The Bureau of Criminal Identification operates around the clock and is the hub for the Office of the Sheriff of Camden County. The bureau maintains a database of over 200,000 criminal files of adults and juveniles that have been remanded to the Camden County Correctional Facility, the Camden County Youth Shelter, or who have come into contact with the Justice System of the Superior Court of Camden County. Each of these files contains a subject’s personal identifiers as well as fingerprints, photos and place of residence. This information is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week to any law enforcement agency that may wish to utilize our database. The bureau processes over 50,000 criminal contacts into our database yearly.
The bureau is also responsible for entering probation and domestic relation contempt warrants into the National Crime Information Center. In conjunction with these duties, The Sheriff’s Office has entered into an agreement with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the Camden County Department of Public Safety to also enter various criminal contempt warrants into those same systems. In all, the bureau is now responsible for entering over 12,000 warrants yearly – all of which must be maintained and validated, on a continual basis.
With the ongoing evolution of policing and to provide a proactive approach for police to identify subjects, the bureau has developed an ability to provide offsite access to our database. This system, known as PictureLink.Net, can provide immediate access for Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Officers to the bureau’s vast database at their headquarters, or in a police vehicle through the use of a mobile database terminal. Additionally, the bureau has the ability to e-mail photos, fingerprints and any other information that is kept on file to any law enforcement agency anywhere in the world.
In 1996 the bureau began incorporating digital imaging into our record keeping process. This provides the bureau with the ability to permanently store photos without the photo deteriorating over time and it also provides for immediate retrieval of any photo in the database. The bureau now maintains one of, if not the largest, database of digital images in the State of New Jersey.
After a recent investment of time, effort and money, booking photo comparison software and facial recognition is now installed and operational. Reasonable suspicion of criminal activity allows a selected digital image to be compared to the entire database of digital images. This software is not be used as primary identifier, but rather as an investigative tool.
All personnel assigned to the bureau receive extensive fingerprint training in reading and comparing prints. When reading fingerprints for identification and comparison purposes, Sheriff’s officers must be meticulous in their duties. One small, missed detail could mean a misidentification or a failure to identify a subject. All officers also receive training in computer functions, processing warrants and accessing criminal justice systems. Additionally, the New Jersey State Police and the FBI must approve each officer before they can access state and federal justice system files. The bureau’s customized PC network is fully integrated into the National Crime Information Center, the New Jersey State Police and New Jersey Promis Gavel (state and municipal courts, county prosecutors and county departments of corrections information), which give operators immediate access to each.
The Sheriff’s Office has also recently installed a new Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). AFIS provides the bureau with the ability to electronically transmit fingerprints to the State of New Jersey to drastically speed up the identification of various subjects. These could include subjects remanded to the Department of Corrections, persons detained for identification purposes and latent or crime scene prints. The time reduction has in most cases gone from days or weeks to mere minutes. The installation of this system has proven to be an invaluable tool for local law enforcement, and to date the bureau’s ability to process crime scene prints has resulted in many criminal prosecutions. The bureau has also been able to identify deceased persons utilizing AFIS and our officer’s fingerprint comparison skills.
Additionally, we provide information to a host of other county agencies as well. The correctional facility now utilizes us as part of their bail posting procedures – all inmates are checked for any outstanding warrants before being released. We are also available by radio and phone to all the municipal police departments in the county. The probation department utilizes our services when building pre-sentencing reports used by Superior Court Judges. We provide the initial background checks for applicants of local law enforcement agencies and photo line-ups for identification and prosecutorial purposes, and we answer questions about outstanding warrants, missing persons and motor vehicle inquires.
The bureau’s ability to process an ever-increasing volume, along with our many and varied capabilities, have proven to be invaluable to those in the law enforcement community that we serve and assist. We at the bureau know this to be true, since we have been rewarded with a workload that is estimated to have tripled in recent years.
To contact us:
Bureau of Criminal Identification
Office of the Sheriff, Camden County
(856) 225-7672 (Fax)