Horry County jail gets new technology aimed at identifying immigrants with criminal pasts


The Horry County Sheriff's Office has been approved for a fingerprinting program from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement sector.

"287 (G) at its core is a screening tool," said Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesperson.

Right now, whenever J. Reuben Long Detention Center identifies an inmate born in another country, there is a time-consuming screening process that must be undertaken.

"To notify immigration that the person has been arrested, and then immigration will do their search and their investigation to determine if the person needs to have a detainer placed on them," said Susan Safford, captain of support services with the Horry County Sheriff's Office.

The new process will be a lot simpler because the 287 (G) program will be in place at J. Reuben to scan an inmate's fingers and provide relevant information about the individual.

"Sometimes these individuals have used different identities, different names. They may be arrested in Myrtle Beach on a seemingly low-level crime, but that same person on a totally different identity may be a violent criminal," said Cox.

"If they already have the fingerprints on file, and they know that they've already deported this particular individual, then when we run the prints the prints are going to match with the person that they've already had an encounter with," said Safford.

Cox says the tool will make everyone safer.

"It's important for officer safety, public safety, for them to know who that they have encountered in their jail," said Cox.

Officials say four Horry County corrections officers will be trained on the program in February, then four more will be trained later in the year.

Horry County is one of four counties in South Carolina to have the program.

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