In 2013, 30,000 suspected criminals whose charges included sex crimes, assaults and murder were not fingerprinted by Pennsylvania police, according to state records.
State law requires that suspected offenders be fingerprinted within 48 hours of arrest.
So, if thousands of people aren’t getting fingerprinted, whose fault is it?
“It’s up to the police to do it. It’s a mandatory function. It’s not anybody else’s job but the arresting department,” said Eric Radnovich, director of the Bureau of Justice Services at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.
But police often pass the buck, relying on judges, jailers or even defendants themselves to be sure prints are made. In many cases, prints are made more than a year later, if they’re made at all.