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Biometric Identification: Why is it Important?


Many people believe that in the event of a disaster their biometric information is on file someplace with a governmental agency and could be readily retrieved at a moment's notice. This belief is reinforced by television shows which depict law enforcement making nearly instantaneous identifications of suspects or crime victims. The reality is much more complicated.

The government does not maintain comprehensive biometric records on its citizens. The principle records which are kept, fingerprints of persons arrested for criminal offenses, are kept for criminal identification purposes – to determine whether the person who has just been taken into custody is the same person who has previously been arrested. The fingerprint system is designed to compare two or more sets of inked fingerprints taken from arrested subjects. The use of fingerprints which is depicted in the television drama is an ancillary usage – comparing an unknown fingerprint lifted at a crime scene with the print records of known persons.

For most people there are no fingerprints “on file” which will be suitable for comparison in the event of a disaster. Even if the person had previously been arrested for a criminal offense there is no guarantee that the inked fingerprints are of sufficient quality for a comparison. In addition, a person can be identified by more than just their fingerprints – any friction ridge skin (the palms, sides of fingers, even footprints) can be sufficient. Criminal identification prints generally do not record these areas.

Schwarz Biometric Identification solves the problem of identification in a disaster or kidnapping scenario by making a comprehensive record of all available biometric information. We will record all friction skin, DNA, iris, facial structure, dental structure, in addition to any other identifiable information such as medical devices or implants and tattoos.