- Thursday, November 30, 2006 Prison Blazes Technological Trail With Kiosks Allentown Morning Call (11/26/06); Varghese, Romy Lehigh County Prison inMessage 1 of 18 , Nov 30, 2006View Source
Thursday, November 30, 2006
"Prison Blazes Technological Trail With Kiosks"
Allentown Morning Call (11/26/06); Varghese, Romy
Lehigh County Prison in Pennsylvania will be in installing an ATM-like kiosk for friends and family members of inmates to deposit money into inmate accounts. The system will replace an intake clerk while expanding deposit hours to 14 hours per day, seven days per week. Compass Group USA will operate the kiosk as well as the commissary under a three-year contract that will cost Lehigh County Prison nothing. In fact the prison will receive 37 percent of gross sales, says Lehigh director of corrections Edward Sweeney. There will be fees to deposit into inmate accounts, such as a $1 fee for a $50 deposit or less, or a $2.50 fee for over $50. Inmates can use their accounts to purchase goods at the commissary or receive cash when they are released.
"Police Use 'Black Box' Data to Investigate Car Crashes"
Associated Press (11/26/06)
Police in Ohio have used the event data recorders installed in newer vehicles in 43 accident investigations to determine culpability. "As opposed to wondering what happened, this black box takes all the guessing out of it," says Carmen Naso, an assistant prosecutor in Cuyahoga County . These "black boxes" can provide information on speed at the time of an accident, throttle pressure, and whether the brake was applied and a seat belt worn. Nearly 64 percent of all of last year's car models have the equipment, unknown to many owners. However, automakers will be required to disclose the existence of the recorders in owner manuals starting with 2011 models.
"Virtual 911 Tackles Online Child Threats"
Washington Times (11/24/06) P. A4; Seper, Jerry
American, British, Canadian, and Australian police officials are partnering in an effort to curb crimes committed against children via the Internet. The Virtual Global Taskforce seeks to establish a "police presence" on the Web to protect children in partnering countries, according to the initiative's chairman, Jim Gamble. Investigators will share information concerning potential threats and can respond quickly to arrest suspects. A law enforcement agency in each member country shares the responsibility of monitoring Internet-based threats at different times of the day. The member countries indicated that they are interested in exploring the possibility of holding talks with industry officials about employing technologies that increase the safety of children. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20061123-111736-8505r.htm
"Posse Segways Into Mall Patrol Duties Over Holidays"
East Valley Tribune (AZ) (11/24/06); Martin, Nick
Maricopa County Sheriffs in Arizona will be patrolling area malls this holiday shopping season and using Segway Personal Transporters to do it. The department has decided to use Segways because these devices can move police officers quickly, and because they raise officers eight inches off the ground so officers can peer above and across crowds. Segway is now marketing two Segway models specifically designed for police use. Maricopa County began its holiday mall patrol in 1993, last year including some members of the heavily armed SWAT team, which drew criticism as too much. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/index.php?sty=79519
"Police Getting New Guns"
Rock Hill Herald (SC) (11/25/06); Garfield, Matt
The Rock Hill Police Department has supplied roughly four-fifths of its police officers with Glock handguns. The majority of officers working at other police agencies in York County already carry Glock pistols. Rock Hill Police previously used Smith & Wesson pistols, which feature the same firing and operating features of the Glock. However, the Glock is manufactured from materials that offer greater protection against rust and also have an extra safety mechanism.
"Police Say Their Study Supports Request for More Tasers"
Columbus Dispatch (OH) (11/25/06) P. 1A; Ferenchik, Mark
The controversy over the safety of Tasers has not stopped the Columbus police department from attempting to purchase an additional 110. Two years ago, the City Council approved a $229,658 contract for the city to purchase 200 Tasers. Since Tasers have been introduced, police have used Mace and batons less frequently, says Barb Seckler, Deputy Public Safety Director. The Tasers cost $100,000. The City Council is planning a meeting to discuss a police report on last year's Taser use and review the department's request. The report will be presented by Brian Bruce at the Police Division's defensive tactics unit, along with the division's Taser expert. Taser use was effective 70 percent of the time, according to Bruce. Others are not so sure about its effectiveness. "The concern is less about the technology and more about the person wielding the technology," says Gary Daniels at the ACLU of Ohio. Currently, more than 500 Ohio law enforcement agencies use Tasers. http://www.columbusdispatch.com/news/news.php?story=dispatch/news/news_archive_v3.php
" U.S. Shares Fingerprint Database"
Ventura County Star (CA) (11/26/06); Scheibe, John
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is taking advantage of the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department's move to provide local law enforcement agencies with faster access to electronic fingerprint databases. Suspects were often freed in the past without police knowing whether they were wanted for other crimes because of the time required to conduct background checks. The new federal initiative has helped officers to more quickly identify illegal immigrants. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department, which is not benefiting from the faster access, reportedly plans to introduce a field system in roughly a year that will allow patrolling officers to conduct quick background checks. U.S. officials hope to grant all law enforcement agencies in the nation the opportunity to expedite background checks within two years.
"Helmet-Cams Help Police Crack Down on Crime"
CNet (11/21/06); Ferguson , Tim
U.K. police officers in the Haringey area of London will be using helmet-mounted digital cameras as a new crime-fighting and evidence-gathering tool as part of Operation Aventail. These AA battery-sized cameras store images on a special utility belt. The whole system costs around $3,402. Haringey Detective Superintendent Richard Wood says these small helmet cameras will help officers gather and provide "evidence" to document offenses and bring charges. If this limited use works, other Haringey officers may begin to adopt helmet-mounted digital cameras, says Wood.
"Squad Car Locators Blocked"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (11/23/06); Diedrich, John
Every squad car in Milwaukee 's District 7 now has to be checked during patrol and at the start of every shift after Capt. Donald Gaglione noticed foil wrapped around the global positioning system (GPS) antennas on police cars this past summer. The foil was apparently placed there to disable the GPS, which makes the car invisible to dispatchers. GPS devices can be used against officers by internal investigators. For instance, one assistant chief was fired when the GPS found his residence to be outside Milwaukee . Some say the incident is proof that the Fire and Police Commission should pay close attention to police behavior. The department installed GPS trackers in 2004 to roughly 650 of its squad cars. Milwaukee Police Association President John Balcerzak says he was not aware of the foil incident and that the union supports the system. "The MPA is not condoning disabling GPS or any other equipment issued to officers," he explains. "We would discourage anyone who might be thinking about doing that." An internal investigation into the incident has not been opened because someone besides officers may have sabotaged the vehicles. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=534578
"Eyes In the Sky Help Kentucky Authorities Cut Marijuana Trade"
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) (11/27/06)
This year, Kentucky police burned 557,276 marijuana plants, a nearly 50,000 increase from last year. The Kentucky National Guard first started their efforts to destroy marijuana plants back in 1986 and that effort is still ongoing. Police made 475 arrests this year compared to 452 last year. Help has been coming in the form of helicopters and airplanes, which were brought in by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for six weeks this past summer. "Anybody in this business will tell you the more eyes you get in the sky, the more dope you'll find," said Lt. Ed Shemelya of the Kentucky State Police. Kentucky is one of the top-ranked outdoor marijuana producers in the country. Marijuana growers have become more sophisticated at hiding their plants, which is why Kentucky employs the use of the police, troops, and several state and federal agencies to assist with eradication. "They don't like the state police coming in messing with their economy," said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb. Kentucky came in second to California last year in the number of eradicated plants, according to the DEA.
"Schools Train for Shooters"
Fort Payne Times-Journal (11/22/06); Burns, Kati
School counselors, school principals, and other school officials in DeKalb County , Ala. , recently received a two-day tutorial on preparing for a school shooting. Local law enforcement agents also attended the "Responding to Active Shooter Incidents for Patrol Officers" program, which was led by law enforcement officials associated with the University of North Alabama 's Law Enforcement Training Center . The first part of the program, which consisted of a slide show and lecture, covered an array of topics, including school and workplace shootings; the tactics and equipment needed to immediately respond to such shootings; emergency planning for schools and workplaces; profiles of school shooters; how to respond to the media; a historical overview of school shootings; and tactics for rescuing downed officers. The second part of the program featured a live mock exercise at a local high school in which law enforcement reacted to a shooter inside the building. School officials were advised not to allow students to participate in mock exercises, because there has been at least one incident in the past where a student who participated in an exercise used this knowledge to launch a real attack on a school. http://www.times-journal.com
"Completing the Data Puzzle"
Government Technology (11/06) Vol. 19, No. 11, P. 36; McKay, Jim
The sharing of critical data by police across the state of Florida is a major issue. The University of Central Florida implemented the Florida Integrated Network for Data Exchange and Retrieval (FINDER) system in 2003, and similar regional systems in Pensacola , Tampa , and Jacksonville were later launched. There is no communication between these four regional systems, so last year the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) embarked on Florida Law Enforcement Exchange (FLEX), a project to create compatible information systems to serve Florida's three remaining regions along with the department, and eventually connect to the other systems to form a statewide platform for information exchange. The first stage in FLEX's implementation, the development of similar data vocabulary across the state's seven regions, is complete. Stage two will involve the equipage of the three new regional projects with a common communications architecture, and the final stage will constitute the deployment of an analytical visualization application for mining information and developing investigative leads. By complying with the Global Justice XML Data Model, the systems will facilitate the statewide sharing of information. There will be one server or node in the FLEX system for each region and the FDLE, with data warehousing performed by each node. It is up to the individual regions as to what kind of data will be warehoused, but all data will be accessible to properly authorized law enforcement staff across the state. http://www.govtech.net/magazine/story.php?id=102123
"Talk Isn't Cheap"
Federal Computer Week (11/13/06) Vol. 20, No. 39, P. 33; Joch, Alan
Lack of interoperability between radio systems continues to be a vexing problems in many areas, as individual jurisdictions have had some success making their various agencies' systems interoperable but there has been more difficulty getting things aligned with neighboring jurisdictions. The ultimate answer could be for everyone to adopt industry-standard Project 25 systems and handsets, but the migration is costly and slow so far, so many officials have been looking at other solutions for the interim. Some ideas in use are having neighboring jurisdictions buy multiple radios so they can communicate with each other, putting together gateways to translate between different communications systems, or creating networks that can transmit radio communications that have been converted into data packets. The gateway concept uses system-to-system packages or voice-to-IP conversion, through systems available from companies such as Raytheon JPS, Motorola, Maycom, and SmartLink. Meanwhile, the network approach--vendors include Cisco Systems, Awins, and Codespear--links radio towers directly to network routers, which has the advantage of being able to handle many types of analog and digital systems as well as IP and cellular devices. One region that has put the network approach into practice is the area around Danville, Va., where regional officials found it to be more cost effective than other alternative such as adopting common frequencies or using repeaters to extend the city's radio coverage--Cisco is paying to put this system in place, with potential plans to charge for maintenance once it is working. A similar system is in place in Livingston County , Mich. , but rather than link radio towers permanently to network routers, the county is using portable IP-based Codespear units along with Codespear's SmartMsg and Radio Interoperability Module. Implementing such a system requires non-technical management savvy as well: officials should have a long-range plan in place, seek stakeholder input and build consensus, put together a governance board for policy questions and modifications, and prepare ahead of time for potential manpower issues. http://www.fcw.com/article96766-11-13-06-Print
" City Port Security Gets Boost"
Chicago Tribune (11/29/06); Hilkevitch, Jon
For the first time ever, ports in the Chicago region have been listed on the top 100 most critical seaports in the country, and along with that ranking has come an influx of federal funding to help improve port security in the region. For the previous four years, Chicago received just $300,000 in federal funding for securing its ports, but this year the U.S. government is distributing $11.5 million in security funding to the ports, including $7.5 million to Chicago . The funding will be used to increase the amount of video surveillance at the ports; to enhance communications among local, state, and federal agencies; and to outfit container shipments with intrusion-detection security technology. As is typically the case at other U.S. ports, only roughly 5 percent of incoming cargo is randomly inspected at Chicago ports, and no cargo containers are X-rayed. Chicago is also applying for an additional $4 million to equip the Port of Chicago with security and inspection devices. Local officials at the Port of Chicago said that their greatest fear is that the port--which provides access to countless freight trains, long-haul trucks, ocean vessels, and river barges--will be targeted by a dirty bomb hidden inside a cargo container.
