The Virginia driver’s license, with its unique hologram, is one of the country’s most secure identification documents, yet there are still individuals who try to duplicate it.
“With the advent of high resolution cameras, digital printers and computers, it’s easier for underage kids anywhere to acquire a sharp looking fake ID,” said Joseph Cannon, a special agent in charge at Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
It’s becoming harder, however, for minors to use fake IDs because of the ongoing training Virginia ABC agents are providing to other law enforcement agencies. Cannon and ABC Senior Special Agent David Huff, the agency’s two experts on fraudulent identification, are helping to lead the way by training enforcement personnel across the country to recognize false documents. Earlier this month Cannon spoke at the fifth annual Northwest Alcohol Conference hosted by the Boise Police Department.
Cannon and Huff, with more than 50 years combined experience in security and law enforcement, conduct training on fraudulent documents for ABC agents and are routinely sought after by civilian and DOD police across the country for current information.
“It’s always been easy for the untrained eye to be fooled by fake IDs and the new generation of forged IDs is good enough to fooled the trained eye. That’s why on-going training is so crucial,” said Huff.
Huff serves as an instructor for the Hampton Roads Regional Academy for Criminal Justice and regularly speaks at academies and in-services. Earlier this month he trained enforcement in Virginia Beach at the fifth annual counter terrorism / criminal training seminar co-hosted by ABC and the FBI Norfolk field office. In August he will train DOD police at the Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk.
“It’s not just kids who are in the market for fake IDs,” Huff said. “The proliferation of fraudulent documents and false identifications poses one of the most challenging threats to law enforcement in the post 9-11 world.”
Cannon, an instructor for the National Liquor Law Enforcement Academy, has presented training seminars for the organization in West Virginia and for Delaware’s safety and homeland security agency. Their typical classes, usually limited to 20 – 40 individuals, provide hands-on exercises for detecting fake IDs along with key indicators and security features.
“Technology has certainly made the availability of fake IDs easier, but ABC agents and other law enforcement personnel are also becoming more savvy in spotting fraudulent documents,” Cannon said. Because of ABC’s experts, enforcement personnel are getting a better handle on recognizing even the best forgeries.