New Fingerprint Technology Shedding New Light On Old Crimes

"I started in 2000 entering prints, and I worked my way back."

Inspector Bob Burriss is trying to identify a fingerprint from a home burglary that occurred in 1980. In those days he had to make identifications by using a fingerprint card.  That could take as long as four days. The AFIS computer makes the i.d. in ten minutes.

"Whereas with the automated machinery we have now, the computer, I sit there and go through prints like crazy all day," Burriss says.

Burriss has loaded prints from as far back as 1979 into the computer and is solving crimes that until now, were sent to the inactive file.

"I got a hit yesterday on a burglary from Pringle Gym, from 20 years ago," Burriss says.  "Come to find out, it was an 11-year-old girl that committed the burglary. She's 31 now, and I checked and I believe she's in prison in Florida."

In the short time he's been using AFIS, Burriss says the technology has proven itself. He says Biloxi has one of only six AFIS computers in the state.

"A couple of months ago they came up with some figures of having 300 hits for the entire state of Mississippi. At that time 100 of those hits was out of Biloxi, a hit being a match to someone."

Burriss has made lots of matches thanks to this $100,000 computer that Burriss says is the best law enforcement tool money can buy.