"NM Tech Designing High-Tech Mobile Command Shelter"
New Mexico Business Weekly (11/13/06); Trenkle, Jason
The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (N.M. Tech) plans to build a $5 million movable command center/shelter in Playas, N.M., that will also be used as a federal training site. The structure, dubbed the Command and Control System, may also be used to monitor illegal aliens along the country's border with Mexico , says Greg Mansfield, developer of the system at N.M. Tech. The shelter would resemble a trailer, but would be well protected from the weather, radiation, and electromagnetic interference, says Mansfield . The structure would be made from carbon, glass fiber, and composite materials in collaboration with a company called Alkan Shelters. A similar unit is now being used at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which employs the unit to perform nuclear contingency training, according to Lauren Whitehurst at Presence, an Alkan marketing affiliate. In addition, the shelter would be able to protect equipment that is used to deploy information in real time to distant central command centers. N.M. Tech has a roughly $1 million contract with the Department of Defense (DOD) to train DOD employees and enhance infrastructure. In 2003, the institute acquired a large section of land in Playas, and currently uses it to train members of the Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and the Army National Guard. http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2006/11/13/story12.html
- Thursday, December 7, 2006 Cops Add Web Tools as a Way to Connect Sacramento Bee (CA) (12/03/06) P. B1; Lillis, Ryan The Sacramento Police DepartmentMessage 2 of 18 , Dec 8, 2006View Source
Thursday, December 7, 2006
"Cops Add Web Tools as a Way to Connect"
Sacramento Bee (CA) (12/03/06) P. B1; Lillis, Ryan
The Sacramento Police Department has developed a blog that is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The blog expands how the department uses the Internet, for example by responding to queries from citizens, launching podcasts to attract new hires, and making online crime reports more accessible. The blog was initially released in August, and now boasts almost 100 user accounts. Users can post questions through a feature called "Ask Officer Michelle," which is handled by Officer Michelle Lazark. One person, for example, recently posted a question about how to handle a witnessed crime. SPD Police Chief Albert Najera is now mulling the creation of an internal blog to help him communicate with the police force's 1,200 employees. "Anything you can do to make a police officer seem less threatening and more like a real person is very positive," Wayne Barte with the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization. "And it gives people a vehicle for finding out information that they flat out don't know." http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/86718.html
"Eye on Crime"
Indianapolis Star (12/01/06) P. 1; Ryckaert, Vic
The city of Indianapolis will use 27 monitoring cameras at high crime areas to discourage drug dealing and other criminal activities. The first camera was scheduled to begin operating late last week, while the rest of the cameras will go into service during the next three months. Fourteen or more cameras will be placed in the city's metropolitan areas and close to important infrastructure. Placement of the cameras, which is largely being paid for through a $1 million federal grant, was determined by crime figures. Installation of individual cameras will require an investment of roughly $14,000. Police agencies in a number of cities, such as Boston and Dallas , have used cameras to monitor areas and deter crime. Cameras installed in some areas of Chicago have contributed to a 30 percent drop in criminal activity. http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612010455
"New Radio System Links Macomb Law Enforcers"
Detroit News (12/01/06) P. 4B; Ramirez, Charles E.
The Macomb County Sheriff's Office recently launched a public safety radio network that connects local police and fire departments to other law enforcement and emergency agencies in the state. The new system replaces communication technology that the Sheriff's Office relied on for roughly three decades. Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel projects that the system will be used by nearly all police, fire, and emergency agencies in the country within the next 24 months. The new system allows dispatchers to respond more quickly to more than one call. http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061201/METRO03/612010346&SearchID=73265040456428
"Cops' Use of Cell Phones Scrutinized"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (12/01/06) P. A1; Ratcliffe, Heather
The St. Louis police department in June 2006 issued a rule preventing police officers from using earpiece cell phones on patrol. Some special units and police commanders still will have official cell phones, but officers are expected to communicate via police radio, says St. Louis Sgt. Sam Dotson. Alton Police Chief Chris Sullivan does not believe cell phones are a problem for his police force, and likens cell phone abuse to any other device overuse to be handled through normal channels. The St. Louis County Police currently are re-examining their cell phone policy in light of the city's move. Some police instructors argue that cell phones distract officers from their surroundings. Others contend cell phones can help an officer communicate during an emergency, or when police lines are busy, broken, or jammed.
"Little Proof That Cameras Are Effective"
Chicago Tribune (12/03/06) P. C2; Schachter, Jonathan M.
Chicago has been placing more surveillance cameras in high-crime and "sensitive" locations, typically with significant support from the public and amid much publicity. But Jonathan Schachter, a lecturer in public policy and administration at Northwestern University , says municipal data indicates that the city's overall crime rate has remained even. This implies that crime may have moved to areas without cameras. But city officials such as Monique Bond with the police department say cameras have helped slash crime at the sites where cameras have been installed. In Baltimore , however, video cameras have not helped solve any violent crimes there, says the state's attorney's office. Moreover, 40 percent of the more than 500 camera-based cases involving non-violent crimes submitted to prosecutors have been shelved. Schachter asserts that more investments should be made in appointing more police officers rather than in camera systems. He also believes it is important to invest in specialized crime-fighting units and make citizens more involved in crime prevention.
"Computertask Force Is a High Priority"
Evansville Courier & Press (IN) (12/04/06); Nesbitt, Jimmy
Vanderburgh County is all set to have a new task force that will investigate computer crimes such as child pornography, credit card fraud, and identity theft. Investigators will focus on crimes committed against children. The task force will consist of the Sheriff's Department, the prosecutor's office, and the Evansville Police Department. The joint effort will be established as soon as Eric Williams takes over as sheriff of Vanderburgh County . The proposal is not official yet, but Williams says he would like to start by the middle of next year. The number of computer crimes have gone up in the last five years, according to the Sheriff's Department. Detective Matt Hill at the Sheriff's Department says it can take up to six months to investigate a crime. The Evansville Police Department has three computer crimes investigators, but Hill says the task force needs at least five. Williams says state and federal authorities may possibly take part in the task force. "When you start talking about Internet-related crimes and computer-related crimes, jurisdictional boundaries become very, very faint at best," says Williams.
"Police Get Communications Vehicle"
Lebanon Daily News (PA) (11/29/06); Sholly, Chris
The Hershey Police Department has acquired a mobile-communications vehicle that can be used for conducting security operations. The vehicle, which will also be available for use by other local law enforcement agencies, is equipped with cell phones, Direct TV, a mapping system, and Internet-enabled SmartBoard Screen. The department used multiple grants to pay the $400,000 cost of purchasing the vehicle. The unit's technology enables it to serve during emergency operations, such as when major storms strike the area.
"Police Cars Getting Digital Cameras"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (11/30/06); Bleed, Jake
The Little Rock Police Department is getting a new fleet of police cruisers featuring new technologies. The vehicles will be equipped with digital cameras as well as computer equipment that stores digital files rather than VHS footage. The equipment will replace the department's existing system that comprises up to 1,000 videocassettes at any given time. The new digital cameras will have superior recording and sound capabilities and will also be easier to manage. Furthermore, they will eliminate the need to purchase, handle, and store videocassettes. Footage from the new cameras will be instantly transmitted via a wireless link from cruisers' computers to a server in the police garage. Officers will also be able to transfer footage via email. The upgrades are part of a two-year improvement effort of the department that is being funded by $1.2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice.
"Palm Reading Joins Ranks of the Crime-Fighting Tools"
Chicago Tribune (11/30/06) P. 6; Yang, Tony C.
The Chicago Police Department has deployed electronic palm readers to process arrests by recording the entire palm. The Live Scan fingerprint scanners are high-tech gadgets that work like copy machines and allow state and federal authorities to share information, says Marikay Hegarty at the Chicago Police Department. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority provided an $829,000 grant for the department to purchase 37 Motorola palm reading units. The new tools are faster than the old method of ink fingerprinting. Law enforcement officials can quickly find out if someone has a criminal record. The palm readers will replace the department's old fingerprinting system within the next two weeks.
"Mayor Backs Prompt Study of Taser Use"
Houston Chronicle (11/30/06) P. B1; Stiles, Matt; Glenn, Mike
Houston , Texas , Mayor Bill White has told the Houston City Council he wants an immediate, independent statistical study on how Tasers are being used on suspects of various ethnicities, and on whether Tasers are reducing injuries to police officers and reducing fatalities to suspects. Houston 's police have been using Tasers for two years now, and the mayor's request comes after an incident in which police officers used Tasers to subdue Houston Texan football player Fred Weary. According to Houston Police Department statistics for 2005, Tasers were used 64 percent of the time on African-Americans and 23 percent of the time on Hispanics, though African-Americans represent 23 percent of Houston 's population, and Hispanics 43 percent. The Houston police department says Tasers have been well studied in the department, have reduced injuries, and have saved lives. In terms of Fred Weary, Weary denies he was combative, and a judge already has dismissed resisting arrest charges against him. Houston City Controller Annise Parker is beginning a separate review on Taser use in Houston .
