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Statewide Automated Biometric Identification System (SABIS)

Carmen Walling, SABIS Site Manager - Western Region

The Statewide Automated Biometric Identification System (SABIS) is comprised of 19 regional, 1 Federal and 3 satellite examination sites that are located in New York State. The main sites are located in Albany at the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and NY State Police Headquarters. The Western New York region encompassing more than 70 law enforcement agencies throughout the four Counties of Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany, is served by the Erie County Central Police Services SABIS site, headquartered at the CPS' main office located at Erie County’s Public Safety Campus at 45 Elm Street - Room 209, Buffalo, New York 14203.

The New York State Criminal History Record (CHRI) Database located in Albany is the primary system for fingerprint, palmprint, and iris scan identification. These prints stored on the mainframe database, are taken when persons are arrested for a finger printable offense (including almost all persons arrested for a felony without regard to age); for every active parolee and from all police applicants.

Structured within the CHRI database is the SABIS System, an investigative tool using a dynamic search of more than 8,110,660 10-print records, accessing three separate fingerprint files:

  1. Latent Cognizant File consisting of all 10 fingerprints for selected crimes and categories. It is used to identify crime scene fingerprints and its greatest ability is to help identify suspects through "cold searches". This file contains 3,287,750 records or over 30 million print images.
  2. Tenprint File has over 4,724,000 images of "index fingers". It consists of pistol permit applicants, license applicants such as bus drivers and those arrested for lesser crimes.
  3. Unsolved Latent File contains all "fingerprint lifts" that were not identified. It has over 99,028 images on file with an increase in the number of hits from this file noted yearly.

Use of the Criminal History Record Database is not limited to suspects in custody, licensing or law enforcement applicants. Good quality fingerprint images taken from crime scenes can be traced through SABIS and could result in identifying a suspect who may be responsible for committing a crime under investigation. With fingerprints determined to be a unique individual identifier, the matching of prints taken from a suspect or from the scene of a crime, is a reliable tool used in crime-solving techniques by all Criminal Justice Investigators.

DJCS also provides access to the FBI's IAFIS System through the Remote Fingerprint Editing Software (RFES). This allows for a latent search of the FBI database of all 50 states (over 48 million individuals) after a search of the SABIS database has proven negative. The Western Site became the "pilot" site in November 2000 and prints can now be search from this region.

Fingerprint searches are processed by police investigators and/or the SABIS Site support personnel. The Central Police Services SABIS site is managed by a New York State SABIS Certified Latent Examiner (CSLE). A yearly proficiency test is required by DCJS for one to maintain this certification.

 Graduating SABIS Case Statistics







Total Cases Entered




Total Prints Entered (can be several per case)




Total Hits (Positive Identifications)




Total cases by crime 2014:

Burglary 180
Homicide 16
Identification/Dead Print 11
Robbery (incl Banks) 21
Rape/Sex Assault 2
Grand Larceny (Auto) 7
Grand Larceny 13
Aggrivated Harassment 2
Assault 9
Criminal Trespass 13
Petit Larceny 18
Shooting 7
Other 30

Total cases by agency 2014:

Buffalo 114
Cheektowaga 45
Amherst 44
Niagara Falls 41
Niagara County Sheriff 34
Town of Tonawanda 18
Town of Hamburg 13
Orchard Park 8
City of Tonawanda 7
Erie County Sheriff 4
Lancaster 3
Lackawanna 3
City of Lockport 2
Town of West Seneca 1
Village of Kenmore 1
Canisius College 1