Larimer County Sheriff's Office uses iris scan to identify DUI suspect

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - A man arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence tried to lie about his identity over the weekend, but an iris scan proved who he was, according to Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

Smith said the man did not have any ID when he was arrested so deputies scanned the man's iris.

"They were able to prove that he was not who he said he was by doing a comparison of the iris scan we had on record," Smith said. 

Smith said the iris scan also revealed the man's true identity as 37 year-old Salvador Corral.

"Not surprisingly, the offender was already under a driving revocation and had an outstanding arrest warrant," Smith said. "On top of all that, he is now facing additional charges for criminal impersonation."

In the past, deputies would have had to hold him until someone brought proof that the man was who said he was. Smith said that is timely and expensive.

"In this case, when the jail staff took the arrestee in, by using the iris scanner, they were immediately able to match up the individual we had in custody with a previous record on him," Smith said.

Corral now faces seven charges, including a felony charge for criminal impersonation. That is a class 6 felony that could carry up to an 18 month jail sentence and/or $1,000 fine.

Smith said technology like this saves time in positively identifying offenders and is much better than a traditional set of fingerprints.

"It’s a modern day version of what the fingerprint card does," Smith explained. "It maps the eye, much as running ink over a fingerprint maps that finger, it maps the blood vessels. It turns out the human eye when looked at close enough would be like a fingerprint."

Not only do deputies use the scanner when booking inmates, they also use it when an inmate leaves to ensure it is the correct person. Smith said they also use the scanner when the county's 205 sex offenders are required to check-in to make sure it is the correct person.

"This technology in addition to allowing us to get the right people taken into custody, also allows us to clear up people who may have been accused of something and somebody else assumed their identity," he said.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office has been using the technology since 2007. Smith said one day they hope to have deputies carry handheld scanners in the field.

7NEWS checked with other jails in the area. Jefferson County Sherrif's Office is the only other department equipped with the scanners.

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