"Fingerprint Machine Only New for U. Kentucky-Area Police"
University Wire (11/30/06)
The Lexington , Ky. , police department received its first electronic fingerprinting device called Livescan in October 2006 and expects a second one for its forensics department before the year is over. Lexington police Sgt. James Decker expects training will be completed and the machines ready for use by January 2007. Livescan costs $24,000 for one machine and all accessories. The Lexington county jail has used a Livescan machine for the last 10 years. Electronic fingerprinting means not only faster processing of suspects and inmates, but the machine also automatically sends fingerprints to the FBI and other government agencies.
"Safety Vision, L.P. Expands PatrolRecorder Line of In-car Video"
Business Wire (11/22/06)
Safety Vision, a global provider of mobile digital video solutions, is expanding the PatrolRecorder line by introducing the PatrolRecorder CF and the PatrolRecorder RHD. Both mobile recorders provide law enforcement personnel with high quality mobile video recording in a digital format. The PatrolRecoder CF is a solid state mobile digital recorder with no moving parts and can store up to 13 hours of data. The PatrolRecorder RHD is able to store several shifts' worth of data with its removable 2.5" mobile-rated hard drive. Both units power up in less than four seconds and provide pre-event recording time of up to 60 seconds. A standard feature includes integrated GPS positioning, which tracks vital information such as location and speed for each recorded event. Data is retrievable by removing the compact flash card or hard drive, or using wireless technology. To assist police departments in managing and archiving collected data, a software application that integrates with database technology was developed for these units. Video files and corresponding metadata are stored in a database allowing efficient information retrieval as needed. http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20061122005555&newsLang=en
"Bridging the Gap Between First Responder and Citizen Caller"
Law Enforcement Technology (11/06) Vol. 33, No. 11, P. 76; Lorello, Tim
On a daily basis, first responders such as police officers and emergency medical personnel respond to incidents where they need to receive information as quickly as possible in order to make a difference. Over the past several decades, the flow of crucial data to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) has been streamlined to the point of near-perfection. However, the process of transmitting this data from the PSAP to first responders in the field has not gone as smoothly. New types of communications methods are evolving that could eventually make the exchange of this data automatic. One potential solution is the Next Generation 9-1-1 public safety infrastructure, which uses Internet Protocol interfaces that can support both data and voice. The FCC is examining the possibility of using text messaging and other types of data to accomplish the same goal, and the public safety industry has defined interfaces that support a range of data and voice services. http://www.officer.com/magazines/let/
"Cities Find New Uses For Crime Fighting Tool"
American City & County (11/06) Vol. 121, No. 12, P. 20; Brock, Ed
Cities of all sizes have begun correlating daily crime report data using Computerized Statistics (CompStat) programs in order to ensure criminal hotspots receive adequate attention from law enforcement officers. According to detective Jeff Godown, CompStat director for the Los Angeles Police Department, about 60 percent of U.S. cities utilize some variation of the program, which gives precinct commanders the power to direct law enforcement strategy and make the best of their often limited resources. "It allows you to put the cops where the crimes are occurring," said Godown. "There's a litany of different entities that we're starting to CompStat." The programs are also being implemented by local governments for other public services and can be used to file reports, track worker performance, gather 311 data, and generally improve efficiency and service. California 's Long Beach Police Department has seen crime continually decrease in the three years it has used CompStat, and local officials are now considering using such a system in a citywide performance management initiative currently in the works. The programs can save money by reducing overtime and absenteeism in major cities such as Baltimore , which expects to save $350 million in the first five years of its Citistat public works program after an initial investment of just $20,000. http://americancityandcounty.com/publicsafety/government_cities_find_new/
- Thursday, December 21, 2006 New Roadblocks to Drunk Driving Los Angeles Times (12/18/06) P. F1; Roan, Shari Although alcohol-related driving fatalities inMessage 3 of 18 , Dec 22, 2006View Source
Thursday, December 21, 2006
"New Roadblocks to Drunk Driving"
Los Angeles Times (12/18/06) P. F1; Roan, Shari
Although alcohol-related driving fatalities in the United States plummeted between 1982 and 1994, largely as a result of the efforts of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), they have since plateaued around 17,000 a year. The stalling of the downward trend in alcohol-related driving fatalities has prompted MADD to launch what it calls an "audacious" campaign to end drunk driving largely by using technology that may someday make it impossible to start a car when the driver is drunk. One example of this technology, ignition interlocks, are often ordered by judges for repeated DUI offenders as a condition of their probation after their driver's license has been reinstated. But now MADD is pushing for the use of interlocks for all convicted first-time offenders, a move that it says could save 1,600 lives a year. The increased use of interlocks could eventually pave the way for devices that could be installed in all new cars to help prevent drunk driving. Experts say devices that do not have Breathalyzers or require any action on the driver's part hold the most promise. One such device is a touch-based alcohol monitoring system that measures alcohol through the skin using infrared spectroscopy. The technology, developed by New Mexico-based TruTouch Technologies, would include a touchpad placed on a steering wheel or keychain that would measure the driver's alcohol level and transmit the information to the ignition system.
"Police Increasingly Watching Internet"
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) (12/18/06); Kridel, Kristen
Florida law enforcement agencies are increasingly obtaining funding to seek out criminals on the Internet, especially through social networking Web sites such as MySpace.com. As the offline world becomes more concerned with security, criminals often turn to the Internet to commit financial fraud, set up sales of illegal drugs, or seek victims of sexual abuse. Police evaluating these suspects' most likely forums for arranging these illegal activities have a powerful weapon in preventing their plans from becoming reality. Many users of online social-networking sites, especially teenagers, have an expectation that the personal information they publish on their sites will remain private, but it remains publicly accessible information that police have a responsibility to investigate when they come across it. The majority of online investigation goes toward tracking down sexual predators, with grants being dispersed by the Florida Department of Children & Families to fund computers and training programs for officers using the Internet to identify potential abusers. Because several Web sites are known forums for encouraging this type of activity, the search efforts are more efficient and more quickly target criminals than offline investigation would be. http://heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061218/NEWS/612180388/-1/xml
Sherman Denison Herald Democrat (12/17/06); Farmer, Mary Jane
The Denison , Texas , police force has been transforming itself with the latest radio, computing, and patrol car technology under a plan that has been well researched, says Denison Police Chief Jim Lovell. The Denison police force has 45 certified officers and 13 civilian staff members, and currently the force is replacing its Ford Crown Victoria cars with new 2006 Dodge Chargers. These new police cars have high-capacity radios that can pick up analog and digital transmission, tune into Homeland Security channels and other national channels, and use an encrypted SecureNet channel. Denison also is purchasing handheld radios for all its officers on a slow acquisition basis, because these handhelds cost the department $3,000 per device. The new patrol cars also have built-in computers for suspect research information and other communication and information needs. At the police station, almost every officer has their own computing work station as well. http://www.heralddemocrat.com/articles/2006/12/17/local_news/news04.txt
"Law's Eyes in the Sky"
Orlando Sentinel (FL) (12/17/06) P. J1; Reed, Kristen
The Volusia County, Fla., Sheriff's Office's fleet of three helicopters is indispensable to the large and growing county, because it allows law enforcement to respond to the farthest points in the county in a matter of minutes, said sheriff's representative Gary Davidson. The helicopters--which come equipped with a GPS systems and a street tracker to help crews determine where they are and where they need to go--are used for several reasons: Aerial surveillance, searching for suspects, narcotics investigations, medical emergencies, and fighting fires. In addition, crews fly across the county looking for things that seem out of place, such as abandoned cars or oil streaks in lakes, said flight paramedic Larry Higgins. So far, the use of the helicopters seems to be paying off. Last year, the helicopter assisted in 233 arrests, including the arrests of accused gang members trying to flee South Florida after a bank robbery in DeLand. However, the copters are aging and will soon be replaced. The new helicopters, the first of which will arrive in December 2008, will be equipped with night vision and video equipment that will allow the crews on board to transmit video to a mobile command center or a law-enforcement facility. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/volusia/orl-vairone1706dec17,0,488896.story
"Booking Goes High-Tech"
Telegram & Gazette (12/15/06) P. B1; Lee, Brian
Police no longer have to worry about fingerprinting errors or suspects who purposely try and disrupt the fingerprinting process with the new Electronic Fingerprinting Submission Device. The live fingerprinting scanner was purchased with a Cops More grant for less than $20,000. The device is equipped with a fingerprinting reader that has a low margin of error. "This thing will yell at you if you're not doing it right," says Lt. Carl G. Ekman. "You have to try to goof. And it doesn't get your hands dirty. It's a nice setup, and a long time coming." The department fingerprints between 800 and 1,000 people every year, according to Ekman. Police can now quickly determine a suspect's identity with the device. The device also allows local law enforcement to send images to the FBI's state police fingerprinting ID unit.
