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INDIANAPOLIS — A new technology being used by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office uses a unique physical feature to identify arrestees and inmates in a matter of seconds: their eyes.

The Inmate Recognition Identification System takes a picture of someone’s eyes and searches the national I.R.I.S. database for a match. If there’s a match, officers will be able to see the person’s criminal record and any outstanding warrants in less than 25 seconds.

I.R.I.S. won’t replace other methods of identification, like fingerprints, but it will make identifying offenders easier. 

Sheriff John Layton said Thursday that I.R.I.S is another tool officers can use to protect citizens: 

“Criminals often try to change their identities to avoid accurate identification and prosecution for crimes they have committed. This cutting-edge iris biometric technology is another tool in the arsenal of capabilities we have to protect our citizens.”

Sheriff Layton continued: “Accurate and timely identification of offenders is a necessity. This system is based on the most accurate biometric technology available –the human iris — and will enable our staff to positively identify an individual…regardless of when and where they were originally arrested and enrolled in the national I.R.I.S inventory.” 

Lt. Colonel James Martin, Marion County Jail Commander, said I.R.I.S cost between $14,000 – $15,000. The money came from the jail’s commissary account, which means Marion County taxpayers aren’t footing the bill —  the inmates are. 

Lt. Col. Martin is optimistic about the new tech and says, “You can’t escape the eye, it’s tied to that record no matter how many different names you use.”

(Photo by eternalcreative/iStock/Getty)