Mentalix wins card conversion contract in Texas
29 December 2011 11:23 GMT

Mentalix wins contract to digitalise old fingerprint cards

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Crime Records Service has awarded its Group II Hard Fingerprint Card Conversion Project to Plano-based Mentalix, Inc.

The contract involves scanning 1.4 million fingerprint cards from the Crime Records Service archives for subjects born prior to 1940. The resulting electronic files will be added to the state AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database, which will enable easier access to the fingerprint records and reduce the need for manual comparisons. This project allows the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to attain complete conversion of all old fingerprint cards to electronic files and will assist with closing cold cases.

In addition to segmented and cropped fingerprint images, Mentalix is storing full images from both sides of each card, plus demographic data, in EBTS (Electronic Biometric Transmission Specification) format for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Many of the cards being scanned for this contract originate from the 1930s or earlier. The age of the cards and the wide variety of formats involved present an unusual challenge, the company said.

The state’s AFIS database currently contains fingerprints only for persons born after 1939. Fingerprint searches for persons born prior to 1940 are now processed manually. The Group II fingerprint cards for this project phase will add these older records to the AFIS. The Texas AFIS allows law enforcement officials to identify arrestees via fingerprints and also provides them with the ability to compare unidentified fingerprints found at the scene of a crime (latent prints) with prints of known criminals that are already on file. The system is also used by statutorily authorized entities to conduct fingerprint-based, pre-employment criminal history background checks.