High Tech Police State in Apache Junction


March 18, 2007
Apache Junction police going more high-tech
Jill Redhage, Tribune

Little by little, technology is helping Apache Junction patrol officers resemble television’s sophisticated sleuths.

As of March 2, two new devices are operational: LiveScan, for electronic finger- and handprinting, and Mug Shot Interface, which allows officers to capture, store and retrieve mug shots, fingerprints, images of scars and tattoos, and other data.

Police spokesman Jay Swart said the department has just finished gathering all the equipment it needs and training its personnel to use it.

The information in the databases can be accessed by police officers and the courts.

Swart credited police Chief Glenn Walp’s “great leadership” and focus on technology for the developments.

Swart said Walp also is responsible for the department’s use of CompStat, a computer data program that manages statistics so police can identify trends and solve crimes, which was implemented in mid-January.

Swart wasn’t familiar with the cost of the new technologies, but he said the purchases were made possible through a grant to the city from the Gila River Indian Community State-Shared Revenue Program.

The technologies will help officers keep the right suspects in custody, even if they lie about their identities, a news release said. The central databases will help officers link suspects to other crimes they’ve committed.

Because the technologies increase accuracy in identifying suspects, fewer innocent people will be held in custody or sent to jail.

Police also said the technologies mean less paperwork, which means officers will have more time on the streets.