The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office first purchased a face recognition system in 2006 (015026). MCSO can search 14.5 million Arizona driver’s license photos, 3.2 million Arizona mug shots, and other databases, such as the DOJ’s Federal Joint Automated Booking System, which contains another 1.5 million booking photos (014954). In 2007, MCSO also enrolled all Honduran driver’s license and booking photos, provided by the Honduran government. (015058). Reasonable suspicion is not required for the MCSO to run a face recognition search (014949). African Americans are likely overrepresented in the system; they are arrested in Arizona at a rate 170% higher than their population share.
A specialized Facial Recognition Unit (FRU) runs the searches. Reviewers are instructed to “review the results and identify possible leads” and receive supervisor approval before returning possible leads to the requester (014963–014964). There are no records of any audits being conducted on the system (014949). The Arizona Department of Public Safety previously submitted face recognition search requests to the FRU, but in response to our records request indicated that it has not done so since 2013 (010717).
We understand that MCSO uses a system initially provided by Hummingbird Defense Systems, but it is unclear if this is the current provider, as well as what algorithm the system uses (014976).
Sources and Notes: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, U.S. Census (Last updated: September 2016). You can review our scorecard criteria in the Methodology section. Numerical citations, e.g. (123456), refer to official records available by clicking "View Documents" below.