"Eye On Crime Getting Sharper"
Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN) (12/14/06) P. A1; Jones, Yolanda
Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and his department are following in the footsteps of New York City and implementing their own video surveillance system to monitor the city's crime. Earlier this month, Godwin took a trip to New York to observe how the city used its Real Time Crime Center to decrease crime by 20 percent since 2001. Godwin's own department will launch the Memphis Real Time Crime Center, which will place cameras around the city. The center's computer database will connect Memphis to other local law enforcement agencies across the country in an effort to share information. The video equipment was purchased with a $6.5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security, according to Lt. Jim Harvey at the Memphis police. He says officers and crime analysts will work together at the center. "It's the perfect marriage of investigation, response, and prevention," says University of Memphis professor Dr. Richard Janikowski. Memphis is currently ranked second in the nation in violent crime, according to the FBI. http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_5212082,00.html
"New Gunshot Sensors Help Police Get to Scene Faster"
Minneapolis Star Tribune (12/14/06) P. 4B; Chanen, David; Lonetree, Anthony
The Minneapolis Police Department has a new way to fight crime with the launch of the ShotSpotter, a sensor system that can locate gunshots. The $325,000-plus system is already used in several cities and will be used in Minneapolis ' South side in about a week and the North side in a month. ShotSpotter will notify dispatch right away when a gun is fired and give officers nearly the exact address, says Lt. Greg Reinhardt at the Minneapolis Police Department. The system is comprised of 80 sensors that can reach about four square miles of the city that account for half of the calls police receive about shots fired. http://www.startribune.com/467/story/873639.html
"Presque Isle: SAD 1 Tightening Security"
Bangor Daily News (ME) (12/13/06); Rice, Rachel
Maine 's School Administrative District 1 is working to improve security at Presque Isle High School , which has recently been subject to three bomb threats. Among the proposed improvements are an email notification system that informs parents of emergencies and which can evade spam filters programmed to block out messages sent to multiple addresses, and better camera surveillance of the school's entrances and restrooms. In addition, the school will be introducing a photo ID badge system that ensures personnel at the high school are those who are supposed to be there. The district is continuing to investigate who is behind the recent bomb threats. http://www.bangornews.com
"Congress Accelerates $1 Billion in Interoperability Funds"
Mobile Radio Technology (12/11/06); Jackson, Donny
Congress approved a measure that will make $1 billion in interoperability funds available to public-safety agencies before the auction of the 700MHz band, the funding source, takes place beginning in January 2008. Introduced by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the Call Home Act is primarily concerned about ensuring that U.S. troops deployed abroad can call home at reduced rates. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will administer allocation of funding, but it is not clear by what criteria. Thus far only one qualification has been clarified-- that deployments seeking funding be interoperable with the 700 MHz band. "From the way I read the bill, they have to parcel it out by Sept. 30 [of 2007], says APCO legislative director Yucel Ors. "It has to be allocated, but who they allocate it t -- and how it gets allocate -- is still to be determined." http://mrtmag.com/news/policy/congress-interoperability-funds-121106/
"Coroner Reporting Goes Live"
eWeek (12/11/06) Vol. 23, No. 49, P. C3; McKeefry, Hailey Lynne
The Kane County, Ill., coroner's office decided to implement a computer-based data system to meet the increasing demands of a growing Kane County , knowing that budget restrictions prevented the hiring of new staff. When the coroner's office could not find a packaged solution, they hired CDW-Government and partner company Ta-Kenset to design a custom data system. Under the old system using paper forms and outdated computers, each cause of death investigation and conclusion required 60 different forms. CDW-Government and its partner built a system in nine months that streamlined data-entry across forms, protected private information, created a tiered-access system for staff, and provided exclusive data privileges to the corner. It went live on Jan. 1, 2004. The office would now like to expand the system by accepting requests for birth and death certificates online, for instance. "Because of what we've done in here, the county has begun to look at other departments in the county to see how they can use the technology to implement similar programs in all of our departments," says Kane County Coroner Chuck West. http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2073226,00.asp
"Two-Thirds of First Responders Have Interoperable Communications"
Federal Times (12/08/06); Losey, Stephen
A report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicates that about two-thirds of the nation's first responders can talk to at least some of their colleagues in other agencies. The report focused on more than 6,800 law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical agencies, showing that at all levels of the government interoperability varies, DHS said Dec. 8. The report revealed that first responders are moderately successful in coordinating equipment with technology, but need more assistance in establishing standardized usage procedures and exercises for use across agencies. The report also indicated that local agencies have achieved more interoperable capabilities compared to states. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff estimates that all first responders will be able to speak to each other by the end of 2008. http://www.federaltimes.com/index.php?S=2412333
"DHS Passenger Scoring Illegal?"
Wired News (12/07/06); Singel, Ryan
Privacy advocates charge that the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System (ATS), which assigns terrorism scores to people traveling in and out of the United States , is a violation of the limits that have been placed on the department by federal lawmakers. Pointing to a provision in the 2007 Homeland Security funding bill, Identity Project members Edward Hasbrouck and James Harrison wrote, "By cloaking this prohibited action in a border issue...the Department of Homeland Security directly and openly contravenes Congress' clear intent. A DHS spokesperson said the appropriations bill's language--which bars government agencies from using appropriations funding to "develop or test algorithms assigning risk to passengers whose names are not on government watch lists"--does not cover the ATS, which harvests passenger data from international flights and scores each passenger's risk based on watchlists, criminal databases, and other government systems. High scorers are targeted by Customs and Border Protection for extra screening at deplaning time, and the data and scores can be kept for 40 years, broadly shared, and be used for hiring decisions; in addition, travelers are not able to see or contest their scores. According to congressional testimony by DHS official Paul Rosenzweig, the system had "encountered 4,801 positive matches for known or suspected terrorists," although it was not clear how many were correct matches. Critics who say the ATS program is illegal under the law include Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Jim Harper of the Cato Institute. DHS spokesman Jarrod Agen argues that the appropriations bill's language refers specifically to a program called Secure Flight, a planned successor to the CAPPS II screening system, but Rotenberg and Harper disagree with that interpretation.
"New Cameras Nab Toll Scofflaws"
Houston Chronicle (12/18/06); Grant, Alexis
The Harris County ( Texas ) Toll Road Authority is successfully using four high-tech surveillance cameras to catch drivers who repeatedly evade paying tolls while using the county's EZ Tag toll lanes. The camera system uses special software that has been programmed to react when it identifies the license plates of any of the top 500 non-paying drivers, some of whom have evaded paying as much as $30,000 in tolls. The surveillance cameras used by most toll roads simply take pictures of vehicles that fail to pay when entering a toll lane, allowing local officials to mail tickets to the offenders. But the Harris County system also sends real-time alerts to a police dispatcher when it recognizes the license plates of any of the top 500 non-paying drivers. The dispatcher then calls a nearby police officer who pulls over the offending car, arrests the driver, and tows his vehicle. A spokesman for the police force that patrols the toll roads explains, "We put them in jail. If they owe a lot of money, we don't write them a ticket." The toll authority, which has used the system to catch eight of the top 500 scofflaws since August, plans to have a total of 24 of the $28,000 surveillance cameras in place by the beginning of the new year. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4408893.html
"Turning Cellphones Into Lifelines"
USA Today (12/05/06); Reardon, Marguerite
The recent rescue of a mother and her two daughters from a remote region in Oregon highlights the benefits of cellular technology over standalone GPS navigation products in rescue operations. "Navigation tools may help someone if they need to understand where they are to get to safety," says Kiyoshi Hamai, director of sales and product management with Mio Technology, a vendor of portable navigation devices using GPS technology. "But in order for someone to find you, you really need a device, like a cellphone, that can provide two-way communication." Cellphones are practically a staple in U.S. households today, with 230 million Americans subscribing to a service. The infrastructure supporting the technology is spreading to even the remotest of locations, and the technology's very nature ensures constant communications between cellphone and cell tower to update locations. With the FCC pushing operators to provide E911 service, pinpoint capabilities will only be improved. The service depends on GPS chips embedded in phones that allow rescue personnel to send pings to mobile devices to track approximate locations. New phones sold by Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and Alltel have the chips included to comply with the federal mandate. Operators like Helio, Disney Mobile, and Boost Wireless already provide tracking services using GPS-embedded phones.
"Fingerprint Technology Helps Identify the Dead"
Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week (12/24/06) P. 122
Researchers at Britain 's University of Leicester , working with Leicestershire Constabulary and Hamburg University 's Institute of Legal Medicine , have found that handheld devices used to fingerprint drivers can also be used to identify the dead. The capability to fingerprint the dead using a handheld, mobile wireless device in conjunction with a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device would be of particular benefit in catastrophic events that result in mass casualties. "In mass fatality investigations there is a shift of emphasis of the investigative process towards gathering information for the identification of the deceased," said Professor Guy Rutty of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester . "Fingerprinting is usually undertaken by scene of crime or fingerprint officers at the mortuary and although the recovery of fingerprints is possible at the scene of death, as with mortuary recovery, to date handheld real-time on-site analysis [near-patient testing] is not available to investigators."
