By: William Tyree April 12, 2017

Around the world, there are a lot of law enforcement agencies using face recognition to keep officers and communities safer. To explore some of the most useful ways that law enforcement agencies are using facial recognition software today, we recently hosted a webinar featuring FaceFirst President Tom Melzl and Lloyd Muenzer, an analyst at the Automated Regional Justice Information System (ARJIS). ARJIS works with over 80 agencies including local police departments, FBI, DEA, ATF, DOJ and more.

From our webinar (which is free to watch on demand), here are 5 of the most impactful ways that law enforcement agencies are using facial recognition software.

Keep Patrol Officers Safer

Patrol officers are currently using facial recognition in the field to help quickly identify suspects. From 3-12 feet away, officers can use their mobile face recognition app to quickly snap pictures of an individual and match that person against a large database of photos in just seconds.

According to Lloyd Muenzer, prior to implementing facial recognition: “The officer would ask the person’s name, date of birth, they would go through dispatch over the radio and ask them to run the person to see if there is a record somewhere. And then the dispatcher would come back with either [that] there is no record or ‘yeah this person exists and here’s the physical description’ and they’d literally have to do that by voice.”

The time that it took to ID suspects potentially put officers at risk. Whereas now, it only takes seconds for officers using FaceFirst to know who they’re dealing with. And if they discover that the suspect is a dangerous criminal with an outstanding warrant, they can quickly call for backup.

Minimize False Arrests

While no facial recognition solutions have 100% matching accuracy, FaceFirst has the most accurate face recognition in the industry. As a result, officers can know with a high degree of certainty when a suspect matches an individual in their database. Using facial recognition can virtually eliminate any unnecessary paperwork or lawsuits that are associated with false arrests.

Catch More Bad Guys

In addition to minimizing false arrests, facial recognition can help officers arrest more of the right people. According to Muenzer, “More often than not the person has a driver’s license with them or some form of identification generally with a picture on it where they can be identified and the officer’s happy with that. But there are occasions when they say ‘oh I left my wallet at home.’ Or ‘I lost my license’ or whatever reason they don’t have something with them.” In these cases, facial recognition can help officers confirm whether they should arrest a suspect.


In addition to using mobile cameras for facial recognition, fixed cameras can be used to help keep security operation centers, workstations, precincts and other important areas safe. Alerts can be instantly sent when dangerous individuals are approaching a sensitive area.

Forensic Investigations

Another important use case is for forensic investigations. Facial recognition software can match faces in surveillance footage from mobile devices stationary cameras and more. And, according to Muenzer, it has even been used to positively identify dead bodies. Face recognition can therefore radically accelerate investigations.

Want to learn more about how face recognition is transforming law enforcement? Watch our webinar on demand.