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How does the AFIS work?
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Frequently Asked Questions - Criminal Investigation
How does the AFIS work? 
 
When an individual is arrested and brought to the Polk County Jail, they are fingerprinted as part of the book in process. There is no longer a need for messy inks. Their fingers and palms are rolled on a glass plate located on the Live Scan Terminal and a scanner located below the plate reads the information from the prints. That information is electronically transmitted to the Identification Section, where an Identification Technician checks the prints for quality control.

After checking the prints on the AFIS Verification Station, the technician transmits the information to the AFIS, where the fingerprints are search against a database of over 5 million fingerprint cards (over 50 million individual fingerprints). Within minutes, the AFIS returns information on the 3 closest matches to the prints searched. The technician compares the known prints of the person arrested, to the prints received from AFIS, to determine if they have a previous arrest, an active warrant or are providing false identifying information.

The AFIS Latent Station is utilized by the Latent Print Examiner, who can scan a latent (unknown) print, lifted from or developed on a surface and plot the identifying minutia. The latent print is searched against the known fingerprints in the AFIS database and hopefully, and “AFIS HIT” will be generated. An AFIS HIT occurs when the examiner identifies the latent print to the known prints of an individual, creating suspect information for the detectives.

Arrest prints and latent prints are also searched in the AFIX (an in house, county wide database) and IAFIS (a national database that has access to fingerprint files throughout the country).

The Equipment

LSS 3000

The LSS 3000 Live Scan Machines have been installed at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Main Booking, the Jail Annex and the South County Jail, as well as the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC).

Through a newly developed suite of software tools, the LSS 3000 ensures error free, high quality, rapid input of images directly to the AFIS database and output of the highest quality tenprint cards. The LSS 3000 provides a single point of entry for all data associated with the booking process. Demographic data may be entered through a standard keyboard or descriptive data may be extracted directly from arrest and criminal history data held on a Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system that has been interfaced with the AFIS.

The LSS 3000 Live Scan Machine is designed to perform:

  • High Quality Fingerprint Image Capture
  • High Quality Palm Print Image Capture
  • Automatic Minutiae Extraction
  • Automatic Classification
  • Hand Placement Check
  • Finger Duplicate Check
  • WSQ Compression for Image Transmission
  • Output Tenprint Cards
  • Conformance to FBI/IAFIS Specifications

Optional Functionality:

  • Mugshot Capture
  • NCIC Interface
  • CCH Interface
  • Two-Finger Search
  • Single-Finger Verification

 LSS 3000 Latent Print Workstation

A LSS 3000 Latent Print Workstation has been installed at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Identification Section.

The LSS 3000 software is designed to provide highly user-friendly latent entry capabilities. The station is designed to perform latent print scanning, image encoding, and review of latent search results.

The LSS 3000 is designed to perform:

  • Latent Input
  • Assign and Edit Print Classification, Minutiae, Core, and Delta
  • Initiate Latent Searches
  • Verify Latent Hits
  • Disposition Case

Search Types Initiated:

  • Latent to Latent
  • Latent to Tenprint
  • Latent to Latent and Tenprint

LSS 3000 Verification Station

The LSS 3000 Verification Station has been installed at the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Identification Section.

The Verification Station is designed to let the operator select a case or range of cases and compare the search prints to the file print results from the database, determine whether or not a match has been found, and disposition the case.

The Verification Station is designed to:

  • Verify Tenprint Hits
  • Verify Latent Hits
  • Disposition Case

Live Scan/AFIS

The science of fingerprint identification began in the late 1890s and early 1900s. From its roots in England, it has spread to all parts of the world. In the early days, it was relativity simple to classify the inked fingerprint cards and retrieve them from a file with the Henry Classification System. As the volume of fingerprint cards increased, it became more difficult to file and retrieve the cards, and extensions to the Henry System were implemented. As the size of the files continued to increase, the time devoted to classifying and filing fingerprint cards began to take a toll. Some fingerprint bureaus stopped classifying and filing cards and relied on larger bureaus to obtain the required information. In 1980, the science of fingerprints was introduced to the computer age. The first automated fingerprint systems were installed in several law enforcement agencies around the country. The city of Miami was one of the first to use the automated system. It proved its value when the murderer of a police officer was identified via the automated system within hours of the murder. Automated fingerprint systems are now used by many agencies in most areas of the country.