" Nashville Metro Police Seek Public Help by Posting Surveillance Images On-Line"
Police and Security News (12/06) Vol. 22, No. 6, P. 68
The Nashville Metro Police Department has begun sharing surveillance video with the public in hopes of generating tips. Formerly relegated for use only with other police agencies, the video, showing suspects in the act of committing a crime, is posted online in small slide shows accompanied by requests for tips. Since going live last November, the site has generated over 16,000 visits. http://www.policeandsecuritynews.com
- Thursday, December 28, 2006 More Surveillance Cameras Planned for City Next Year Los Banos Enterprise (CA) (12/22/06); Pride, Corey The Los Banos, Calif.,Message 4 of 18 , Dec 28, 2006View Source
Thursday, December 28, 2006
"More Surveillance Cameras Planned for City Next Year"
Los Banos Enterprise (CA) (12/22/06); Pride, Corey
The Los Banos , Calif. , police department hopes to purchase and install 20 wireless surveillance cameras before next year comes to an end. If won, a $275,000 grant will pay for the cameras, which will be placed outside 10 schools above speed radar signs to monitor traffic conditions. Two other cameras may be used at key intersections. The police department already monitors around 45 cameras at various sites. The surveillance system "definitely helps with traffic accident investigations," says Police Chief Chris Gallagher, noting its deterrent effect as well. Each camera will cost about $2,500. "It cuts cost for safety," says Mayor Tommy Jones of the system. "It's cheaper than hiring another police officer." http://www.losbanosenterprise.com/
"Tasers Under the Gun"
New Haven Register (12/24/06); Helsel, Phil
The Milford , Conn. Police Department's decision to allow its patrol officers as well as its supervisors to use Taser stun guns has resulted in an 850 percent increase in the number of times the devices have been used so far this year compared with 2003. The dramatic increase in the number of incidents involving the use of Tasers, as well as the circumstances surrounding some of those incidents, is causing a controversy in Milford . Of the 34 incidents in which Milford police used Tasers this year, four involved an armed subject, according to a review of the city's police records. In two incidents, people were shocked with Taser stun guns after they had already been handcuffed. And in one incident, 24-year-old Nicholas Brown, a Bridgeport , Conn. man who had been shocked three times by a Taser stun gun, died while in custody of Milford police of what a medical examiner has ruled "cocaine toxicity." For its part, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International, the company that manufactures most of the stun guns used by police departments around the country, says its products are safe--though it does warn law enforcement to be particularly careful when using the stun guns on people who appear to be high on drugs, are exhibiting delirium, extreme agitation, or other conditions of what it calls "sudden in-custody death syndrome." Although more police departments in Connecticut are planning to purchase Taser stun guns, the Hartford Police Department says the deaths of Brown and others have convinced it to hold off on buying the devices. http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17628889&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=517514&rfi=6
"Helicopter Takes to Sky for Training"
St. Petersburg Times (FL) (12/22/06) P. CT1; Frank, John
Citrus County has purchased a new $2.4 million American Eurocopter equipped with a rescue hoist, becoming the only county in the state to have a hoist on its police chopper. The county has always been on the cutting edge of law enforcement technology. In 1990, it and Jacksonville were the only ones to employ thermal imaging technology with their helicopters. The hoist will be especially useful in this flood-prone region. http://www.sptimes.com/2006/12/22/Citrus/Helicopter_takes_to_s.shtml
"Jail Docket Coming Back Online"
Biloxi Sun Herald (MS) (12/21/06); Fitzgerald, Robin
The Harrison County Sheriff's Department in Mississippi will soon have access to its online jail docket as it migrates to a new records-management system. The technology will let the department access the dockets of Jackson and Hancock counties as well, and other counties in the state will soon be added in the future. The online docket has been offline since Nov. 7 because of the changeover. The situation "has made it difficult because we had to call the front desk to get the information," says D&D Bail Bond owner Wayne Dowdle. Once the new system is viewable, mug shots of prisoners will be posted; this is likely to be finalized after January 2007. Officials with the Sheriff's Department say the new technology will enhance information as well as assist them in knowing who and where prisoners are. A 1983 state law mandated that jail dockets and certain other types of information about incarcerations be made public. http://www.sunherald.com/mld/thesunherald/news/special_packages/
" County Steps Up Monitoring After Predator Cluster Found"
Modesto Bee (CA) (12/22/06) P. B3; Jason, Scott
Law enforcement in Merced County , Calif. , will track parolees' release and housing more closely after the recent eviction of six convicted sex offenders from a home, according to county sheriff's officials. They were evicted because they were residing illegally on agricultural property in a secondary home, also known as a granny house, meant for farm workers or family members. The state of California had moved the group to the house in November amid several changes--a school bus route was alerted, and surveillance gear was added to the home. Windows were also blacked out. A town meeting at a citizen's home was held on Dec. 15, attended by sheriff deputies, Supervisor Deidre Kelsey, and other officials. More than 50 residents attended to oppose the felons' occupancy of the house. http://www.modbee.com/local/story/13135954p-13782450c.html
"Asking the Right Questions"
Baltimore Sun (12/22/06) P. 1D; Hobby, Susan Thornton
Columbia, Md., firm SIMmersion has devised numerous interactive computer simulation games employing real actors to instruct new police officers, physicians, and social workers on how to handle witnesses, patients, or clients without causing explosive incidents or initiating malpractice lawsuits. When they are finished, interviewers receive a numeric score for how well they conducted their interview, and an in-depth analysis of their performance, as well as chance to repeatedly play the game. SIMmersion's Dale Olsen, who has a statistics doctorate and a polygraph background, worked for over three decades at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physicians Laboratory, where he helped create simulations software that instructed sailors on how to drive nuclear submarines. Simulator designers explain that while interviewers select their lines from all the potential scenarios shown on the screen and read them to a computer, the responses are written in a conversational manner, so that communication is natural. One of Olsen's simulations has trial witnesses receive interrogation on the witness stand by a pair of hostile attorneys. SIMmersion is now moving in multiple directions, while its foundation is in law enforcement. Former FBI office of information and learning resources unit chief Garland Phillips, who urged his agency to finance SIMmersion's initial simulation for the FBI Training Academy, explained that instructors discovered that enrollees would frequently spend their personal time operating the simulations. After the FBI was convinced, the academy introduced the simulations to its 56 field offices, and then the 16,000 state and local police groups it helps instruct, as well as additional federal agencies and foreign institutions. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/health/
" Dallas Courthouse to Increase Security"
Des Moines Register (IA) (12/20/06) P. 1B; Walker, Melissa
The Dallas County Courthouse in Iowa will soon have metal detectors and a $28,075 X-ray machine, the cost of which was covered by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, to screen visitors. A security council comprising courthouse employees, law enforcement officials, and judges also proposed a security staff of 10 full- and part-time deputies at a cost of as much as $520,000, security cameras, employee access cards, and a building alarm system, among other things. County officials are expected to review the requests early in the new year. The sheriff's department will likely provide two full-time employees and part-time, off-duty police officers to monitor security systems and patrol the courthouse, according to Sheriff's Deputy Doug Lande. Lande notes, "We're going to make this as least intrusive as possible but protect the building and the people who work there." Metal detectors and a gated parking lot are among the security measures already put in place at the federal courthouse in Polk County . http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061220/NEWS01/612200365/-1/BUSINESS04
" Fresno Cracks Down on DUI"
Associated Press (12/21/06); Burke, Garance
Fresno , Calif. , police are erecting roadblocks, performing stakeouts, and utilizing night-vision goggles, satellite tracking devices, and video cameras in a crackdown intended to stop drunken drivers. These strategies have made the city one of the nation's toughest regarding drunk driving. Although police claim the four-year-old initiative has resulted in a significant decrease in fatal car accidents, restaurants and bars contend it is harming business and placing a damper on city's nightlife, while defense attorneys and civil liberties activists caution that Fresno has gone too far. Fresno police are placing undercover police close to bars to look out for drunken individuals heading to their vehicles. They are also erecting numerous drunk-driving checkpoints, and are discreetly placing Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on the vehicles of convicted drunken drivers to track whether they are going to liquor stores or bars, which would violate their parole or probation. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has listed Fresno 's initiative as the best in the country. Four years ago, more individuals in Fresno were killed in car accidents than by murder, a figure that caused Police Chief Jerry Dyer to expand the traffic division from 22 officers to 76, to have the department make greater use of checkpoints, and to start utilizing GPS devices. The level of alcohol-related accidents that have caused injuries has dropped from 125 four years ago to 105 in 2006, while the level of DUI arrests has increased from 2,169 in 2002 to a predicted 3,000 for 2006, police stated. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/4419203.html
"State Lawmaker Calls for Limits on Taser Use"
Associated Press (12/22/06)
In Texas , Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) has introduced legislation that would allow police officers to use Tasers only when the use of deadly force is justified under the state penal code. Burnam's bill is in response to incidents in which suspects have been subdued by Tasers and later died. Burnam has also raised concerns that Tasers are used more often on minorities. Houston police used Tasers in 892 instances since 2004, but city Police Chief Harold Hurtt says only 39 justified deadly force. http://www.ap.org
"Most Back Cameras to Battle Crime"
Stamford Advocate (CT) (12/20/06); Lee, Natasha
At a recent hearing in Stamford , Conn. , local citizens said they endorse the use of cameras to increase safety, but want safeguards in place that would prevent officials from abusing the technology. The hearing was arranged by the Public Safety and Health Committee of Stamford's Board of Representatives Office. At present, the city is allowed to use its 16 closed-circuit cameras only for monitoring traffic in accordance with a 1999 ordinance. However, members of the Public Safety and Health Committee as well as if the Legislative and Rules Committee have voted to alter the ordinance to lessen the restrictions; the changes need to be approved by the Board of Representatives in January, said Richard Lyons, chairman of the Public Safety and Health Committee. The majority of residents said the cameras would help reduce crimes such as vandalism and improper dumping, but some residents advocated boosting the number of police officers rather than initiating camera surveillance. Others asserted that surveillance cameras fail to successfully deter crime. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/local/scn-sa-surveillance.hearing4dec20,0,7184026.story?coll=stam-news-local-headlines
"UMass Checks Data to Identify Rioters"
Boston Globe (12/20/06) P. B7; Simpson, April
University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass) police are employing photos, Web sites, videos, and students to locate students who set items on fire and heaved bike tires, beer bottles, and other dangerous materials at police following the football team's loss on Dec. 15 in the Division 1-AA championship game. Campus police authorities informed students on Dec. 18 that they will post photos of rioters on the school's Web site each day. Of the 11 individuals recently arrested, 10 were students. At their Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 arraignments, the students pleaded not guilty. On Dec. 17, however, university vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life Michael Gargano stated in an a email letter to students' parents that around 200 students actively partook in "the violence and destruction on December 15," and noted they could be expelled, face criminal charges, or lose academic credit for the fall semester. Around 1,800 students rushed a residential section of the school at 11 p.m. on Dec. 15, after the UMass football team lost to Appalachian State. A pair of police officers were hurt by thrown rocks, and several have reported bruises. Police stated they are seeking the worst offenders, especially those who threw things at them. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/
"Invention: Taser Gets Tougher"
New Scientist Tech (12/18/06); Fox, Barry
In a project funded by the U.S. government, Arizona 's Taser International is developing a stun gun capable of shocking recipients insulated by clothing as well as animals with thick fur. The projectiles fired by current stun guns can lose their effectiveness if they become stuck in clothing or fur because the recipient is protected from the shock delivered by the projectile's barbed electrodes. However, the new stun guns will have an additional electrode that faces away from the target on the rear of the projectile capable of providing a shock that instinctively compels the target to grab or bite the projectile. Once the target's bare skin makes good electrical contact with the electrode, a disabling shock is delivered. http://www.newscientisttech.com/channel/tech/dn10817-invention-taser-gets-tougher.html
"City to Hold Annual Vehicle Safety 'Roadeo' on Dec. 1"
US States News (11/28/06)
On Dec. 1, the City of Corpus Christi 's Risk Management Office and Safety Advisory Board held the annual Vehicle Safety "Roadeo" Contest. There were nine different testing categories involving full-size sedans, police sedans, VIP sedans, pickup trucks, dump trucks, and many other vehicle types. The best city employee driver in each category was given an award or prize for their efforts. City employees with good driving records navigated six different obstacle-course layouts and demonstrated their safe-driving skills. http://www.nexis.com/research
