Cops software checks mugshot
May 21, 2007
Post-Tribune staff writer
Attempting to fool the Porter County
police just became more difficult.
The Sheriff's Department has been given
the go-ahead to purchase a computer software upgrade from Tiburon that will
allow officers in the field access to valuable and perhaps life-saving
With Tiburon MobileCOM, officers for the
first time will be able to view an on-file mugshot to verify a subject really is
who he or she claims to be. Officers also will have access to local
information never before available in the field via computer. "It's an extra
safety measure," Porter County Sheriff David Lain said. "And that's the primary
focus, as well as getting as much information out to police officers as
possible." Police view the availability of mugshots in the field as vital.
When a person is booked into Porter County Jail from an arrest from any police
agency in the county, jailing officers take a head and shoulders photo of the
person during booking. That mugshot remains on file in the Sheriff's
Department's computer system. Officers now will be able to view those mugshots
from their in-car computers.
If a person who has been pulled over or is
suspected of a crime doesn't have proper identification, police now may be able
to verify the person's identity. "It's not uncommon for people to lie about
their identity, especially if they're wanted or their license is suspended or
they're under age and have been drinking," Porter County Sheriff's Sgt. Tim
Emmons said. "If we have access to photos, we can determine who they really
are." Once the officer knows who he or she is dealing with, police work can
"If your picture pops up, at least we know
who we're dealing with," Lain said. "Then we can access other things like jail
information and local history that may not show up on a national or state
The national and state information comes
from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Indiana Data and
Communications System (IDACS), respectively. Also available via an officer's
in-car computer, that information is helpful, but it may not be as detailed as
what can be provided through access to the Sheriff's Department's records
system. That's where the Tiburon upgrade comes in.
"It gives us information on different
types of calls and how we've reacted with people in the past," Emmons said.
"It's nice to know if you're responding to a call and you can show we've been
there four times before for similar types of service. It's going to possibly
change the way you'll handle the situation."
The software upgrade will cost about
$50,000. "It's the cost of doing business," Lain said. "We have to stay on the
cutting edge." The funds come through the $1.3 million "signing bonus" from a
2001 contract signed with the U.S. Marshall's Office to hold up to 40 federal
prisoners a day at the Porter County Jail.
"This is yet another advantage of having
that federal contract," Lain said