This summer, the Southold Town Police Department’s fingerprint scanner stopped working.
The roughly five-year-old “LiveScan” system, which syncs with Suffolk County’s databases and helps identify those who are arrested, broke down around mid-July, said Police Chief Martin Flatley.
The department has been using a system on loan from the county and was planning to budget for a new system in 2016. But now it can’t wait.
Suffolk County want their system back, meaning Southold cops would have to drive suspects into neighboring towns to book them there.
“Anytime somebody was arrested, we’d have to bring them to Riverhead or another department who has this system,” Chief Flatley said.”It’s something that’s a must for our department.”
The Southold Town Board voted Tuesday to free up as much as $22,000 to pay for a new fingerprint system, which includes the scanner itself, a computer and software to run the system. According to a Town Board resolution, the money was pulled from a fund set aside for “unallocated contingencies.”
The late change in budgeting isn’t ideal, said Supervisor Scott Russell
“At the end of the year, we’re trying to close out accounts,” he said, not make more payments.
Cheif Flatley and Lloyd Reisenberg, Southold Town’s network & systems administrator, said the system could be paid for with asset forfeiture money from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. But that’s assuming the request is approved, Mr. Reisenberg said.
Mr. Reisenberg said it could take up to a month to get the fingerprint scanner system set up once it’s purchased.
“It’s not as simple as buying a scanner and putting it in service,” he said.
“We need to work with the county to get this set up,” Chief Flatley added.
Photo caption: Southold Town police chief Martin Flatley. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)