“The Washington County Sherriff’s Office provides a good example of the use of facial recognition to assist law enforcement and improve public safety. The Washington County Sherriff’s department uses Amazon Rekognition to compare a crime scene image to its own collection of more than 300,000 booking photos and asks it to return the top 5 leads based on confidence levels to provide its officers with an additional input for solving cold cases. Before Rekognition, officers did the same thing manually by painstakingly examining mugshot photobooks, only more slowly and with less accuracy. Today, Rekognition provides the Washington County Sherriff’s Office police officers with another input among many other leads for a 100% human driven investigation.


Initially, the Washington County Sherriff’s Office discovered Rekognition on their own as an effective means of identifying leads in cold cases that police officers could use to advance stalled investigations. Subsequently, AWS and the Washington County Sherriff’s Office worked together on the design of an architecture and best practices around the use of the technology, including the proper use of confidence levels and returned leads for cold case investigations. Since then, Rekognition has proven effective at helping officers identify leads, advance investigations, and apprehend potentially dangerous suspects that might otherwise escape detection. Rekognition provides law enforcement with another tool, which can be thought of as a 21st century mugshot booklet, among a variety of other inputs that officers rely on to solve crimes. From the start, the Washington County Sherriff’s Office has been fully transparent about its use of the technology and the policies that govern it, and it has engaged in ongoing, open dialogue with local legislatures, representatives, and the general public around its use. During the two years of its use, there has never been a single reported complaint from the public and no issues with the local constituency around their use of Rekognition. We are proud to work with all our law enforcement customers, including the Washington County Sherriff’s Office, in partnership with the public and local governments to aid investigations of dangerous crimes, assist law enforcement, and improve public safety.”

– AWS spokesperson