Most criminals depend on anonymity — hiding and even changing their identities to avoid apprehension and prosecution. But “flying below the radar” has gotten much harder for lawbreakers, thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Next Generation Identification (NGI) system. The new system allows the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to spend less time waiting for results and more time keeping Americans and their families safe.
With delivery of NGI’s fourth and final increment by Leidos, the FBI has completed deployment of a system that utilizes advanced technology to identify criminals far faster and more accurately. NGI provides state-of-the-art biometric investigative tools to more than 18,000 local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies across the country, enabling them to identify suspects in less than 30 minutes for routine searches or, in cases involving the “repository of individuals of special concern (RISC),” in less than 10 seconds.
In a 2014 case, Virginia Beach Police were called to the scene of a fatal shooting at a local restaurant. The investigators identified a male and female who were arguing at the restaurant from a video surveillance camera, and issued warrants for the two. Investigators then received a tip that the male subject was travelling to Georgia. After locating the individual, the NGI and RISC system was able to quickly identify that the male was indeed wanted for “homicide” and “willful kill.” He was arrested and extradited back to Virginia.
Increased accuracy and greater processing volume are additional major benefits of the new technology, which utilizes advanced algorithms and processing software to search more than 230 million digital records some of which used to be housed on paper cards in filing cabinets. The digital-age technology allows NGI to process well over half a million transactions a day, and its accuracy on ten-print fingerprint searches is 99.6%.
In addition to speed, accuracy and capacity, NGI also provides law enforcement officials with new tools that help increase their effectiveness in protecting the public. The latest increment, for example, includes a feature called Rap Back, which enables authorized agencies to receive proactive notification of criminal activity by people in positions of public trust, or by individuals under investigation or supervision. Previously, a criminal background check on certain public servants was conducted only when they were hired. Rap Back provides “continuous vetting” of individuals in sensitive positions.
Increment 4 also includes the Interstate Photo System, which provides image-searching capability for law enforcement purposes of facial photographs associated with criminal history, and a previous increment created the first National Palm Print System, which greatly expands the ability of crime scene investigators to identify candidates against latent prints.
Six years in development, NGI made its debut in 2011 with the release of Increment 1, which enhanced fingerprint capacity and accuracy with lower response times. Six months later, Increment 2 introduced the Repository of Individuals of Special Concern, providing officers in the field with fingerprint matching responses in a matter of seconds. Then, in May 2013, Increment 3 delivered a three-fold improvement in accuracy of latent fingerprint processing. And finally, with this final increment 4, Leidos brought FBI’s Next Generation Identification to full operational capacity.
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