BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Judge Lou Wargo’s Ottawa County Municipal Court has streamlined the fingerprinting process for his court, and for all Ottawa County law enforcement agencies, with the purchase of a Livescan Fingerprint Machine.
“With the Livescan Fingerprint Machine there is no ink or card involved,” said Judge Wargo. “It makes fingerprinting fast and easy during arraignment sessions when the court needs to have people fingerprinted.”
While the Livescan Fingerprint Machine is a fixture at the Ottawa County Municipal Court while court is in session, the small, compact machine and laptop computer are shared during the evening and on weekends with local law enforcement agencies. The machine is then located at the Port Clinton Police Department, where Detective Sgt. Corbin Carpenter has been training other law enforcement officers to use the equipment.
Carpenter has also developed a training manual to provide instructions for all of the other agencies.
The use of the Livescan Fingerprint Machines was mandated for Ohio courts and law enforcement agencies by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
“The new equipment allows officers to quickly and easily collect, capture and submit fingerprints to the State of Ohio,” said Carpenter. “The sophistication of the equipment almost completely removes any errors or mistakes that happen during the old way of using ink and paper.”
Better yet, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it gives law enforcement officers a “hands off” system of obtaining fingerprints. With the new equipment, officers and those having their fingerprints taken do not have to touch one another.
Someone being fingerprinted only has to place their fingers on a glass scanning device, producing recordable fingerprints in seconds that can be forwarded to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, known as BCI. This is the state’s official crime lab serving the criminal justice community and protecting Ohio families.
The Livescan Fingerprint Machine will also be useful for fingerprinting all certified teachers in Ottawa County’s five schools. The background check can be a financial burden for teachers, staff and volunteers if they have to travel to different locations for fingerprinting. The Port Clinton Police Department has been covering the fingerprinting cost for all full-time teachers and educators with the Port Clinton School District.