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Around March 1 about 100 officers will begin using mobile fingerprint scanners to help identify suspects in crimes, from felonies down to traffic offenses when motorists don't have their licenses.
"It is new technology, certainly for us here in Austin," Assistant Police Chief Al Eells said. "We really want to see how the devices are used and their value in terms of what we are doing here."
Law enforcement officials nationally have praised such scanners, saying suspects can be more easily and quickly identified. However, some civil libertarians have raised concerns about their use, particularly about whether officers are requiring people to provide fingerprint samples before they are arrested.