Continuing cooperation under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United States Government and twelve CARICOM nations, including The Bahamas, recently partnered to implement the CBSI Digital Fingerprint Program to assist in regional crime fighting initiatives. The state-of-the-art $1.8M regional project was designed to provide Caribbean countries with the capability to collect, store, and analyze fingerprint data in a digital format that meets international standards in order to facilitate regional and international data sharing.
One of the advantages of the digital fingerprint initiative is a “cross search” capability that allows law enforcement officials to work with their regional counterparts to determine if suspicious people or individuals with criminal records also have criminal histories in another country. During the first phase of the project implementation, Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) officials participated in an extensive survey to determine current digital fingerprint capability in The Bahamas. The second phase involved the update and validation of the survey data, confirmation of the number of paper fingerprint cards to be converted to digital images, and the identification of hardware and software requirements needed to implement the Digital Fingerprint Program. RBPF officers also received advanced training on topics including the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), digital fingerprint work stations, the conversion of paper records to digital format, and biometrics. The Digital Fingerprint Program went fully operational in The Bahamas in June 2014.
Funding for the Digital Fingerprint Program was provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The program was implemented by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Office of Antiterrorism Assistance in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Police Force.