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County to get new fingerprint machines

ALBANY -- The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office has been awarded a federal grant that will be used to purchase six mobile fingerprint scanners, officials said Monday.

The scanners are portable versions of what the sheriff's office has at the Dougherty County Jail.

Slightly larger than a smartphone, the devices will scan fingerprints and run them through the state's crime information computer to check for outstanding warrants and previous criminal records.

Currently, the scanners will only be used to check the state crime database.

However, similar models around the country are being used to check federal law enforcement databases as well.

Six of the scanners will be purchased with a Homeland Security grant for $21,000.

Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul said Monday that his office will give one to the Dougherty County Police Department to use, as well as one to the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit.

The Albany Police Department has also received a grant for the devices and will also be deploying them among its officers.

Only two counties south of Macon received the grant -- Dougherty and Lowndes, Sproul said.