Florida Launches New Technology to Track Offenders

By: Jeb Bush
By: Jeb Bush
Date: Oct. 30, 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL


Governor Jeb Bush today touted the new Rapid ID technology now employed in Florida probation and sheriffs' offices. The system enables probation officers to biometrically confirm the identity of offenders when they report for probation and enables law enforcement officers to confirm the identity of sex offenders and predators during biannual re-registration. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey and Department of Corrections Secretary Jim McDonough today announced that the Rapid ID system is a new function of FALCON, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Integrated Criminal History System.

"This new technology is an important element of the very strong set of laws and measures we have implemented to address sexual predators and dangerous offenders in our state," said Governor Bush. "I applaud the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Corrections for continuing to make the safety of Floridians their chief priority."

The Rapid ID system utilizes small devices to capture one or two fingerprint images which are then compared to fingerprints in the state's criminal history files. The scanned prints are processed through FALCON. The system rapidly returns a positive identification or a finding that no criminal record was identified for the individual. The system also checks for outstanding warrants on the individual.

"Florida is the first in the nation to take this technology statewide and to utilize it to track criminals and sex offenders," said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "This is an effective way to confirm an offender's identity on the spot. The potential for applying this technology to other areas of the criminal justice system is tremendous."

"The Rapid ID system gives the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Corrections one more valuable tool to enhance the supervision and tracking of Florida convicted sexual offenders and predators," said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Jim McDonough. "As we continue working closely together, we will strengthen public safety for all Floridians."

The Rapid ID system complies with the Jessica Lunsford Act. In 2005, Governor Bush signed the Jessica Lunsford Act into law to better protect all Floridians from sexual predators and offenders. The legislation enhanced penalties for sexual crimes against children and directed Florida's law enforcement agencies to better communicate information about sexual offenders between agencies. The law requires biometric identification of supervised offenders who are required to check in with a probation officer and the creation and management of arrest notifications for supervised offenders. The system enables probation supervisors to enroll probationers on a "watch list" to provide automatic notification in the event a probationer is subsequently arrested. The Rapid ID system is also being used by Florida sheriffs to provide biometric identification of sex offenders and predators at the time of re-registration.

Rapid ID fingerprint readers have been installed in all of Florida sheriffs' offices, and in more than 150 probation offices. For more information, please visit www.fdle.state.fl.us.