The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office has recently implemented iris biometric identification technology to better help identify previous offenders and inmates in seconds, thanks to a grant.

“No two people have the identical matching iris, including identical twins, so this is the latest cutting-edge technology,” said Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra.

The technology snaps a photo of the features in a human iris and compares it among a national database.

Hidalgo, Cameron and El Paso counties are the only counties in the state of Texas with this iris technology. The goal is to have all border sheriff offices to install the system and essentially create a “biometric wall” to identify criminals faster.

“We are not only taking pictures of the inmates that are being booked in, but we are also taking pictures of the inmates that are being released to have a secondary method of making sure of who they are,” added Guerra.

The system was implemented on March 5 and has already added over 1,100 inmates into the system.

Guerra says the jail books more than 20,000 inmates a year. The grant pays for all costs for the next three years, and by that time, the system will have nearly 60,000 inmates in the database.

After three years, the Sheriff’s Office will pick up the costs.

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