County urges purchase of 4th fingerprint machine

Should City Council approve it tonight, Lycoming County will buy a $25,000 digital fingerprinting machine for use by police agencies and keep it at City Hall.

The county already has three such machines – one at Old Lycoming Township at a temporary central processing center, another at the state police barracks in Montoursville and a third at the city police station.

However, it is in need of a replacement, according to Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt.

The intergovernmental agreement to buy the machine for the city, which also is going to pay for maintenance costs, was given a positive recommendation for approval Tuesday by the city Finance Committee.

Linhardt and City Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said it’ll improve efficiency for police as they fingerprint those under arrest.

“The county has not yet found a location where it wants to construct a central booking station,” Foresman said.

Commissioner Jeff Wheeland agreed with the purchase.

“We would buy it as long as it’s the same unit as what is at Old Lycoming Township,” he said. “It’s a partnership the county has with the city police so we have two identical machines. I look at it as, when I’m flying in a small airplane I want to make sure the plane has two engines working, so that in the event one of them breaks, we’re still flying.

“These newer machines are quicker, and I’d rather have a police officer on the beat rather than dealing with antiquated equipment,” he said.

Under the terms, the county maintains ownership of the machine.

As for the status on the central booking location, Wheeland said it remains under discussion.

“Our efforts are focused on the day reporting treatment center for non-violent offenders,” Wheeland said.

Recently, the county prison board discussed where it wants to locate a day reporting treatment center and plans an announcement soon.