Box 10-1

The Western Identification Network

WIN was formed in May 1988 to facilitate the creation of a multistate AFIS implementation. A year later, the state legislatures of Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming appropriated the necessary funding to begin work on the system.

The initial WIN AFIS was installed in Sacramento, California, with remote subsystems in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Salt Lake City, Utah; Boise, Idaho; Carson City, Nevada; and Salem and Portland, Oregon. Booking terminals also were installed in numerous locations throughout these states, and existing similar stand-alone systems in Alaska, California, and Washington were connected to WIN in 1990 to complete the initial network. At first, WIN’s centralized automated database included 900,000 finger print records, but after connecting to Alaska, California, and Washington, the number of searchable finger print records increased to more than 14 million. Today, WIN members have access to more than 22 million finger print records from the western United States.

NOTE: For information about WIN, see

Network (WIN) is one example of such a regional network (for more information on WIN, see Box 10-1).

Today, AFIS systems from different vendors most often cannot interoperate with one another. Indeed, different versions of similar systems from the same vendor sometimes cannot share fingerprint data with one another. In addition, many law enforcement agencies also access the FBI’s IAFIS database1 through an entirely separate stand-alone system—a fact that often forces fingerprint examiners into entering fingerprint data for one search multiple times (at least once for each system being searched).

There is no doubt that much good work has been done in recent years aimed at improving the interoperability of AFIS implementations and databases (see Box 10-2), but the committee believes that, given the potential benefits of more interoperable systems, the pace of these efforts to date has been too slow, and greater progress needs to be made toward achieving meaningful, nationwide AFIS interoperability.

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