Deputies Now Have Quick Way To Check Fingerprints

CLEVELAND - Cuyahoga County Sheriff's deputies have a new hi-tech way to make sure criminals don't slip through the cracks, Action News' Ed Gallek reported.

Gallek went behind bars and behind the scenes to report a story that you could have only seen on Action News.

Bad guys don't always tell the truth, but fingerprints do. Now, Cuyahoga County Sheriff's deputies can tell in seconds who a suspect really is and whether he's wanted anywhere in the county.

Until now, deputies had to check fingerprints by hand using paper cards. It used to be easy for crooks to use false names and get away with it, sometimes even getting out of jail.

"Some of them have slipped through the cracks, not with this though," Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald McFaul said.

McFaul said that the new system checks prints electronically and immediately.

"Normally, it might take two, three hours or days to check somebody out," McFaul said. "Now, they're going to be able to do it in 28 seconds."

To show just how fast the new system works, Gallek asked the deputies to check him out.

After scanning prints of all 10 of his fingers, it took just seconds for authorities to realize that Gallek was a good guy and not in their database.

Deputies said that Timothy Burnette found out the hard way. They said that he came into the jail under a false name and deputies quickly discovered who he really was thanks to the new system.

Burnette was wanted on other charges too.

"We compared his new prints and put them in the system and we got a hit showing two other cases," Dep. Paul Mahon said.

Some other local police agencies have already been using the new technology. In Cuyahoga County, the sheriff said that he had to wait for grant money to pay for the system, but it's already paying off.