"Justice Dept. Database Stirs Privacy Fears"
Washington Post (12/26/06) P. A7; Eggen, Dan
A huge database being constructed by the Justice Department intended to allow local investigators around the country to access information held by federal law enforcement agencies is receiving widespread disapproval from privacy groups. There are currently one million records, from both open and closed cases, in the database known as "OneDOJ," which can only be accessed by 150 police departments at this time, but in three years the number of case records is expected to triple, and the number of regional authorities with access is expected to jump to 750. Privacy and civil rights advocates see the database as a dangerous source of unfounded details, particularly concerning people who have not been arrested or charged with a crime. The ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project director Barry Steinhardt says that, " Raw police files or FBI reports can never be verified and can never be corrected. That is a problem with even more formal and controlled systems. The idea that they're creating another whole system that is going to be full of inaccurate information is just chilling." He cites the 2003 statement by the FBI that it would no longer recognize the Privacy Act's requirements for accuracy in the National Crime Information Center , the main criminal-background-check database that is utilized by 80,000 law enforcement agencies in the country. Others express fear that the information disseminated by this system could make its way into realms outside of law enforcement. Despite calls for a halt to the project, the DOJ remains confident that OneDOJ will provide invaluable assistance to local authorities by "essentially hooking them up to a pipe that will take them into [the DOJ's] records." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/25/AR2006122500483.html
"1 Police Force, 1 Lesson Plan"
Indianapolis Star (11/13/06) P. 1; O'Neal, Kevin
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IPD) and the Marion County Sheriff's Department continue to merge their departments into one, and as part of the merger plans, the departments will rely on a single training center--the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Training Academy . Police department officials claim that the single training center will foster consistency among officers and improve the efficiency levels of the entire police force. Moreover, the merged departments are expected to reduce duplication in procedures, policies, and training, though deadly-force policies will remain in effect. The academy is equipped with a shoot-or-don't-shoot simulator in the firearms range and a program to teach officers basic Spanish language skills to better serve the growing Hispanic population. However, one difference under the new training academy will be the elimination of the precision immobilization technique (PIT), in which officers learn how to hit fleeing cars in order to spin them and shorten pursuits. Other skills updates for veteran officers will also be offered. http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061113/LOCAL/611130426/1006/LOCAL
- NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary Thursday, January 18, 2007 Officer s Body Armor Stops Bullet Milwaukee Journal SentinelMessage 5 of 18 , Jan 17, 2007View Source
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, January 18, 2007
"Officer's Body Armor Stops Bullet"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (01/15/07); Diedrich, John
A teenage assailant shot a Milwaukee police officer during an attempted carjacking in the city. The officer's vest prevented the bullet from piercing his chest. The 17-year-old shooter fired at point-blank range at the 36-year-old officer, who was not identified. Police have two 17-year-old suspects in custody--one of which is believed to have fired the shot. In addition, police also arrested an 18-year-old who was driving the suspects in a van and two other people at the scene of where the suspects were hiding. The suspects and the driver took off by foot after the shooting, but police were able to follow their tracks in the snow. Deputy Chief Brian O'Keefe said the two 17-year-olds quickly confronted the officer while he attempted to purchase gas for his Mitsubishi Montero SUV and road salt at a Citgo. The officer was in uniform, but he had on a civilian coat that covered the upper half of his police attire. The assailants ordered the officer at gunpoint to drive to an alley. The assailants reportedly did not give any indication that they were aware that the man they held hostage was a police officer. The officer began to struggle with one of the young men when he attempted to search him after he was ordered out of the vehicle at the alley. The officer was shot during the altercation, but was able to shoot both young men as they fled. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=552930
"Mesa Moving Forward With Anti-Crime Project"
Associated Press (01/12/07)
The city of Mesa, Ariz., wants to launch a technology-based initiative to reduce crimes linked to illegal aliens, according to police officials. They said the project would potentially involve hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire such equipment as portable digital fingerprint scanners, license plate reading cameras, and remote cameras. Additionally, data-mining software would enable cross-searches within several federal, state, and local law enforcement databases. City leaders said federal agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would be assigned to work with local police officers to solve crimes, swap data, and enhance communications with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Such a move could help uncover illegal aliens who had been deported or arrested previously. The city is also mulling the creation of red-curb zones to indicate places where parking a vehicle is prohibited.
"Livingston Police Go High-Tech in Their Cruisers"
Merced Sun-Star (CA) (01/12/07) P. B1; Jason, Scott
The Livingston, Calif., police department's 14 officers can now file reports, check license plates, and look into a suspect's background from their police cars. Eight in-car computers were implemented in the cruisers at the end of last month, and an additional half-dozen computers will be installed in the unmarked administration and detective vehicles by this month's end. The $242,690 for the system was approved in August by the City Council in an attempt to improve the department's technology. Although the touch-screen computers utilize the same systems the officers use at their desks, they also have GPS that can help officers study Livingston's layout. The department is still awaiting California's approval to access the state Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, which houses driver's license, firearms, and warrant databases. In addition, the system links with other states, providing officers with more search choices. The system means "we will be able to quickly identify criminals, make more arrests and ultimately have a larger number of convictions," notes city manager Richard Warne. Besides helping police dispatchers, Councilman Rodrigo Espinoza says he believes the additional time police are in public can lessen the level of crime.
"Speedy Traffic Tickets Urged"
Baltimore Sun (01/12/07); Fenton, Justin
The Maryland legislature is considering a program that would allow law enforcement officials to issue e-citations to traffic violators, getting them back on the road more quickly and minimizing the amount of time officers have to stand in traffic. The electronic citations would let officers swipe driver's licenses and registrations to automatically generate a computerized ticket, which could then be transmitted electronically to the courts. Local police departments would be able to switch to the electronic systems when they were ready; many departments have already developed in-house software that allows them to handle e-citations. The state police says that it is currently ready to make the switch. State police say they would prefer a system which would eliminate the need for drivers to sign the citations, but it is unclear if this preference will make it into the final draft of any legislation. The proposal was discussed in a hearing of the state's Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 11.
"GPS Finds Its Way Into Nassau Patrol Vehicles"
Newsday (01/11/07); Cassese, Sid
The Nassau County, N.Y., police department has installed global positioning systems (GPS) in 207 of its squad cars, a move that county officials say will allow officers to respond to incidents more quickly by enabling emergency dispatchers to contact whichever vehicle is closest to the scene of an incident. The system will work in conjunction with the Computer Aided Dispatch System in order to locate and dispatch officers. However, some critics of the systems are concerned that criminals may be able to hack into a GPS and thus track where police officers are at all times. However, a similar system set up in neighboring Suffolk County in 2000 has not yet had any such security problems.
"Taser Unveils Latest Stun Gun"
Arizona Republic (01/09/07) P. 1; Johnson, Andrew
On Jan. 8, Taser International started accepting Internet orders for its new consumer stun gun that the firm hopes will heighten its sales, which are primarily fueled by its devices for law enforcement officials. The company introduced on Jan. 8 its Taser C2 model at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show, which ran through Jan. 11. Taser selected that venue to demonstrate the gun, which is compact enough to fit inside a purse and is available in black, silver, pink, and blue. The C2 is the follow-up to the X26C model, which was launched in 2004. Taser intends to begin shipping the initial orders of the new gun in April. The company will sell two versions of the gun: The first has a laser function and costs $350, while the other comes without a laser and goes for $300. Analysts claim the new model has numerous features that will expand a Taser's appeal to retail distributors and consumers. Besides costing a lot less than earlier consumer models, the C2 is outfitted with a proprietary technology known as SureCheck, in which the guns are inactive until a consumer submits to a background check either over the Internet or by calling a number. http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0109biz-taser0109.html
"Sheriff Gets Grant for Major Upgrading of Radio Systems"
Ashtabula Star-Beacon (01/15/07); Cook, Doris
The Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department has received in excess of $127,000 in grants from the federal Department of Homeland Security for connecting its radio system with others used by regional law enforcement agencies. The department lacked the funding needed to upgrade radio equipment in cruisers until it received the grants, according to Sheriff William Johnson. The department currently uses different frequencies from other local law enforcement agencies. The grant will also pay for acquisition of Motorola portable radios and mobile charger units in cruisers that are operated by police supervisors. http://www.starbeacon.com
"Most Law Enforcement Agencies Don't Require Bulletproof Vests"
WESH NewsChannel 2 (Central Florida) (01/16/07)
Police have arrested two suspects believed to be involved in the shooting death of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper. The shooting happened when the trooper pulled over a vehicle on U.S. Highway 27. The trooper was not wearing his bulletproof vest at the time of the shooting. The Florida Highway Patrol does not require troopers to wear protective vests, but does urge its troopers to do so. Some police personnel believe that the trooper have may survived the shooting if he had worn the vest. Most police agencies in the region give their officers the option not to wear a bulletproof vest. http://www.wesh.com/news/10754887/detail.html
"Squad Car Computers Would Fill Variety of Needs in Dodge Sheriff's Department"
The Reporter Online (01/12/07) P. 7A; Nehls, Todd
Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls wants to acquire portable data computers and make other improvements to the Wisconsin-based Sheriff's Department. Some of Nehls' other goal include establishing substations, consolidating the dispatch system, and restructuring the records system. Nehls also cites the equipping of police cruisers with Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) as an important step. The MDCs can serve as a platform for future technological enhancements and will give officers the ability to search databases. Officers and detectives are currently restricted to making information requests on a suspect using the radio, but they could conduct information searches instantaneously using MDCs. http://www.fdlreporter.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007701120449
"City Hall Pushed to Buy $1.5 Million System to Track Gunshots"
Boston Globe (01/06/07); Smalley, Suzanne
Boston City Hall is being pressured by Boston city councilors, law enforcement officials, and community leaders to find the $1.5 million to install a gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter. The system, produced by ShotSpotter Incorporated of Santa Clara, Calif., uses a network of audio sensors, about the size of a coffee can, to triangulate the position of a gunshot, and is believed to be intended to cover parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and the South End. The system is so sophisticated that it can determine the location of a shot from as far as 1.5 miles away within seconds, can isolate gunshots from other sounds, and even distinguish between shots fired from different types of weapons. Last year Boston had 74 homicides, 54 from gunshot wounds, almost identical to 2005 which had a 10-year high of 75 homicides, with 51 from gunshots. The number of shootings in 2006 increased from 2005 to 377 shootings, an rise of more than 10 percent. Similar gunshot detection-systems are being used in Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn., Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., Gary, Ind., Charleston, S.C., and Rochester, N.Y. Last October in D.C. the system led police to a suspect only minutes after the shooting and Minneapolis has several success stories including an officer-involved shooting, the recovery of a discarded gun, the arrest of a convicted felon with a gun, and an arrest for a shooting that was never reported to the police.
"New Orleans Mayor Seeks Solutions for Growing Violence on City Streets"
Associated Press (01/09/07); Foster, Mary
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on Jan. 9 suggested ways the federal government could help reduce crime in New Orleans. This included installing a camera surveillance system in the city and within police vehicles. Landrieu said the surveillance cameras would help apprehend offenders as well as make sure that officers carry out their duties appropriately. She also wants more agents from the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as an emergency grant similar to the one given to New York City after the Sept. 11 attacks. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has estimated that nationwide, the average period of time it takes for a legally purchased gun to become implicated in a crime is five years, but in New Orleans that period is only six months, according to bureau agent Austin Banks.
