BRUNSWICK— Anyone trying to get away with using someone else’s identity during a traffic stop may have harder time.
This week, Brunswick police received a free Mobile Ident II from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. It’s a portable device that takes pictures and scans fingerprints and driver’s licenses.
Detective Brian Schmitt said people who have warrants pending or those trying to “elude their past” often present false information. The aim of the device, he said, is to combat that.
Within minutes of a fingerprint or driver’s license scan, the device will bring up profiles of anyone who has been fingerprinted and put into FBI or Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation databases and will show pending warrants, he said.
“A lot of the time we have people give us a false identity,” Schmitt said. “This will help us positively identify subjects.”
If people are found to have given false information, they can be charged with obstructing justice or even identity theft, Schmitt said.
He said identity theft has been a rapidly growing problem in the city and across the state.
“There’s a rash of people getting fake Ohio licenses with false birth certificates,” Schmitt said.
The device also can be used to identify people in medical emergencies who are otherwise unable to be identified, he said.
The device normally costs about $2,000, Schmitt said, so when he heard the Attorney General’s Office would be giving them out to law enforcement agencies for free, he jumped at the opportunity.
The department is responsible for paying a $40 monthly fee to Verizon, which provides the data package for the device.
So far it is the only department in the county to own one, Schmitt said, but the Brunswick Hills Township Police Department and the Medina County Sheriff’s Office are also on the list to receive one.
In a statement, the Attorney General’s Office reported it has distributed 160 of the devices and will give out another 128 units.
Schmitt said because the department only received the device Monday, it has not yet been decided whether the Mobile Ident II will remain in one patrol car or be shared.
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or email@example.com.
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