10/20/2005Arizona: Fingerprinting for Speeding Tickets
Maricopa County, Arizona's Sheriff will demand fingerprinting for anyone suspected of a routine criminal traffic violation.
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio will now demand fingerprints from any motorist stopped for a routine traffic violation in his 9000 square mile territory. The fingerprints will be entered into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. During an eight month voluntary test of the program, two-thirds of motorists refused to provide thumbprints, but as of Wednesday, Arpaio is no longer accepting "no" for an answer.
"This will be mandatory. No exceptions," Arpaio said, as reported in the Arizona Republic. "If they don't want to give the print, they're going directly to jail. Period."
Arpaio claims the fingerprinting is necessary to cut down on identity theft. The requirement applies to all criminal traffic violations such as speeding more than 20 MPH over the limit and DUI. Of 10,500 stopped during the pilot program, 3000 were listed as criminal violations. Over 99.5 percent of those stopped produced legitimate identification.
The colorful sheriff has made headlines for a number of initiatives. According to his own website, "Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio are well known for a lot of things -- Tent City, pink underwear, green bologna, and chain gangs are just a few."