Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 -- 11:30 a.m.
The Dane County Sheriff's Office is still in the midst of a testing phase of new portable fingerprint scanners, and they say the devices are already proving to be useful.
A spokeswoman says since last week the technology has shown immediate promise by helping identify people quickly.
Yesterday deputies used it in a "non-traditional way" to identify a deceased man in a death investigation. The death was not considered suspicious, and police had no way to immediately identify the man. Deputies used the MorpholDent scanner to learn his identity.
The sheriff's office says the scanners have saved a significant amount of time and resources. They will continue to test them over the next few months.
Posted April 15, 2014-- 5:30 p.m.
New technology being tested by the Dane County Sheriff's Office allows deputies to take a suspect's fingerprints in the field.
It's called "Morpholdent" fingerprint scanners. They are like those used in the jail, but these can be used anywhere.
When deputies would normally have to take a suspect to jail to be identified, these mobile scanners allow deputies to take the suspect's fingerprints on the spot, run them through a statewide database on the computer in their squad and, within minutes, get a confirmed identity and a criminal history check.
"It can be out in the far reaches of the county or just simply at a traffic stop on the Beltline," said Dane County Sheriff's Office deputy, Paul Thompson. "I can ask for a more in depth criminal history and even get a photograph if there's one on file with Department of Justice."
In the few days deputy Paul Thompson's had the scanner, he was able to identify a suspect stopped in Cross Plains who was not truthful about his identity and had an outstanding warrant from another county.
"Criminals tend to not give their true names," he said. "[This] speeds up the processing or release of those people much faster."
The Dane County Sheriff's Office has two of these devices, right now just on a trial basis for a few months. Depending on how it goes, they'll decide if they'll purchase them. Each unit costs about $1,700.