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King County seeks voter approval on fingerprint system

Fingerprint - Courtesy photo
Fingerprint
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The King County Council recently voted to put a levy on the November ballot for the funding of the county's Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).

According to the county, the continued funding of AFIS is important because the county-run system is utilized by all local and county jurisdictions in the region.

"For 24 years, our AFIS lab and staff have been providing crime-solving tools for use by all of our local law enforcement agencies," said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who is also chair of the County's Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. "This regional approach allows sharing of these specialized technologies and identification services among the county's 39 cities."

For the county, the renewal of this levy should be fairly easy, because voters have approved the levy for AFIS in 1986, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2006.

"Over the last generation, county hovers have had the final word on the value of the AFIS program," said Council Chair Larry Gossett. "With today's unanimous vote, once again we turn to the residents of the County to decide to see if they want to maintain this service."

According to the county, the levy that will be sent to voters would establish a rate of 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a six-year period, starting in 2013. If approved, it's anticipated the levy would raise approximately $20 million a year for AFIS, and would come at a cost of approximately $20.72 a year for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $350,000. The levy money would go toward maintenance and operations, with a part of it also being set aside in reserve funds for an eventual replacement of the AFIS lab, and, eventually, a system that would allow for remote fingerprint capture.

The mobile fingerprint capture feature would allow officers in the field to perform AFIS searchings using a handheld wireless device. With this ability, it's believed officers would be able to perform their jobs more quickly and efficiently.

 

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