"New Model for Computer Forensics: Champlain College and Law Enforcement Team Up on Digital Investigations in Vermont"
AScribe Newswire (01/10/07)
A ground-breaking new partnership between a college and law enforcement agencies is helping police process more digital evidence and fight cybercrime in Vermont. The Champlain College Center for Digital Investigation, which received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance, is enabling two new Champlain faculty members to work with federal, state and local law enforcement investigators, performing digital investigations and adding capacity to law enforcement agencies in Vermont. Based at the Burlington Police Department, these investigators sift through digital evidence found on computers, cell phones, iPods and other digital devices so that crucial pieces of evidence can be applied to criminal investigations. The professors also share their professional experience as they teach courses in Champlain's Computer & Digital Forensics program. The grant also enables the college to create online training opportunities that will be available to members of law enforcement in Vermont and across the country. "Computer forensics and digital investigations have become an integral part of police work in the new millennium," said Professor Gary C. Kessler, director of the new center. "Computers are now as much a part of the modern law enforcement officer's daily routine as the baton, sidearm, radio and handcuffs."
"It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a...DHS Drone"
Washington Technology (01/09/07) Vol. 1, No. 1,; Lipowicz, Alice
To help patrol the border between the United States and Canada, the Department of Homeland Security plans to launch test flights of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)--also known as drones--later in 2007. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Jan. 8 it intends to use the drones in a pilot program by Sept. 30. The program would take place in Grand Forks, N.D., because of its proximity to the country's border with Canada. "As unmanned aircraft have proven to be effective on our southern border, this first step in North Dakota will lay the foundation to expand unmanned aerial system operations along the nation's northern border," said Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner for CBP's Office of Air and Marine, in a press release. UAVs feature cameras that can observe and detect motion, and they will complement law enforcement and critical incident responses, the agency said. In addition, CBP plans to restart drone flights over the U.S.-Mexico border using Predator B aircraft in November. That program was halted in April 2006 after the first Predator drone crashed as a result of a navigation error, according to government probes. CBP also announced it will incorporate satellite infrastructure at its Air and Marine Operations Center in Riverside, Calif., in 2007. http://www.washingtontechnology.com/news/1_1/daily_news/29943-1.html
"Social Networking Sites in the Cross Hairs?"
TechNewsWorld (01/03/07); LeClaire, Jennifer
As the popularity of social networking sites grows, so do the threats posed to them and the entire Web 2.0 community, but growing public awareness could be the best defense against this trend. The worm and phishing attack against MySpace in early December 2006 called attention to this new venue for cybercrime. Malicious tactics being employed include changing user settings, viewing account information, and implanting cookies with malicious code, all of which are made possible by exploiting the confidence users have in each other. Face Time Security Labs Chris Boyd says, "Social networking sites are goldmines of information, and a social engineer's dream. You don't even have to go dumpster diving anymore." A study conducted by CA and the National Security Alliance found that 57 percent of social networking site users admitted to being concerned about security threats, but personal information is still being posted, with no signs of slowing down. Boyd says that no matter the approach used by attackers, the goal is financial, "even if they're stealing login data, they're only doing it to spam Web sites that install adware, such as the recent MySpace worm." Attacks like this one leave users no options for defense but to not use the site at all. As social engineering scams gain more attention, so will the danger posed to Web 2.0, because its content is constantly changing, which means Web filtering applications that use URL databases or honeypots are ineffective; URLs would have to be scanned in real time. However, CTG's Ed Moyle thinks social networking sites are relatively safe, having experienced few actual attacks, since they are centralized and feature community enforcement. http://www.technewsworld.com/story/54932.html
"How to Buy Rifle Optics"
Police (01/07) Vol. 31, No. 1, P. 34; Smith, Scott
Rifle optics these days include both telescopic sights used by snipers, and aiming-related devices called compact optics. Combat optics use a red-dot laser to help an officer aim his weapon, and this technology first caught on with competition shooters. Today every U.S. Army soldier with an M16 or M4 rifle has a combat optic sight as well. Two inexpensive but trustworthy red-dot sights that retail for around $125 are TruGlo Dual Color and Tasco ProPoint. Mil-Spec sights begin at $300 and these are military-tailored. For police officers who wear glasses, they must use holographic sights for best results. Bushnell, EoTech, and C-More specialize in this field, with Bushnell specializing in holographic sights with night-vision. Trijicon ACOG is the leading combat optics company of magnifying red-dot sights that enlarge a target between three and five times its true size. Before any purchase, one should fully understand installation issues unique to each sight and gun model. http://www.policemag.com
"Digital Cameras for Cops"
Police (12/06) Vol. 30, No. 12, P. 28; Spraggs, David
Digital cameras have dropped in price during the last few years, making this upgraded technology a reasonable purchase for many police departments. Furthermore, digital cameras have produced higher-quality results for police departments than manual cameras, not in the least because digital photographers can view their pictures on the camera screen and therefore reshoot any mishaps. Point-and-shoot digital cameras are great tools for a patrol officer, but forensic photographers shooting fingerprints or footwear impressions need better technology. A serviceable point-and-shoot digital camera should have between four and seven megapixels, have an optical zoom, offer low-light capability, image stabilizations, and macro-setting for close-up photos. At $200, Fujifilm's F20 offers a very serviceable camera that is officer-friendly, with solid after-sale support and service. Nikon is a top-of-the-line brand, and the Nikon L5 digital delivers the whole package, plus an especially long telephoto lens, for $275. Pentax Optio E10 is a solid choice at the bargain price of $150, and Sony's DSC-W70 has great low-light features and a good zoom lens at $275. One should also remember that digital cameras require batteries, and Nickel Metal-Hydride rechargeable batteries are the best at providing a renewable, rechargeable energy source. http://www.policemag.com
- NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary Thursday, January 25, 2007 Old Crimes Still Within Reach of Cold Case Unit Contra Costa TimesMessage 6 of 18 , Jan 26, 2007View Source
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Old Crimes Still Within Reach of Cold Case Unit"
Contra Costa Times (CA) (01/22/07) P. F4; Alfonso, Alejandro
The Alameda County Sheriff's Cold Case Unit seeks to identify murderers and rapists in cases that have gone unsolved for years. Sgt. Scott Dudek notes that older cases present more daunting challenges for investigators, but adds that sometimes a long passage of time can work to their advantage. For example, people who originally were not helpful in the investigation may offer important information years later. In addition, investigators now have access to new crime-solving techniques, such as DNA analysis. The Justice Department provided the grant that was needed to launch the unit, which employs two detectives and a technician, in June 2005. The Cold Case Unit is currently handling 53 cases, with 18 under active investigation.
"Upgrade of HPD Radios May Wait 5 Years"
Houston Chronicle (01/21/07) P. B1; Ruiz, Rosanna
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks illustrate the important role that integrated communications between law enforcement and emergency responders can have at a critical time. The Department of Homeland Security has expressed concerns that Houston's communication system does not offer effective information sharing. Nevertheless, city officials say that it could take five years before the communications technology is upgraded. Mayor Bill White insists that the current radio system is good enough to provide the city with an effective response in the event of a disaster. Harris County currently uses 800 MHz frequencies, while Houston relies on 400 MHz. City officials project that developing an integrated communications system will cost roughly $150 million.
"Crime Camera Bid Pending"
New Orleans Times-Picayune (01/20/07) P. 1; Maggi, Laura
New Orleans is experiencing skyrocketing crime, and in response New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has asked for federal assistance in purchasing and installing 500 new video cameras around the city. Nagin seeks about $6 million in federal assistance for this camera project, and his office will be installing 200 additional cameras with city funds throughout New Orleans piece by piece throughout the year. To date the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has only been able to support Nagin's effort with funds to support cameras at public housing facilities. In fact, New Orleans Police Department's headquarters has yet to reopen due to Hurricane Katrina damage and flooding. U.S. authorities hope repairs will be finished by May 2007.
"Device to Detect Drugs, Explosives Moves Closer to Market"
Associated Press (01/17/07)
Police departments may soon have access to a handheld tool that can identify airborne substances ranging from drugs to bombs, according to David Salva, president of United States Semiconductor Corp (U.S. Semi). The company has licensed the technology and will be making it commercially available. But distributing the palm-sized tool to police officers and others could cost up to $5 million, Salva estimated, and might require nine months to 18 months or maybe a little longer. Salva's efforts are being aided by a $100,000 grant from NASA, and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) recently announced a $1.05 million grant. The device involves "Quantum Fingerprint" technology that has been in development over the past 10 years at the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute (NSEI) at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A computer chip covered with a layer of diamond film draws molecules from the air when a current is applied, according to Mark Prelas, NSEI's director of research. Different types of molecules carry their own individual energy or quantum "fingerprint" that is compared to samples in a database. Prelas estimated that Quantum Fingerprint technology is approximately 1,000 times more sensitive than that existing models. Salva said each handheld unit would likely sell for about $400 to $500 and would be linked wirelessly to a central computer.
"Plan Will Allow 911 and 311 Lines to Accept Digital Images"
New York Times (01/18/07) P. B6; Rivera, Ray
Residents of New York City who call emergency 911 call centers also would be able to send digital videos and photos under a proposal announced Jan. 17 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor, who touted the plan as a "revolutionary innovation in crime fighting," said that the same technology will be extended to the city's 311 service line, which allows residents to report quality-of-life problems. "If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition, you'll be able to transmit images to 911, or online to nyc.gov," said Bloomberg. Bloomberg spokesman John Feinblatt noted that although the plan represents a new concept for law enforcement, the technology for the plan already exists, meaning it will not be expensive to implement. "It's just time to bring 911 and 311 into cyberspace," Feinblatt said. Law enforcement and anti-terrorism experts applauded the mayor's plan, explaining that it will increase the flow of information and possibly lead to crimes being resolved faster. "Imagine someone caught in a hostage situation transmitting pictures or video," said anti-terrorism consultant Jerome Hauer.
"Dozens of New Police Cameras to Watch Over Stockton"
The Record (01/17/07); Siders, David
The Stockton, Calif., Police Department is undertaking a major surveillance project that will see the installation of as many as 44 surveillance cameras in and around the city. With approval from the city council, the county police department will expand its surveillance program, mounting more cameras with pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities at intersections and in parks. Mayor Ed Chavez's Strong Neighborhoods Initiative will underwrite the surveillance program's $1.6 million expansion. Retired police officers will monitor the cameras from a room in downtown's Stewart/Eberhardt Building at prescribed times. Any crimes caught on tape can be used in court to prosecute perpetrators.
