San Francisco Police Department and the Gemalto Cogent ABIS


​An advanced COGENT ABIS (Automated Biometric Identification System) is playing a key role in the work of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). In this video, leading figures at one of the largest police departments in the United States explain how this comprehensive biometric identification solution is helping to enhance public safety in an iconic Californian community.

SFPD: San Francisco Police Department

Founded in the days of the mid-nineteenth century Gold Rush, the SFPD serves a city located on a peninsula that lies between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. For many, it epitomizes the American Dream.

However, the city is also a densely populated home to nearly 900,000 residents, and faces law and order challenges common to virtually every major urban environment in the developed world.

SFPD is organized into 6 bureaus (Administration, Airport, Field Operations, Investigations, Municipal Transportation Authority, Public Utilities Commission) and 2 divisions (Golden Gate and Metro) with 2,108 officers as of early 2016.

AFIS pioneer

Back in the early 1980s, San Francisco pioneered the use of the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), along with an equally revolutionary 'crime scene to courtroom' strategy for bringing more offenders to justice.

Notably, this included the creation of dedicated Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) units, specializing exclusively in the recovery and analysis of forensic data. The dramatic results achieved by local law enforcement agencies over 30 years ago served to vindicate the use of the newly developed AFIS.

It became a must-have for large jurisdictions across the United States.

By the end of the century, hundreds of such systems were operating around the globe.

As this video demonstrates, the SFPD remains passionate about the value of advanced identification technology. Equally, it highlights just how much progress has been made since the arrival of the first generation AFIS.

San Francisco Police Department and the Gemalto Cogent ABIS

Single-mindedly geared towards public safety

According to Gordon Brussow, ABIS/Identification Manager with the SFPD, the Cogent ABIS deployed by the department delivers a step change in the breadth and depth of personal detail that can be recovered, stored and searched: "It captures the palms, the fingerprints, the demographics and the photograph at the time of booking, and puts it all in one package."

Similarly impressive is the speed with which potential matches can be found, with Cogent's Automated Biometric Identification System ​linking to numerous state and federal databases.

Inspector Ronan Shouldice, a 20 year veteran of San Francisco CSI, describes their work with equal enthusiasm: "I love this stuff. There's nothing better than identifying a previously unknown fingerprint."

His words will no doubt ring true with many viewers. That's because, ultimately, the stars of this particular story are not the technological tools, but the committed law enforcement and forensic specialists that put them to work in pursuit of a safer society.

Share your experience

Cogent is pleased to be able to highlight the contribution of the forensic analysts in bringing offenders to justice and helping to build a safer world. If you are part of this vital community and have similar experiences to share, we'd love to hear them. Please get in touch using the contact form below. 

To know more about the daily work of forensic analysts please visit this web dossier.