September 28, 2023


Florida law enforcement's new tools of the trade

Mike Vogel | 9/28/2021

Facial recognition seems new, but its use in Florida dates back 20 years. The Florida repository for facial recognition — started in 2000 with a $3.5-million grant obtained by then GOP Florida Congressman Bill Young — is housed at the Pinellas County sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says his office has the largest database — 38 million images from mugshots, driver license photos and other sources — in the nation. Some 269 federal, state and local agencies can query the database, which receives inquiries about 4,600 times a month. The first arrest that resulted from a query to the database came in 2004. Authorities credit the system with 1,000 successful outcomes through 2013 and another 400 since 2014.


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