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Criminal Justice Information Services Division
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July 10, 2024

FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division Celebrates 100th Anniversary of National Fingerprint Repository

Ceremony held at CJIS Division in Clarksburg, West Virginia

On July 10, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division marked the 100th anniversary of the FBI’s national repository for fingerprints and related criminal history data.

In 1924, the FBI established an Identification Division, informally called “Ident” for many years. “Ident” gathered prints from police agencies nationwide and manually searched them upon request for matches to criminals and crime evidence.

The CJIS Division was established out of the former Identification Division in February 1992 to serve as the national repository for criminal justice information services.

Fingerprint identification started as a very manual process. However, technological advancements and automation established during the developments of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System and the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System have led to less than 3% of fingerprint transactions being physically handled by an examiner. While a response used to take weeks, customers now receive matches within minutes.

FBI Marks 100 Years of Fingerprints and Criminal History Records

Director Wray joined FBI staff, lawmakers, and dozens of retired fingerprint examiners to celebrate 100 years since the Bureau established its Identification Division in 1924.

“I’m extremely proud to honor the FBI’s century-long legacy of pioneering leadership in biometric identification,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “While we celebrate the innovative ways fingerprints have been used to help save lives and solve crimes, I must also recognize the people who make the process work. The CJIS Biometric Services Section is made up of around 600 personnel who, in addition to providing many other state-of-the-art services, process nearly two million fingerprints from around the world each year. We’re enthusiastic about the continued growth of the repository and remain committed to providing our partners in state and local law enforcement and others around the globe with the critical tools they need to keep people safe.”

Other biometric modalities now leveraged within the NGI include irises; palm prints; the Interstate Photo System; and scars, marks, and tattoos.

“As we mark 100 years of biometric services and successes, the CJIS Division continuously looks to provide the best possible biometric tools to fight crime and terrorism,” said CJIS Division Acting Assistant Director Timothy A. Ferguson. “We will continue to do so through research and collaboration with our law enforcement partners.”

Today, the CJIS Division serves as the focal point for criminal justice services within the Bureau. In addition to biometrics, the CJIS Division also contains the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the National Crime Information Center, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the National Threat Operations Center, and additional law enforcement services.