Sunday, February 21, 2016

I was fingerprinted

This past week, I was at two police stations and fingerprinted at one of them. Now don't worry, I've not turned to a life of crime. It's just the opposite. This is going to sound a little odd, but for Valentine's Day my husband and I applied for our concealed carry gun permits. That may not sound romantic to some of you, but my husband and I share a love of sport shooting.

It's in his genes and was passed to me when we got married. He and his father owned a gunsmith shop, not to mention that they were both police officers at different times. My husband was a town police officer when we met and after he was hired as a deputy sheriff, talked my mother and I into getting our first gun permits about thirty-five years ago. He was the first person to take my fingerprints when I applied for that gun permit. How romantic, right?

Back then, fingerprints were taken with ink and wow, what a mess! Since we were dating, he came to my house and fingerprinted my mom and I at our kitchen counter. Permits back then were paper applications that had to be filled out and, along with the fingerprint card, like you see on the right, were mailed with your payment to the State Police for processing and approval. Those permits expired after four years and at the end of my four years, my husband had moved on to another job.

To reapply, I had to go through the whole process again. By then we had gotten married and he moved on to a different job. We were living within city limits then and I had to apply with the town police department first and get fingerprinted there. That was interesting too because the officer that fingerprinted me then was a friend from high school. We laughed so much, I didn't think he was ever going to get my prints done well enough to read. Time went by and that permit expired and I never got around to getting it renewed. We had started a family and for me, the sport of shooting took a backseat to diapers, toys, and well, sleep.

The State I live in now has a lifetime concealed carry permit and we have talked about each of us getting one for a long time. On Valentine's Day, while we were both sitting at our computers, I suggested that maybe now was a good time to apply for our permits. So, at the same time, both us started filling out the applications, which are now online. We scheduled our appointments at the city police department south of where we live to get our fingerprints done. Then, on Wednesday went to have them done.

Things sure have changed since the last time I was fingerprinted. It's all digital now, no more inky fingers to try and get clean afterward. The officer, who by the way looked like a teenager to me, sprayed my hand with water and told me to rub them together for a few seconds. Then, he took each finger and rolled them on the glass-topped device. The print popped up on the computer screen and indicated if the print was readable or not. He had a little problem with me and had to re-roll three of them. He said the ring finger is always the hardest, but my pinky finger on my left hand proved the most difficult. That was the last one he had to take and it took three tries to finally get a readable print. My husband was next and he said his all went through the first time. After we left there with our confirmation of getting our prints taken, we had to stop by the Sheriff's Department for them to complete the process. Thus, fingerprinted and then at two police departments on the same day. Now, we just wait for the applications to be approved and receive our permits in the mail.

As a writer of mystery and suspense, I found this experience invaluable as research for a future book. Hmmm, I wonder if I can write this off on my taxes as a research expense?

Carol