New Technology Helps Ocean Pines Police Quickly Identify Suspects

The Ocean Pines Police Department is set to receive a $30,030 grant from the state of Maryland for a technology upgrade that allows officers to quickly identify suspects involved in criminal actions. Officers are gaining the upper hand with the assistance of a new finger and palm printing machine.

According to the Ocean Pines Police Department, law enforcement agencies indicate that at least 30 percent of the prints lifted from crime scenes – from knife hilts, gun grips, steering wheels and window panes – are of palms, not fingers. For this reason, capturing and scanning latent palm prints is becoming an area of increasing interest among the law enforcement community, including the Ocean Pines Police Department.

An upgraded fingerprinting system, which has been recently installed, now helps to increase officer efficiency.

“In addition to identifying the individual, it also quickly searches state and federal criminal history databases for warrants that may still be in effect,” said Ocean Pines Police Chief David Massey. “Automation eliminates the old messy ink procedures, and accurately tells an officer that the print is acceptable, or whether a new re-print is necessary.”

On April 6, 2016, an audit of the former fingerprint machine was conducted by the External Audit Unit of the Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository. The audit revealed Ocean Pines Police Department was not in compliance with submitting palm prints. The department had purchased the Livescan system in 2010, when Livescan did not include a palm reader because palm readers were not mandated at that time. The mandate to capture palm prints in Maryland was enacted back in May 2013 by the FBI.

“This machine will also enable members from our Sheriff’s Office, who may make an arrest nearby Ocean Pines, to utilize our machine to enter suspect information, thereby freeing them from a lengthy journey back to Snow Hill,” said Chief Massey. “The cooperation of our Sheriff is supporting our grant was a factor in the approval process.”

Ocean Pines is the largest year-round community in Worcester County. The Ocean Pines Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency for the Ocean Pines community, having mutual aid agreements with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police. The police department consists of 15 sworn officers, one (1) part-time sworn officer, four (4) full-time civilians and three (3) part-time civilian support staff. The Ocean Pines Police Department responded to 10,588 calls for service in 2015.

The community of Ocean Pines was founded in 1968 and is currently home to approximately 12,000 year-round residents according to the 2010 Census. In the summertime, May through October, the estimated seasonal population swells to over 25,000 residents and vacationers.

About The Grant

Governor Larry Hogan had announced the recipients of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, or BJAG awards. The recipients of the BJAG awards support a broad range of state and local criminal justice initiatives critical to Maryland’s ultimate goal of safe communities. Funds are intended to close gaps in services related to preventing violent crime, assisting crime victims, enforcement, prosecution, adjudication, detention and rehabilitation.

For more information and to set up an interview with the Police Chief, contact Denise Sawyer, director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Ocean Pines Association, at (410) 641-7717 ext. 3006 or dsawyer@oceanpines.org.

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