 

Live Scan: The latest addition

Live Scan is relatively new to the system. This is a method of getting fingerprints into the system without the need for taking inked fingerprints. A Live Scan fingerprint console contains a fingerprint scanner, printer and the software needed to enter the fingerprints directly into the system. An arrested person’s fingers are rolled on a glass platen with a scanner below the glass. The scanner provides an image of the print on a monitor at the console. The operator of the console can view the print. If the scan is not good, the operator can erase and recapture the print. Once all 10 fingers are acceptable, the prints may be searched against the inked fingerprint database of 1.3 million persons at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine the identity of the person. If the person’s prints have previously been entered into the system, a latent fingerprint examiner can verify the person’s identity with the older print. If the person has given a false name, it would be revealed at this time.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office currently has a Henry System fingerprint file with fingerprint cards of approximately 170,000 persons. Many of these fingerprint cards are already included in the F.D.L.E. database, as F.D.L.E. started scanning inked prints in 1986. Any good quality fingerprint card submitted since 1986 should have been entered. In a joint project with F.D.L.E. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office will be installing both Live Scan and AFIS equipment during the first half of 1997.The Live Scan equipment will be placed in the main booking in Bartow, the Lakeland Police and the East Region Headquarters in Lake Wales. AFIS equipment and Live Scan equipment will be installed in the Identification Office in Bartow. This will provide the P.C.S.O. will the capability of rapidly identifying an arrested person and of searching unidentified crime scene prints within hours of collecting the prints. Also, in place of doing a very time consuming manual search of the Henry System with 170,00 persons, an automated search of the F.D.L.E. files will include 1.3 million persons and take much less time.

Biometric Live Scan/AFIX: The latest addition

Live Scan has been used by the Polk County Sheriff Office since 1997 however the new LSS 3000 Live Scan Machines, installed in 2006, can be used to capture palm prints. This is a method of scanning fingerprints and palm prints into the system without the use of printer’s ink. The new LSS 3000 Live Scan machine contains a fingerprint scanner, printer and the software needed to enter the fingerprints and palm prints directly into the database. An arrested person’s fingers and palms are rolled on a glass platen with a scanner below the glass. The scanner provides an image of the print on a monitor at the console. The operator of the console can view the print. If the scan is not good, the operator can erase and recapture the print. Once all 10 fingers and two (2) palms are acceptable, the prints may be searched against fingerprint database of 5.3 million persons at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine the identity of the person. If the person’s prints have previously been entered into the system, an Identification Technician and/or a Latent Print Examiner can verify the person’s identity with the older print. If the person has given a false name, it would be revealed at this time.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office also has an AFIX Tracker Automated Identification System which is a Polk County only database presently containing finger and palm prints of over 126,446 persons. This system allows for the searching of latent palm prints found at the scene of crimes a capability not yet possible with State or Federal automated search databases.  

The Biometric Live Scan/AFIS Project

The New Biometric Live Scan/AFIS project is a joint venture between Printrak Motolora and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. F.D.L.E. to provide a more comprehensive identification system which will include the use of friction skin (finger and palms), photographs (mugshots), mobile rapid identification units in patrol vehicles, two fingerprint scanners in detention and the courts.  This capability upgrade is scheduled to be implemented in the January to March 2009 time frame.

In Summary

When a person is arrested in Polk County, their fingerprints  and palm prints will be scanned on the Live Scan Machines located in the Booking a the Polk County Sheriff Office. The prints will then be routed to the Identification Section of the Sheriff’s Office where a quality control check will be made. After the quality control check the prints will be searched against the 5.3 million persons in the fingerprint database at F.D.L.E. If the person fingerprints are in the database a reply will be sent to the verification station to verify the identification. This process will eliminate the use of alias’s by criminals in many cases and it will help to identify arrested persons with outstanding warrants.

With the AFIS system, major case investigations such as homicide and sexual battery will be improved by providing rapid search capability on the latent prints from the crime scene. Rapid identification of crime scene prints will save time and increase the efficiency of the investigators. The routine use of AFIS to search crime scene prints in burglary, forgery and other cases will develop suspects in cases with no leads, thereby assisting investigators in clearing cases and arresting criminals.