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FINGERING FUGITIVES
An International Law Enforcement Network at Work

05/02/05

International Fingerprint graphicEarly last year, a single mother was brutally beaten and stabbed to death in her home in Ontario, Canada. A suspect was quickly identified, but he had disappeared without a trace. Until two months ago, when he committed one crime too many...

Turns out, this past February 26, police officers in Fraser, Michigan, happened to arrest a man for shoplifting. The man said his name was "Boja Fatmir." The police sent us his fingerprints to verify his identity and to see if he had a previous criminal history.

So we ran a search in our Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System—a state-of-the-art digital warehouse containing more than 49 million criminal records and fingerprints from suspects all over the world. Bingo! We quickly found that "Boja Fatmir" was actually the alleged murderer in Canada. Within 20 minutes, we notified authorities in both Michigan and Canada of the match.

A criminal justice fluke? Nope, these kinds of matches happen all the time. After all, our Criminal Justice Information Services Division processes as many as 85,000 fingerprint/criminal history requests a day.

Here are two more recent success stories:

Death in the Desert
On February 10, the Conyers, Georgia, Police Department pulled a man over for a minor traffic violation. He handed over his driver's license, but police realized it was a fake and arrested him. The officers sent us his fingerprints electronically, and we soon learned the truth: he was wanted for allegedly killing his girlfriend and burying her body in a desert outside of Las Vegas in 1997. We notified authorities in both Georgia and Nevada within 30 minutes of getting his prints.

Not Just a Lone Star Shoplifter
On April 5, Arlington, Texas, police sent us fingerprints from a man they'd arrested for shoplifting. Of course he'd given a false name. In just 12 minutes, we provided the suspect's real identity. Turns out, he was wanted for murder in Iowa.

Sophisticated technology. Electronic information-sharing. Operational links across jurisdictions and borders. Hallmarks of an international law enforcement network that's making our communities and the world safer for all.

Links: IAFIS website | Criminal Justice Information Services Division website | More CJIS stories