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Live Scan is an inkless, electronic means of capturing fingerprints in a
digitized format and then transmitting them to a state repository such as the Illinois State Police
and/or the FBI. Previously, fingerprints were taken by applying ink to each finger, then rolling
each finger on a fingerprint card. This method was inherently messy and prone to capturing poor
image quality. By processing fingerprints electronically, criminal history responses can be provided
within a matter of hours if received electronically or 3 -5 days if received by mail.
Fingerprints are then searched against a state criminal history database and/or the FBI criminal
database (where applicable).
Live Scan provides the fingerprint technician with the opportunity to retake a print several times to
ensure they are capturing the best image quality possible.
The concerns with a “name based” criminal background check are:
The reasons why “fingerprint based” criminal history background checks are so Accurate are:
According to FBI Next Generation Identification (NGI), fingerprint-based checks submitted to the FBI
for civil fingerprinting purposes are more than double that for criminal checks. (70.32% to 29.68%,
as reported for FY 2019.)
FBI NGI monthly fact sheet (https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/ngi-monthly-fact-sheet/view)statistics
as of November 2018: