Scott County Sheriff's Office implements iris recognition software used to track people

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Scott County Sheriff's Office introduced the first use of biometric technology Tuesday for the purpose of identifying missing persons and keeping track of inmates and registered sex offenders, said Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter.

The two systems, called "The Child Project" and "Senior Safety Net," use iris recognition software to enroll children and senior citizens to make identification easier if they become lost.

Counties in 40 states have already implemented iris recognition software but Scott County is the first sheriff's office in Missouri to do so, Walter said in a news release Tuesday.

The system also helps law enforcement track and monitor convicted sex offenders in Scott County.

The equipment, developed by Biometric Intelligence & Identification Technologies of Plymouth, Mass., works by taking a magnified photograph of the eyes of the subject in the case of a missing person. That photo would then be compared to photos in a national registry of people who have previously been reported missing to search for a match.

An example Walter gave was that of Elizabeth Smith, a child abducted from her Utah home in 2002 and held hostage for nine months.

When police found her, she lied about her identity and her appearance was disguised.

A system like Child Project would then be used to discover Smith's actual identity.

"We thought this equipment was important because it gives my office a new high tech tool to help protect children and seniors in Scott County," Walter said in a prepared statement.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

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