Michigan State Police blending time honored police skills with 21st century technology

MSP's Biometrics & Identification Division opened one year ago.

It is a highly secure area within the headquarters of the Michigan State Police.

At first glance, it looks like any modern day office complex with rows and rows of cubicles, the occasional sound of typing on a computer keyboard and the almost silent movement of personnel moving about the workplace.

But that's where the similarities between corporate America and the Michigan State Police come to an end.

Working in these cubicles are among the most highly qualified, highly trained analysts and law enforcement personnel in the world.

"No other state police in the nation is going biometrics except for the FBI," said Michigan State Police Director Col. Kristie Kibbey Etue.

"We've grown to well over three-million sets of fingerprints in our criminal database. Millions of records where it would take days and weeks on a manual process to search a finger print of a crime scene," adds Captain Greg Michaud of MSP's Biometrics Division.

Slowly and methodically fingerprint files are fading into state police history, the result of advances in science and technology.

"Today we're able to search millions and millions of records in just seconds and get a possible identification or association to a suspect," Capt. Michaud added.

The State Police is in the final stages of perfecting a revolutionary way of checking fingerprints in the field.

The process that will greatly enhance officer safety in situations like traffic stops.

A division formed a year ago this month, MSP's Biometrics Identification Division combines the latest advances in scientific technology with good "old fashioned" police work.

"When you look at biometrics, the name biometrics, it's going more into the sciences. And we know that police work is lending a lot more support towards having that scientific edge to solving crimes. Although we can never replace good old police work either," Col. Kibbey Etue added.

When the system comes on line early next year, state police analysts will be able to scan over three-million state and 12-million FBI facial recognition files, within seconds, and with amazing accuracy.