CANTON — Lawmakers are moving ahead with St. Lawrence County Sheriff Brooks J. Bigwarfe’s request for $53,000 to purchase technology to collect data about criminal suspects as well as fingerprinting technology for those seeking pistol permits.
County legislators during Monday night’s Operations Committee meeting approved a resolution modifying the 2020 budget for the Sheriff’s Office to purchase two livescan systems. The resolution will move to the full Board of Legislators meeting for final approval.
The two systems, located in the St. Lawrence County jail and the Public Safety Complex, are systems used to capture demographic data, fingerprints, palm prints, mugshots, signatures and scars, marks and tattoos of arrestees.
The systems also provide statewide information sharing that allow participating law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to search data across jurisdictional boundaries, according to the passed resolution.
“All law enforcement agencies have this now,” Sheriff Bigwarfe said. “You used to roll your fingerprints and take your photo and send it to the state. Everything’s digital now.”
The sheriff said the current units they own “timed out” last year, but that their lives were extended by the state an extra year because law enforcement agencies across the state were going through this process and trying to find funding to pay for these units.
“The kicker on this part is, if we order these units before April 30, they give you a $3,500 discount for each unit, so we definitely want to order those before that,” he said. “The other part of this is by the end of this month we put in for a grant. It is called Livescan grant and for each unit, if we get the grant, they are going to give us $10,000 less for each unit.”
The total cost for the two systems is $53,100, with the Livescan unit at the jail costing $25,300 and the one at the Public Safety Complex costing $27,800, the sheriff said. The only difference is the Public Safety Complex has to have an extra module used to do fingerprints for pistol permits, all of which goes through the Sheriff’s Office.
But you have to have these units to operate because when we arrest people everybody has to be fingerprinted digitally so it’s not something we can do without.
According to the passed resolution, the county has assigned $25,000 in the 2020 contingency toward the purchase of the new systems and the sheriff’s office has unspent funds in the 2019 budget that could be transferred to the 2020 budget to offset the costs of the new systems.