King County Mobile ID – Implemented, Making a Difference!

A new handheld device is helping law enforcement personnel get identification results quickly in the field, improving the safety of our communities.

Handheld Mobile ID devices allow law enforcement to scan fingerprints in the field and search county, state and federal databases for matches in a matter of minutes. It’s an important tool when knowing a person’s true identity can impact critical decisions.

Officer Kevin Bateman of the Kent Police Department shared one example with KCTV recently. “We had a hit-and-run, but the guy came back, and all he had was a very poor representation of an Ecuadorian passport to identify himself. So, we run the name, get nothing, run the prints, comes back a totally different name.”

“He’d actually been deported, had outstanding warrants, he’d been arrested by DEA for selling heroine,” said Bateman. “If they’re lying about their name, it’s usually for a reason. They’re either wanted for something, they’re trying to avoid something, or they’re hiding something.”

Police call it “the name game,” giving a false identity to an officer. One purpose of the Mobile ID project is to allow for the quick identification of arrested individuals – preventing the wrongful release of those using false names.

The Mobile ID project is part of the County’s levy-funded regional Automated Fingerprint Identification System program.

Patty Klopp is an AFIS program manager with the King County Sheriff’s Office, and said, “If they’ve stopped a subject, and that person is playing the name game, or they don’t have any ID on their person… if they really needed to identify that person, that would require a trip to another location to take their fingerprints on the Livescan, submit them, and that process could take hours.”

With Mobile ID, that is no longer the case for officers throughout King County’s 39 cities and unincorporated areas. “From day one, they love it!” said Klopp.

“Every police officer in America should have one!” said King County Sheriff Deputy Vik White. More than 1,100 officers in King County have been trained to use the devices, and nearly 250 of the 260 devices purchased have been deployed.

For more information, view the recent KCTV video on the Mobile ID program or read the 2015 King County regional AFIS Annual Report (PDF) available at www.KingCounty.gov/AFIS.