I watch a lot of true crime type shows, and a lot of times they cannot ID a victim because they aren’t a criminal and have never been in the system. Which is ironic in a way that the more crimes you commit, the easier you are to identify if you fall victim to one, IMO.
I was thinking for law abiding people who feel they are more likely to be a crime victim than commit a crime, there would be some appeal in having your fingerprints and DNA in a database.
Does such a process exist? If not would it be legal?
People often get fingerprinted without having their fingerprints put in a database. For example, there are fingerprint kits for children, so that you can prove identity in the event of abduction. Parents usually just keep these fingerprint cards.
If you want to have your fingerprints in the law enforcement databases, the easiest way is to take a job that requires fingerprinting. For example, all brokerage and banking employees are required to be fingerprinted.
The only reason for an innocent person to have their fingerprint/DNA in the system is so they can identify your remains, or parts of them. Otherewise, you are alive and kicking and alble to “It’s me…”.
Beng in the system simply adds to your problems. I can’t imagine it being to your advantage, except to eliminate the step where they come to you and ask for a voluntary sample.
The FBI arrested an innocent Islamic activist in Oregon for the Madrid Train Bombings, based on wishful thinking and an incredibly incompetent incorrect partial print match. Your fingerprints are everywhere. Cops are not infallible.
If your DNA is in the system, you just make it easier for your whole family to be harassed in the event of a partial DNA match. Of course, parents, grandparents, or uncles and aunts may have had children they did not know of, or gave away for adoption, decades ago… but if they’re dead and can’t say so, you’ll all be harassed for nothing.
If the girl you “meet” in a bar is subsequently murdered, your DNA just gives the police a convenient suspect to blame rather than actually doing policework to solve the crime. Your freedom depends then on the openmindedness of the investigators and the accuracy of the forensic labs. If they had to do more investigating, the police may find the correct answer.
Besides, why would the state spend good money to collect samples of people who will probably never commit a crime and therefore probably never need to be DNA’d or printed?
I’m not really interested in debating the merits of the idea (since I don’t want to do it myself), I am just wondering if there are ways to get yourself into a police-searchable database without being a felon.
Reasons you could want to do that: To ID your dead body, to ID you in a coma, in case you lose your memory, to help ID missing children.
I signed up as a volunteer math tutor with a local Department of Education program and got printed - all fingers and both palms. Don’t know if volunteering directly to a school would have the same requirement. Also don’t know how long they’ll keep them in the database and who would have access to the database. But it only required a two session a month committment for a year, about two hours per session. And they needed math tutors.
We have clients submit finger prints to the FBI all the time for immigration-related purposes, mostly to figure out whether they have an arrest record under their own name or an alias from prior encounters with US Customs and Border Protection (which often took place many years ago and the clients may not even remember whether they were fingerprinted at the time). Here are some details about how to do that. No idea to what extent the FBI retains voluntarily submitted fingerprints in their database, though, but I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t. Fingerprinting is also standard for many immigration applications (permanent residency and naturalization, for example)
I had fingerprints taken ~ 20 years ago as part of an application for Federal employment. I imagine they are still knocking around somewhere.
Generally if you work with kids, they require you to be fingerprinted. When I started volunteering at camp, I didn’t realize they did the fingerprinting before camp opened. I got fingerprinted at the police station, as I recall.
Anybody who works behind the TSA checkpoints in an airport are fingerprinted & filed with the FBI. Including the folks who sell frozen yogurt or nasty “pizzas”. It wouldn’t be hard to get one of those jobs for a short stint.
Don’t residents of California have to submit a fingerprint to get a driver’s license or ID card?
I know that fictional cops on TV shows have access to these.
But, seriously, it would seem more practical to me to just give copies of your fingerprints and/or DNA reports to trusted people in your life (relatives, lawyer, etc.) with instructions to turn them over to police if you go missing.
I thought of that private option, and I do think it is a good idea, but the problem is if you turn up as a John/Jane Doe too far from home, the authorities might not connect your body to a your prints/DNA you entrusted to someone.
I also think it’s unlikely if you go to a local police station and say “My brother is missing, here are his prints and DNA” that they would actually use it to search because it’s so out of the ordinary.
It’s in the big FBI computer in the sky. The local police can accesss that database for various reasons. IANA expert here, but if they had an intact John Doe body I can’t imagine they’d be prohibited from checking the FBI database. Where that lies on the spectrum from unheard of to mandatory I don’t know. It probably varies from department to department.
I also recall, at least a few years ago, there were several places that would fingerprint children for the parents. I don’t know the details of whether they went in a database, etc, and I don’t remember seeing anything lately. As I recall, it was often done at various kid centered events - y’know, like the kid is there anyway so why not do this sort of thing.
Are there multiple federal databases of fingerprints (one for criminal suspects and those convicted of crimes, another for immigration applicants, another for applicants for federal jobs, another for applicants for security clearance, etc.) or just one giant database? If there are multiple databases, do they start by searching the criminal records and then expand out from there (this is the impression I got from watching CSI)?
The standard fingerprint repository is maintained by the FBI and is called IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System). In my past life, using it usually yielded results within 5 minutes. Folks whose fingerprints have been run by the FBI (basically, anyone in Federal service, certain national security-related positions - to include finance - and so forth will pop up pretty quickly). Fingerprints for informants are processed as “info only,” meaning that they should not be retained or used for identification in order to protect their identity. It doesn’t always work that way, though and, IME, lots of LEOs don’t trust the FBI farther than they can throw them.
I’ve never committed a crime, but I’ve been fingerprinted quite a few times. Let’s see here:
[li]Background check for government security clearance (job related);[/li][li]Filing “Declaration of Intent to Study Law”;[/li][li]Local criminal record check for Chinese adoption dossier;[/li][li]FOUR separate USCIS/FBI fingerprintings for said adoption (they expire every fifteen months).[/li][/ul]