Hamilton Co. law enforcement agencies planning for new technology to solve crimes

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The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Chattanooga Police Department are planning to buy new equipment they say will help solve crimes. (Image: Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN)

New technology may be coming to Hamilton County that can help law enforcement agencies track down criminals.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) want to buy specialized equipment that can make solving crimes easier.

HCSO is planning to buy a laser scanner kit, which is a camera that would allow them to map out crime scenes and special incidents they investigate.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office says it would cost nearly $160,000.

Hamilton County commissioners approved that purchase during Wednesday’s meeting.

Chattanooga Police have their eyes set on a new fingerprint machine.

They say it would help recover DNA and fingerprints, even if a criminal tries to get rid of them by washing or cleaning items that could be used as evidence.

The machine is priced at about $66,000.

One commissioner believes new equipment like this in the county is long overdue.

“I get the impression that we are in the dark ages as it relates to mapping out crime scenes,” said Dr. Warren Mackey during Wednesday’s meeting.

“With this addition, it’s going to help us greatly and it does interface with equipment by the city and others.”

Although commissioners approved the purchase for the sheriff’s office, there is no timetable of when it plans to buy and begin using the laser scanner.

For CPD’s request, Chattanooga city council approved it on the first reading of it during Tuesday night’s meeting.

There will be a second reading and expected vote at a future meeting.

The United Kingdom’s Foster and Freeman is the manufacturer of that fingerprint machine says is being used at only 10 police departments in the United States right now.

It became available in February 2019.

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