Fingerprints key to identity of unconscious hospital patients

Every expat who has applied for residency has had a set of fingerprints taken at the security ministry in Barrio Córdoba.

But there are those who cannot make the trip there. The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policia y Seguridad Pública noted Monday that its fingerprint experts have managed to identify this year 17 patients who were unconscious in local hospitals due to some type of injury.

More routine are the 300 or so persons who arrive at the ministry each working day for residency fingerprinting or perhaps to obtain a firearms permit.

Less routine is what happened Sunday near Avenida 8 in San José. Two police officers stopped a suspicious character and were not satisfied with the name he gave.  The man had good reason to give the name of his brother because a fingerprint check showed he was wanted for rape.

The name of the division is the Sección de Dactiloscopia, and there is immediate access to 3.5 million sets of fingerprints. Then there is the hookup with other police agencies. The section is celebrating its 85th anniversary this month. The section also handles nearly all the fingerprint work of other law enforcement agencies, including that of the Judicial Investigating Organization.

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