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Cumberland Co. police use new technology to identify potential criminals

UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Police in Cumberland County said they will save valuable time in identifying potential criminals with a mobile fingerprint ID system.

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed said, "People involved in criminal activity often don't carry ID purposely. We see that very often in drug cases. Or they'll carry false ID."

Police departments across the county are using those devices, and are among the first to use them in the state.

Two thumbprints are taken with the technology and then submitted to the State Police Automated Fingerprint Database and a federal database.

If that person has any criminal history or warrants for their arrest, it will show up. The technology can be used to identify anyone from drug dealers to terrorists.

Upper Allen Township Chief James Adams said, "We're never going to replace human beings. It's not about doing policing better but doing it smarter using technology, and this is just another component of that."

Experts said no private information is stored in the device. Officials believe this technology benefits everyone, from the public to the police.

State Police Trooper Adam Reed said, "Oftentimes when traffic stops or encountering a potentially dangerous person, every minute counts. So the quicker we can get this technology and use it effectively, the better it's going to be."

Currently there are more than 200 of these devices throughout Pennsylvania.