The New York Police Department has begun photographing the irises of people who are arrested in an effort to prevent escapes as suspects move through the court system, a police official said Monday.
The program was instituted after two embarrassing episodes early this year in which prisoners arrested on serious charges tricked the authorities into freeing them by posing at arraignment as suspects facing minor cases. The occurrences exposed weaknesses in the city’s handling of suspects as they move from police custody into the maze of court systems in the five boroughs.
With the new system, the authorities are using a hand-held scanning device that can check a prisoner’s identity in seconds when the suspect is presented in court, said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman.
Officials began photographing the irises of suspects arrested for any reason on Monday at Manhattan Central Booking and expect to expand the program to all five boroughs by early December, Mr. Browne said...