When Stephanie Hartnett of Boston saw the man who had followed her 13-year-old daughter home, she knew he was not the teen he claimed to be in text messages and e-mails. When police responded to her call, it took them more than an hour to determine he was a level-three sex offender from Texas, says the Boston Globe. Hartnett is trying to persuade city officials to purchase portable fingerprint scanners for police cruisers so police can quickly determine when a suspect is potentially dangerous. She will testify at a hearing today. “If we had had the fingerprint scanner, in four minutes we would have known who he was,” said Hartnett, a 38-year-old former paramedic.
Police arrested a man in the Hartnett case charged him with enticement of a child under the age of 16. Portable fingerprint scanners would cost about $8,000 each. A local attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said the use of the scanners could raise privacy concerns if people are detained on the street for the sole purpose of running their prints through a database. A city official said authorities would use the scanners only when they would have probable cause to do so.