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Catching a Bad Guy With Facial Recognition Technology

Some of the “faces” on Facebook and other social networking sites are doing more than introducing themselves to would-be friends. They’re introducing themselves to potential criminal convictions, thanks to Governor O’Malley’s support for the DPSCS Internet Technology and Communications Division.

The Governor announced the new technology during a news conference on March 10. With support from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), DPSCS IT experts have found a way to allow law enforcement officers to upload photos into a “facial recognition” software which can help match faces with identifications. Net result: a suspect wanted for a crime can be identified---and eventually charged.

That’s just what happened recently in Baltimore City. The Baltimore Police Department was able to find out who a shooting suspect was thanks to the facial recognition program available on the Dashboard, another of DPSCS IT’s amazing achievements in recent times.

The Dashboard allows law enforcement to pull information together in seconds or minutes from dozens of different criminal justice databases that previously either didn’t tie in, or took hours or longer to access. The facial recognition piece is just the latest step in IT helping police keep up with the swirling technology innovations---and solve crimes in the process.

“Basically,” says DPSCS IT CIO Ron Brothers, “a picture law enforcement has is compared against the arrest, Division of Correction intake, Parole and Probation intake, and Sex Offender Registry photos DPSCS has---about 2.1 million pictures. It is similar to fingerprints being matched, except this uses faces.”

DPSCS has placed a special commitment on improving technology, both inside prisons and Parole and Probation offices and for law enforcement in the field. Livescan machines, Parole and Probation kiosks, BOSS contraband-detector chairs, and, soon, a $15 million Offender Case Management System, are all evidence of that commitment.