Interesting subject matter that seems to have been passed over by the "Local Paper" and other Charlotte Media. Translated from the European Press Photo story posted on November 13, 2010 and is here. Note my spanish is pretty rusty.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is testing a portable fingerprint reader that helps identify people who lack documents.
Since the start of November, officers from various divisions of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), have been using the devices which are about the size of a cell phone.
The nine devices, produced by ID Software Company of Georgia, are connected to a database at the Mecklenburg County Jail, and within minutes, can identify the subject's criminal records and arrest warrants.
According to Sergeant Nelson Bowling, supervisor of the pilot program, which runs until December, obtaining fingerprints is "voluntary."
"We will not force anyone," said Bowling. "Our goal is to know who we're dealing with, and to see if the device gives us the correct information."
Without the device, the officers when officer question an individual who lacks a valid ID they run the risk of being offered a false name.
"For now, the service is very limited, we don't have access to state, federal, or immigration databases . If the individual in the past was arrested in Charlotte, is all the data that we can know," he said Bowling.
Since 2006, North Carolina has not issued driver's licenses to immigrants without Social Security and papers that prove their legal status, leaving them in "limbo" being unable to prove their identity to the authorities.
Furthermore, a large number of foreigners in the state do not have a passport from their country of origin.
With the implementation of the 287g program via the Mecklenburg jail four years ago, which identifies and places in deportation proceedings illegal immigrants arrested for any crime, immigrants have avoided contact with the police.
However, a significant amount of more than 9,000 illegal immigrants booked under the 287g deportation program arrived at the jail after CMPD officers arrested them for minor traffic infractions, 25 percent of which had no identification.
CMPD has reiterated that the biggest problem with Hispanics is that they can not prove their identity to the officers and therefore must be brought to a detention facility to be identified.
The police chief, Rodney Monroe, has acknowledged that this has become a problem for the department in dealing with the Hispanic community, and in part has "deteriorated" the relationship with the implementation of 287g.
Although Monroe has not admitted that the fingerprint detector would be a "solution" for the undocumented to avoid the possible deportation when they are detained, he said that it is a tool to "expedite the work of the police."
It remains at the discretion of the officer to imprison a person after they voluntarily put their fingerprints on the device, or simply issue a fine for the offense.
Bowling emphasized that at present many Hispanics have agreed to be digital review and none have been arrested.
For the officer Daniel Hernandez, Hispanic CMPD chief liaison, if an illegal alien does not "owe nothing to the courts, they need not fear."
"This is a way that the police are looking to help the immigrant community but now we understand that there's some fear and uncertainty," he said Hernandez, a Mexican.
Bowling further explained that the scanners are not used to "collect" the footprints of individuals but only to compare to police records.
"This does not solve the root problem that our people have no access to an ID. We must work with local authorities to accept other documents such as the Mexican matriculate consular," said Ruben Campillo, director of community affairs Latin American Coalition.
Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU) has requested CMPD policies followed by the unit to implement the program.
In 2008, the ACLU questioned the use of readers by the Police Department of Los Angeles (California), under the premise that the finger prints can not be collected unless the person is arrested.
Cedar Posts Update: FOX News Charlotte's Morgan Fogarty interviews CMPD Major Rick Williams about the scanners here and her April report is here.