The Milwaukee County Jail is using a first in the state technology to identify offenders.
The IRIS system (Inmate Recognition and Identification System) scans the iris of the eye to create a one of a kind digital map used for identification purposes.
Jail officials say no two iris’ are alike, and while the same can be said for fingerprints, they can be altered. The system will help them identify someone quicker than fingerprints which are sent to the FBI.
"With a fingerprint we have to send that out and it can take an hour to two hours to get that information back," said
Deputy Inspector, and Jail Commander Aaron Dobson. “With this iris scan we get into the national registry and we get the information back in 20 seconds.”
The jail has installed six of the systems in the building -- two in booking, two in court transfer stations, and two in the release area.
“No one leaves this facility at all even if they are going to court without an iris scan," said Inspector Dobson.
The system has already worked once since it was installed two months ago. An inmate gave deputies the wrong identification information but the system recognized him as another person in the database from Atlanta. An offender will only be in the system if they have been arrested and booked at one of the 150 municipalities across the country that is using the system.
The information gathered from the scan can only be used as identification.
“It is not a good forensic. You do not leave a digital copy of your iris at a crime scene. you don’t leave it on a weapon, a doorknob. It can’t be used against a person forensically," said Sean Mullin, CEO of B12 Techonlogies, the company that created the system.
The system was paid for from the Sheriff’s capital budget for 2017. Sheriff David Clarke was not at today’s demonstration.
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