The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency plans to use some of an US$814k grant to upgrade fingerprint systems in police substations across the state.
The US Department of Justice funds will be used, among other things, to supply 10 Pennsylvania State Police substations in six different counties with Live Scan Plus devices, which take fingerprints and input information into a statewide database. Each Live Scan Plus device costs $37,000, according to PCCD office director Bob Merwine.
PCCD Chairman Josh Shapiro told the WESA radio station that in the first quarter of this year, more than 1,500 felons in Pennsylvania did not have their criminal history entered into a state database, meaning their records would not appear on a background check.
“We want to get to a near 100 percent compliance rate, and … the way in which we’ll utilize this grant will help improve our background checks here in Pennsylvania," said Shapiro.
Shapiro said that proper record-taking is vital for ensuring public safety.
“If you don’t have all the information when you’re making an important decision like whether or not to sell someone a gun, or whether or not to hire someone as a teacher, if you don’t have access to all the [criminal history] information, you can’t possibly make the best choice,” he said. “We want to empower those decision-makers … with all the necessary information so that they can make an effective decision.”