tool for law enforcement but with today's technological advancements it's also a slow and somewhat "outdated" method thanks to the creation of Iris Biometric technology.

That very technology was showcased today at the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department with support from the Maine Department of Corrections, other county law enforcement and jail personnel, and the company behind the creation.

Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross hosted a press conference to explain the benefits behind the iris scan technology, which the sheriff's department started using originally to ID children so they could be reunified with their parents in the event of an abduction.

Ross said that the technology is about 10 thousand dollars and is currently being used by the Penobscot County, Somerset County, York County and Two Bridges Regional jails.

"Beyond that, there are well over 500 other correctional facilities in the United States reaching 47 different states that are participants in the Iris scan technology," explained Ross.  "So when we enter somebody it goes and searches those iris scans of previous enrollment, and within seconds it tells us if the person we have has been previously enrolled, and if so, under what name," Ross said.

Sheriff Ross is a fingerprint examiners and he say this technology is far superior and much faster than fingerprint information and it provides more information that can be shared instantly such as whether or not the offender is a sex offender in another state or registered as a juvenile.

The technology is designed by BI2 Technologies and Sheriff Ross says he's hopeful that when the state gets the county jail budgets worked out that they look at expanding this technology statewide.

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