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Nearly 150 inmates not fingerprinted in Tippecanoe County

January 13, 2017

Prosecutors in Tippecanoe County said they've determined nearly 150 former inmates need to be fingerprinted after glitches with the jail's fingerprint machine.

Indiana requires inmates to be fingerprinted when they are jailed. But between July 30 and Aug. 26 of last year the fingerprint machine at the Tippecanoe County jail didn't consistently work, the (Lafayette) Journal and Courier reported.

"We had issues where our fingerprint machine where we do the electronic fingerprints was up and down for a couple of different reasons," said Tippecanoe County sheriff's Capt. Denise Saxton.

Chris Griese, an IT technician at the sheriff's office, said in the spring, the previous outdated system began failing, and the machine was not covered under a service contract to be repaired.

The replacement machine, which arrived in May, did not work with the police department's software, said Tippecanoe County Chief Deputy Steve Hartman.

The prosecutor's office said that as many as 500 to 550 inmates weren't fingerprinted during the outages. Now, there are 148 remaining inmates who still need to be fingerprinted.

"That's a large number of individuals to follow up on and track," Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington said.

Harrington said the prosecutor's office, which was not informed of the problems until late August, will be scheduling hearings, filling out and gathering all documents required for the defendants that will need to return to the jail for fingerprinting.

Tippecanoe County sheriff Barry Richard said his department will take the fingerprints under court orders.

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