The different advances that consumers can take for granted with technology can also be a great boon for the criminal justice system. This technology can help to improve the capabilities of specialized databases that are used by law enforcement in dealing with crime. There are a number of specialized databases that are used, such as AFIS, Live Scan, and Facial Recognition with which improvements help to increase the effectiveness of law enforcement employees. While there can be some drawbacks to these advances in new technology, overall it provides a very positive opportunity for law enforcement to be able to deal with the evolving world that exists today with cybercrimes, terrorist threats, and criminals that are becoming more technologically savvy when committing crimes. AFIS is a database of fingerprints that are able to be compared to new fingerprints as accessed at a crime scene and be matched to an offender if they are in the database for being fingerprinted previously. According to Nickell and Fischer (1999), “In one case, a serial killer who had terrorized Los Angeles with fifteen murders was identified in about twenty minutes after AFIS was brought into service; it was estimated that manual searching would have required a technician … sixty-seven years” (p. 124). This technology is invaluable for saving time, such as with this example, but also makes it possible for different law enforcement departments to see if an offender’s fingerprint might have been found elsewhere in the country or if crimes had been completed by the same individual. Another fingerprint technology that is similar to AFIS is Live Scan. According to Lee and Gaensslen (2001), “The live-scan fingerprint is a collective term for a fingerprint image obtained directly from the finger without the intermediate step of getting an impression on paper” (p. 286). This is a little different from AFIS in that it is using an actual finger to gain the print off of, but it can be used in conjunction with AFIS for identifying offenders. This technology could go beyond just being used to compile offender information, but could serve other important public service features, such as identifying missing adults or young children that are unable to let law enforcement know whom they are and where they belong. Facial recognition is similar to both Live Scan and AFIS, but rather than using a fingerprint that is hard to see in general, it uses a person’s face. One such system is in use in California called the Imagis system offers “biometric facial recognition, and image and database management, giving officers invaluable investigative tools in their law enforcement and surveillance work” (Li and Jain, 2005, p. 380). This software is even used with the composite sketches that can be made from eyewitness statements to narrow down potential suspects (Li and Jain, 2005). This can be a valuable tool in that it can be used to located offenders, even victims, such as those that are kidnapped. The positive effect that new technologies have on communication is that it offers even more ways to get information to a great deal of people in a shorter amount of time. In the past, law enforcement was hampered by the fact that they were not able to quickly communicate with other departments about crimes and criminals that occurred in their area. This meant that criminals that changed location would not have been as easy to determine it was the same criminal that committed similar crimes in a new area. Sharing information easily has made it possible to identify these types of crimes and see patterns that might not have been apparent in the past. The technologies make it easier and quicker than ever share information, even across state lines or coast to coast. The negative effect that new technologies have on communication is that it may be something that is more heavily relied upon rather than using other methods of communication. Some details may not be apparent from a database or data compilation, but may come to light if the different departments actually have verbal or written conversations about the issue. This is already becoming an issue for people addicted to new technology in that they are losing their proper interpersonal communication skills as they have adapted to texting, IM’ing, and emails. Another additional negative effect is that some of these technologies may be used in an immoral way where the privacy of regular citizens are violated, or mistakes may be made, such as facial recognition making a match with someone that is not the intended target as technology is only as good as its human creators. I think that I would want to be able to have access to all the specialized technologies that are available for law enforcement’s use. AFIS can be useful in situations where fingerprints are found at a crime scene that may help to link the criminal to other crimes or this crime to a particular criminal. Live Scan can help to identify a person, and this could even be helpful in non-crime situations, such as finding an elderly person with Alzheimer’s on the street that cannot give identification. Facial recognition could be helpful in identifying missing people, wanted criminals, and even terrorists. I believe that it is hard to determine between these types of specialized technologies because they can work so well together and provides a full range of tools for law enforcement to use. Criminals and terrorists do not have the same restrictions on behavior in place as the criminal justice system sets for law enforcement. In order to combat those without restrictions, all the tools possible should be put into use to protect society. I think of it as a carpenter would not try to do their whole job with just a hammer, but needs saws and other tools to get the job done. The same should be considered for these types of special technologies. In conclusion, technology is ever-changing for consumers, but these changes have also helped to advance the specialized database tools that law enforcement uses to uphold the criminal justice system. Some examples of these databases include AFIS, Live Scan and Facial Recognition. When weighing the positives of these advances in communication against the negatives, it does appear that law enforcement needs all the tools available to help keep the population safe. References Lee, H. C., & Gaensslen, R. E. (2001). Advances in fingerprint technology. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Li, S. Z., & Jain, A. K. (2005). Handbook of face recognition. New York: Springer. Nickell, J., & Fischer, J. F. (1999). Crime science: methods of forensic detection. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.