Dare County Sheriff’s Office has a new way to catch a crook

Posted at 7:11 PM, Aug 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-15 19:11:50-04

The number one question Dare County investigator Matthew Bryans hears is," Are you the CSI guy or do you do what they do on TV?"

"Yes I do and I enjoy it," responded Bryans.

He's the man behind the fingerprint-matching machine. It's a new system for the sheriff's office that allows Bryans to scan crime scene prints into a database of anyone who has ever been arrested. Then, he'll find out if he has a match.

"I'm taking the unknown and I'm applying theories and principals to it to come up with some sort of result. It's something I've always enjoyed. I'm living the dream."

Before the system was given to the department through a grant, detectives would send off fingerprints to the State Bureau of Investigation, taking up to a year and a half to find out if the fingerprint is a match.

Now, they have their answer in a matter in seconds.

"If we need to wait a year and a half, then info is forgotten even if it's written down something may be overlooked because the case is not fresh on their mind."

When the print is scanned, ten possible matches pop up and Bryans puts his expertise to the test.

Bryans says he used the system for nearly 120 cases, and around 20% of those has ended with a suspect, but for 100% of all cases, it's been quicker than sending the prints to the state.

"We do not have to wait a year or year and a half anymore to get fingerprints back from the state lab."

Even though he doesn't always get a match, there's nothing that beats the feeling of finding one.

"You get that first print and you know right then what you so is worth while. Every time you get a match, you're doing exactly what you're being paid for," Bryans said.