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Hendry Co. Deputies using innovative technology to keep people safe

Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 19:36:32-05

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. — The Hendry County Sheriff's Office is finding new ways to keep people in the county safe.

During a press conference Wednesday, The Sheriff's office announced two new innovative technologies that will now be used by the department and the county jail.

Hendry County Sheriff, Steve Whidden, was selected by The National Sheriff's Association to be the first Sheriff in the nation to implement the ACCESS Background Check System.

ACCESS is part of an initiative, through an innovative partnership with BI² Technologies, to provide three-thousand Sheriffs across the country with a comprehensive background check system.

The Hendry County Sheriff's Office says this system will allow them to provide a more convenient and secure location for people to get background checks in Hendry County.

"Now it offers them a local location and a safe location where they can come get that done with the people they trust, which is the Sheriff's Office," said Sheriff Whidden.

As part of this innovation, The Hendry Sheriff's Office was also selected to be the first Sheriff's Office in Florida to implement the I.R.I.S Biometric Identification System.

With this system, The Hendry County Sheriff's Office will now be able to identify offenders much more accurately, and within a matter of seconds.

"We get a lot of criminals out there who change their names, give us false information. They'll change their fingerprints, or they can't be fingerprinted for whatever reason," said Sheriff Whidden.

Sheriff Whidden says people booked into the county jail will now have to go through the Inmate Identification and Recognition System (I.R.I.S), which captures over 265 points of unique characteristics of the iris.

"The technology captures the iris, then it links the information between every agency that is on this system, and it gives us information on this person immediately," said Sheriff Whidden.

The I.R.I.S Syetem will also be used to positively identify inmates during release.

The Sheriff's Office says the ACCESS System and the I.R.I.S System are entirely separate programs that don't share information; however, the end goal of both is to protect the community, at no cost to the citizens of the county.

"I'm always looking to better the agency and better the community, and this offers us another tool in that bag to better the agency," said Sheriff Whidden.

The Sheriff's office says the I.R.I.S System has already had success. In less than 24 hours of implementing it in the county jail, two inmates matched existing records.