I live on an island called Bainbridge, near Seattle on the west coast of USA. I volunteered to chaperone a field trip at my son’s school next September. Because of heightened security at schools on the island, as part of the volunteering signup process I now had to go to the police station to have myself fingerprinted. I just came out of the police station moments ago.
The experience was illuminating, and reminded me just how far technology has come. It was also somewhat emotional because it was easy to imagine how terrifying the experience must be for people who have been arrested, or for people who have less trust in their local police. Also what it must be like in places where the police are not as well resourced and able to manage data like fingerprints properly for use in solving crimes. I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of members in other parts of the world on my experience and comparing it to their experience.
I filled out a simple form providing my essentials, including eye and hair color (brown), height (6 feel 2 inches - I may have exaggerated up by half an inch), weight (195 pounds - I may have exaggerated down by 5 pounds, but who’s counting), place of birth, race (W for white). I then paid a $53 fee, which will be reimbursed by the schools’ parent teacher organization, and showed my driver’s license as personal identification.
The official then entered my details from the form into a computer, and took first my left hand then my right hand to carefully scan each fingerprint. She repeated again, rolling my fingers to capture fingerprints on the sides of my fingers. All the while the fingerprints showed up big on the screen for me to watch, which was fascinating.
The fact that my fingerprints were taken will be automatically communicated electronically to the school, so now I can go and finish the volunteer signup.