Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County jail gains ability to identify John Does with facial recognition software

An inmate refused to give his correct name, but Pasco Deputy Keith Adams shows how he used new software to find out.

KERI WIGINTON | Times

An inmate refused to give his correct name, but Pasco Deputy Keith Adams shows how he used new software to find out.

LAND O'LAKES — The man was arrested by Zephyrhills police for a slew of charges, from uttering a forged instrument to possessing three fake driver's licenses.

He refused to give jail officials his name. But Deputy Keith Adams wasn't worried.

Adams snapped a picture June 27 of the anonymous inmate, then ran the image through the Pasco County Sheriff's Office's new facial recognition system.

Two photos of Scott Spate popped up. One was Spate's mug shot from an arrest in Pinellas County, and the other was a mug shot from the state Department of Corrections.

"He said he'd never seen any technology like that," said Adams.

To outwit inmates who refuse to give their names to jail officials, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office began using facial recognition software two weeks ago.

It was provided through a $3.5 million grant that the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office received from the U.S. Department of Defense, said Lt. Barbara Taylor.

Pasco joins 17 other counties who use the software, Taylor said.

Here's how it works: A jail official downloads a photo of the person into the system. Photos of people who have been arrested before are already in a criminal justice database.

The computer uses mathematical algorithms, including such factors as the distance between a person's facial features, to determine a match.

The closest photographic matches come up first.

Then jail officials use other information, such as the person's date of birth, Social Security number and fingerprints, to make sure they have the correct match. The system also brings up warrants from other law enforcement agencies.

Before getting this system, jail officials had to wait until an inmate divulged her or his identity. Those who gave aliases often picked up charges of obstruction by a disguised person or giving false information to a law enforcement officer.

Jail officials are learning to use the system, which could also help detectives identify suspects in surveillance videos for bank robberies and other crimes, Taylor said.

"As much as we'll use it," said Taylor, an intake release commander at the jail, "it'll be great for detectives."

The jail plans to use it a fair amount, too.

"Once or twice a month, we have John Does who we don't know who they are," she said. "This will help with that."

Meanwhile, Spate, 43, sits in jail. He and his seven listed aliases are facing 13 charges and two probation violations.

The address listed on his booking report: Refused.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 909-4609.

Pasco County jail gains ability to identify John Does with facial recognition software 07/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay small businesses give Tampa B+ for regulatory climate

    Corporate

    In a recent survey about small business sentiments toward state and local government policies that affect them, Tampa Bay ranked at No. 25 out of 80 — a B+ overall.

    Tampa Bay ranked No. 25 out of 80 in a recent survey about how small business owners feel about state and local government policies that affect them. | [Times file photo]
  2. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  3. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  5. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.