Franklin County Sheriff's Office using new footwear prints technology to reduce crime

It's only system of its kind in Western Hemisphere

By Patricia Martellotti - Reporter

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is currently the only law enforcement agency in the Western Hemisphere with a newly developed digital footwear evidence system to connect crime scenes.

"The jail collects the scans of the suspects' shoes. Those scans are then available to all the crime scene images that are found," explained Michael Grimm, president of Evident, the business that produces the system.

With this new tool, the agency will be able to match footwear impressions to crime cases.

"We knew this was cutting edge. Any time you have technology that enhances our ability in solving crime, we get excited about it. We felt this had wide-ranging possibilities," Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton said.

Here's how it works:

The system collects sample footwear impressions from every person booked into the Franklin County Jail.

Once the impressions are made, they are compared to all the other impressions that have been collected.

Any footwear impressions that have matching patterns will then be displayed to the Sheriff's Office as possible suspects.

"We are very hopeful that the product will be embraced by other agencies, and continue to build a larger database," Overton said.

Overton says this tool will be especially useful in reducing criminal activity by repeat offenders.

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