Florida Spent Millions on Flawed Fingerprint System

MIAMI HERALD — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s troubled 5-year-old automatic fingerprint identification system (AFIS) is experiencing technical problems that are causing delays in investigations and arrests across the state. It has also cost far more to maintain than it did to design and build.

A former engineer for Motorola, the company that built the system, has come forward and claimed the company delivered a product riddled with problems. His claims are documented in internal Motorola reports that he said were never shared with the FDLE.

Documents reviewed by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting detail a series of costly maintenance requests and upgrades needed to keep the fingerprint system functioning properly. The documents also include internal Motorola reports recording accuracy issues with the fingerprint system. If true, in addition to delaying investigations, these problems could mean suspects weren’t identified during system searches, and criminal cases using some fingerprint evidence could be called into question.

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Donna Balancia, Publisher
The Florida Law Journal