The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Automated Fingerprint Machines

Reference Number: MTAS-348
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: May 09, 2016
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While the purchase of automated fingerprint machines qualifies as nonrecurring general law enforcement expenditure, there are special statutory regulations pertaining to these purchases.

All agencies must set aside 20 percent of their Drug Fund revenues each year toward the purchase of an automated fingerprint machine until they actually purchase the machine or until they enter into an agreement with another agency that has a machine to do fingerprinting. These agreements most often occur between a city police department and a county sheriff’s department. The 20 percent  set aside can be accounted for in a separate reserve account, or it can be left in the Drug Fund special revenue account.

Once an automated fingerprint machine is purchased, or the city has entered into an agreement with an agency that has one of the machines, the city may use up to 20 percent of each year’s Drug Fund revenues to pay for some operational costs of the fingerprint machine, including telephone line charges, software maintenance contracts and hardware maintenance contracts. These operational costs should be included in any agreement the city has with another agency to perform its fingerprinting.

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