BIO-key International, a provider of finger-based biometric identification and wireless public safety solutions, announced that Minnesota deployed BIO-key WEB-key biometric identification software as part of paperless criminal charging, or eCharging system.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which funded the new system, believes Minnesota is the first state to move to an entirely paperless criminal charging process. eCharging allows a criminal complaint to be processed in as little as 30 minutes, whereas the previous process could take up to a full day, especially if officers had to travel a long distance.
The new eCharging system will start in select St. Louis County jurisdictions, and then expand across the county into other parts of the state later on. It is being deployed in branches of the county sheriff office, as well as the police departments of Chisholm, Duluth, Hibbing, Floodwood, Hermantown and Proctor.
Virginia, Minnesota Police Chief Dana Waldron has been using eCharging for about two months and said he wouldn't dream of going back to paper. "It takes a little while to get used to it; once you do; it works beautifully," said Waldron. Leaders said the electronic filing system significantly reduces the time it takes for a criminal complaint to move through the justice system. What used to take days could now take only minutes. "I've signed two of these today already. It probably took me a total of less than five minutes to do that," observed James Florey, St. Louis County Chief Judge.
The eCharging solution was developed by Minnesota-based Intertech, which incorporated BIO-key WEB-key into the document signing process to positively identify the user based on fingerprint biometrics. Integrating WEB-key into the application was a simple and straightforward process, added Rich Franzmeier, Intertech consultant on the project. Establishing the identity of the officer who is electronically signing the document with fingerprint biometrics is vital to ensuring the integrity of the signature.
"BIO-key continues to be the biometric software of choice for commercial and civil applications requiring a cost-effective, convenient and accurate identification alternative," added Mike DePasquale, President and CEO of BIO-key International. "Minnesota eCharging application and the US Federal Courts Probation and Pretrial Services biometric kiosk deployments are two recent examples of government applications deploying the technology to improve security and reduce operating costs."