Thursday, August 02, 2012
Not everyone tells the truth when they talk to a sheriff's deputy.

Some people even pretend to be someone they're not, to avoid an arrest warrant or dodge a traffic ticket.

Now, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office has technology that will enable deputies to run quick checks to determine at least whether a person has ever been brought to the county jail.

Starting Monday, a deputy will be able to take a digital picture of someone and have a computer program compare it with a database of inmates' photos, to determine whether there's a match.

"We're a huge database because everybody coming through the agency ... their photo is in the system," said Sheriff Kevin Joyce.

The facial recognition software will enable the sheriff's office to easily use that vast database of images, and could hold promise for other police agencies.

"If we get a bank photo of somebody and we scan it and it's a good enough quality picture, it's going to give us leads of who it might be, and it's at least a starting point," Joyce said.

The county purchased the system for $35,000 from Dynamic Imaging Systems of Mount Laurel, N.J.

The computer maps the image of a person's face and converts it to a numerical composite, using factors like the size of the eyes, their distance from each other and their proximity to the nose.

The system ignores qualities that are prone to change, like facial hair, glasses and hair color, as well as race and gender...