Facial Recognition Technology

Sheriff's Office Ends Facial Recognition Program

June 10, 2020

In response to concerns from our community, and our technology provider Amazon, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office is ending its facial recognition program. The program was piloted in 2017 and has been used to assist investigators in identifying suspects in criminal cases.

While our groundbreaking policy offered a responsible and ethical model for use of the new technology across the country, it remains unregulated at a state and federal level. In addition, the Sheriff’s Office recognizes that our communities of color have expressed concerns over possible bias by the technology and we want to be sensitive to those feelings. While we could solicit another facial recognition provider, we concluded discontinuing the program best matches community values.

This program was an innovation in law enforcement technology worth exploring, but given our community's sentiments, and our collective desire to prioritize equity, our program is discontinued.