DPS uses tattoo recognition technology to identify victims in Arizona


PHOENIX (TV/CBS 5) Arizona Department of Public Safety highlights how technology is helping police and troopers to identify victims. DPS recently announced that it had used tattoo recognition technology in June for the first-ever time to identify two victims of homicide and one woman who was beginning to decay.

In a news release, troopers explained how DPS’ Forensic Images Unit upgraded the Arizona Biometric Information System in June to include facial recognition technology improvements and the ability to analyze tattoos forensically. The system contains about 1.4 million images obtained during criminal booking, and it wasn’t long before police began using that brand-new technology.

DPS was contacted by Phoenix Police Department June 23rd to assist in identifying a victim who had been shot in the head. This prevented facial recognition technology being used successfully. Fingerprints also didn’t return any results. A DPS detective was able to forensically inspect three different tattoos and identify the victim.

Detectives received another request late last month from Gila River Police Department to help identify a woman who was beginning to decay. While the coroner could not gather fingerprints, authorities could examine several tattoos and, after further investigation, provide the victim’s identity, which made it possible to notify next-of-kin and their family members.

According to DPS, this new technology was built on the “continuous, extensive research on [facial recognition] software and technology.” In addition, agency officials say that they work to use the software ethically as allowed in state and federal law.

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