December 28, 2011
Plano Biometrics Company Scans 1.4 Million Cards for State Fingerprint Database
PLANO, Texas — 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. (www.mentalix.com). 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.
Mentalix expanded its office space and hired approximately 15 new personnel specifically for the Group II Hard Fingerprint Card Conversion contract, and the company has additional card scanning projects that involve over two million cards in the pipeline for 2012. “We’re happy to put Texans to work at our Plano offices,” Dale Remmers, Mentalix’s Chief Technology Officer, says. All staff members that work in the card conversion lab must first pass a mandatory criminal background check. “Our workflow model will scale rather easily. Using calculations based on the job size and time requirements, Mentalix has the expertise and resources to expand our card conversion lab to handle very large projects. We will increase our office space and hire more personnel as needed.”
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 1930’s or earlier. According to Remmers, the age of the cards and the wide variety of formats involved also present an unusual challenge. “We’re scanning multiple formats from various police departments and other states,” Remmers says. “Now that we’ve automated the process of handling non-standard formats, we can easily apply the same methodology to other card conversion projects.”
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.
Mentalix has provided similar card processing services for other state agencies and police departments. The company specializes in biometrics software and systems and recently expanded its offerings to include secure card conversion services. With the addition of its card conversion facilities, Mentalix can handle multiple card formats, fingerprints and palm prints, high volumes, and fast turnaround times as needed.
Incorporated in 1987, Mentalix develops FBI-certified fingerprint acquisition solutions for both end users and systems integrators. The company leads the industry with the most IAFIS-compliant fingerprint solutions, and its API products are used as key components in turnkey systems by many of the top biometric developers worldwide. Mentalix recently expanded its offerings to provide card conversion services for law enforcement agencies that may have hundreds or thousands of fingerprint cards on file and wish to convert the hard cards to more accessible electronic archives. Mentalix maintains its headquarters north of Dallas in Plano, Texas.
Alissa F. Payne
(972) 423-9377 Ext. 124