County council sends levy for Automated Fingerprint Identification System to ballot

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Metropolitan King County Council today approved sending to the voters on the August primary election, a proposition to support continuation of the regional automated fingerprint identification system program (AFIS); the program that matches suspects to crimes through fingerprint identification technology. 

“County voters will have the opportunity to continue supporting a system that protects our communities,” said Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn.

AFIS, which is managed by the King County Sheriff, provides services to all local and county jurisdictions, the Seattle Police Department and all suburban Police Departments. AFIS uses a computerized system to store fingerprints and palmprints that can be accessed by law enforcement for solving crimes and identifying criminals.

“This is a renewal of a levy and will cost less than previous years!” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “It is an important tool for our law enforcement and helps move us into modern technology.”
“Since its creation in 1986, AFIS has helped our law enforcement agencies solve thousands of crimes and has promoted greater information sharing among governments, saving taxpayer dollars,” said Councilmember Claudia Balducci. 
“This renewal, to be considered by voters on the primary ballot in August, would continue this legacy of service at a lower rate of taxation than is being levied today.”

The AFIS levy renewal will fund the operation of systems and the technology to collect, search, and store fingerprints and palm prints in an electronic database. This database helps identify arrested individuals through fingerprint matching, solve crimes by identifying “latent” prints left at crime scenes, and establish criminal history. AFIS assists in the apprehension of criminal suspects and confirming the identity of individuals who are detained or booked into jail.

The levy that will be sent to the voters would authorize an additional property tax for six years beginning with a rate of $0.035 (3.5 cents) per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2019. If adopted, the levy is estimated to raise approximately $21 million a year for the AFIS program, at a cost of approximately $15.75 a year for the owner of a $450,000 home. The funds raised by the AFIS levy will be used for maintaining current operations, as well as annual costs of maintaining a new cloud-based system (costs associated with the system migration are covered under the existing levy).

The AFIS levy will appear on the August 7, 2018 primary election ballot.




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