"New County Emergency System Ends Dead Spots"
Florida Times-Union (01/17/07) P. P1; Turner, Kevin
Nassau County emergency officials are lauding the arrival of a new $7.2 million emergency radio system. According to Fire-Rescue Chief Chuck Cooper, the old system had poor reception and suffered from signal pollution that made it impossible for deputies and emergency personnel to stay connected in rural areas. The new system ensures connectivity in the densest locations, increasing the safety of firefighters and deputies. "This is a major improvement, without a doubt", Cooper says. "This will add safety and probably save someone's life. You can put a price on a radio system, but you can't put a price on someone's father, mother, son or daughter." The system is modeled after the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International's "Project 25" digital standard and is located in new, prefabricated portable buildings in Yulee. Project managers expect to have the system up and running around Jan. 22.
"Police Recruits in Taser Study"
Hartford Courant (01/19/07) P. B3; Munoz, Hilda
Twelve aspiring police officers attending the New Britain Police Academy are participating in a new Taser study. Researchers monitored the vital signs of the trainees when they were shocked with the device. Tasers send a 50,000-volt of electricity through a human. Two suspects died after being struck by Tasers operated by New Britain police. However, autopsies did not cite the device as the cause of death. http://www.courant.com/news/local/nb/hc-nebstun0119.artjan19,0,3404601.story
"Scottsdale Asks State to Operate Cameras"
Arizona Republic (01/17/07); Ferraresi, Michael; Coomes, Jessica
The City Council in Scottsdale, Ariz., asked the state to take over a highway photo radar enforcement project the city was testing on Loop 101. The study continued to monitor traffic patterns after the cameras were turned off and showed that without the cameras there was an almost 850 percent spike in speeding. With the cameras on the average speed of drivers was reduced to 64 mph, a decrease of nearly 10 mph, while accidents were reduced by 23 percent to 70 percent, depending on variables, compared to a similar stretch of highway. There were also fewer injuries from rear-end collisions and sideswipes that could potentially save $10 million a year in reduced medical and insurance bills. The state collected over $2.3 million in tickets issued from the photo-enforcement study, with the city of Scottsdale collecting over $782,000 after expenses. If the state decides not to turn the system back on, the city will ask permission to take control of the operation. Critics of the system say there needs to be a way for it to detect the difference between a regular speeder and an on-duty officer in pursuit of a suspect or en route to an emergency, and some believe that the city should not be able to make a profit off of such a system.
"Safety Chief Backs High-Tech Crime Fight"
Des Moines Register (IA) (01/17/07); Petroski, William
Iowa's newly appointed Public Safety Commissioner, Eugene Meyer, pledged Jan. 16 to use advanced technology to fight crime. He spoke before the Iowa House Public Safety Committee during a familiarization session. Steve Bogle, director of the state's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), told lawmakers his agency seeks to broaden its cybercrimes unit, which has helped prevent the victimization of more than 40 children from online sexual predators. Bogle added that law enforcement leaders are expanding a database of DNA samples to help solve crimes. He further said the agency wants to create a "cold case" division to focused on solving older crimes. Col. Robert Garrison, chief of the Iowa State Patrol, noted that the department's new Dodge Charger patrol cars were more difficult to equip with police gear compared to the old Ford Crown Victoria vehicles. But now that the problems have been resolved, the cars are serving successfully as police cruisers, he said.
"Police Panel to Decide If Cameras Fight Crime"
San Francisco Chronicle (01/17/07) P. B4; Bulwa, Demian
San Francisco police have mounted 33 cameras in 14 locations in the city and routinely monitor video footage from them only twice per month, according to police records. However, Deputy Police Chief Morris Tabak says cameras help deter crime by placing a watchful eye in criminal areas. San Francisco's camera rules-of-engagement are unique in that city law requires police to have reason to believe a crime has occurred before they can watch video footage. In most places, police can watch live video feeds. To date footage from these cameras has been used only once to identify a suspect in one-and-a-half years of being on the streets. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is proposing to spend over $275,000 for 25 more cameras, and his office is studying their effectiveness with an academic partner in order to release a report soon. Some are criticizing the new cameras as a band-aid solution that lacks a real crime-prevention component, such as addiction treatment funding, better street lighting, or programs for at-risk youth.
"Dallas Police Developing Intelligence Hub: Center to Analyze Info with Quick Access to Many Databases"
Dallas Morning News (01/16/07); Eiserer, Tanya
Dallas is in the process of creating an intelligence command center that will allow officers to search through all 28 of Dallas' police databases, ranging from narcotics and homicide to traffic tickets, in one easy to use system. The Metro Operations Support and Analytical Intelligence Center, also know as the Fusion Center, will unify police information for the entire city and will help police identify the biggest threats and most dangerous criminals. This type of information unification is part of a new type of policing called "intelligence-led policing" that was first developed in Great Britain and has been used with great success. Similar systems are in use in New York, Los Angeles, and New Jersey, where last summer the system identified four gang members from different cities on a routine traffic stop, that normally might have gone unnoticed, helping analysis determine that the Nine Tre gang was more wide spread and sophisticated then previously thought. This information helped lead to the arrest of 90 gang members, including the entire leadership of the gang.
"No Easy Fix for State Lab Backlog"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (01/21/07); Forster, Stacy
The crime lab for testing DNA samples in Madison, Wis., has a backlog of about 1,775 cases, and officials are working to find solutions to reduce the backlog while maintaining the integrity of the lab. Newly-elected Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who has backed off his campaign promise to quickly eliminate the backlog, says it would take 20 months to clear the backlog if any new evidence wasn't submitted. Many states limit the number of DNA samples tested for each case, but this can allow the defense to say that the samples that were not submitted might be exonerating. Gov. Jim Doyle has committed to adding 15 new analysts to the lab, bring the total to 44, but he says that will not solve the problem and results will never be as fast as they are on TV.
"GPS Units Track Back to Crack Thefts"
Newsday (01/19/07); Bain, Brandon
Police in Babylon, N.Y., recently were able to recover a stolen GPS (global positioning system) device that was mistaken for a cell phone. The device was being used inside the offenders' home in Lindenhurst, N.Y., enabling police to use Babylon's own GPS system to identify the location, say law enforcement officials. A total of 14 GPS devices were stolen from vehicles in the Department of Public Works' storage yard on Sunrise Highway. In January 2006, the city equipped 300 vehicles, including snowplows, dump trucks, and street sweepers, with GPS devices. Law enforcement agencies across the country are reporting an increase in thefts of GPS devices from vehicles over the past two years. Police officials say the other 13 devices might have been discarded in the Great South Bay.
"City Hall Pushed to Buy $1.5 Million System to Track Gunshots"
Boston Globe (01/06/07); Smalley, Suzanne
Boston City Hall is being pressured by Boston city councilors, law enforcement officials, and community leaders to find the $1.5 million to install a gunshot detection system called ShotSpotter. The system, produced by ShotSpotter Incorporated of Santa Clara, Calif., uses a network of audio sensors, about the size of a coffee can, to triangulate the position of a gunshot, and is believed to be intended to cover parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and the South End. The system is so sophisticated that it can determine the location of a shot from as far as 1.5 miles away within seconds, can isolate gunshots from other sounds, and even distinguish between shots fired from different types of weapons. Last year Boston had 74 homicides, 54 from gunshot wounds, almost identical to 2005 which had a 10-year high of 75 homicides, with 51 from gunshots. The number of shootings in 2006 increased from 2005 to 377 shootings, an rise of more than 10 percent. Similar gunshot detection-systems are being used in Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn., Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., Gary, Ind., Charleston, S.C., and Rochester, N.Y. Last October in D.C. the system led police to a suspect only minutes after the shooting and Minneapolis has several success stories including an officer-involved shooting, the recovery of a discarded gun, the arrest of a convicted felon with a gun, and an arrest for a shooting that was never reported to the police.
"Expanded Program to Get DNA Could Cast a Wide Net"
Arizona Republic (01/19/07); House, Billy; Wagner, Dennis
The Justice Department may require another year before its plan to include the DNA samples of illegal immigrants in the federal DNA collection program can be implemented. Details of the initiative must still be presented to agencies affected by the changes. The final rule could be much more expansive than currently planned and provide law enforcement with an important tool. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio expressed support for the plan because it can provide suspect information not currently known. However, critics expressed concern about the expanded DNA collection that would also allow officers to collect samples from material witnesses to a crime.
"Terrorism Hoaxes Still Plaguing Law Agencies"
USA Today (01/19/07) P. 3A; Hall, Mimi
U.S. homeland security and law enforcement agencies' ability to prevent another terrorist attack is being jeopardized by numerous terrorism-related hoaxes that occur on a near-daily basis. These hoaxes force agencies to divert crucial resources, money, and manpower when responding to the hoaxes, distracting agencies from pursuing real terrorism leads. These false tips and hoaxes include the infamous October 2006 "dirty bomb" threat against seven NFL stadiums, which "caused a massive mobilization of every resource you can think of" and resulted in an untold dollar-amount-loss in terms of manpower and resources, said one law enforcement official. Many officials believed that the football stadium threat was an absurd hoax, but law enforcement takes no chances when these threats arise, and has no choice but to respond. "We're on the front lines of keeping this country safe, and when you're distracted by these false threats, it goes right to the heart of our ability to protect the country," says Dan Dzwilewski, chief of the San Diego FBI office. Law enforcement officials are calling for more stringent penalties for the perpetrators of these hoaxes. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-01-18-hoaxes_x.htm
- NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary Thursday, February 1, 2007 Cameras Gather Evidence, Help Catch Criminals Kansas City StarMessage 7 of 18 , Feb 1, 2007View Source
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, February 1, 2007
"Cameras Gather Evidence, Help Catch Criminals"
Kansas City Star (01/28/07); Lambe, Joe
The use of video surveillance footage is growing increasingly important in solving crimes and convicting criminals. Surveillance video business doubled over the last five years, and is expected to increase from $9.2 billion in 2005 to $21 billion by the end of the decade. Kansas City homicide Detective Steve Morgan says the first thing the police do at a crime scene is look for video cameras, even as far as a couple of blocks away, in case a camera caught someone going to or leaving the crime scene. Kansas City police want $4 million to upgrade patrol car cameras to higher-quality digital equipment and to install cameras in high-crime neighborhoods. Chicago already has hundreds of cameras in high-crime areas and is in the process of installing about 2,000 more, and Cincinnati officials plan to spend $6 million for "smart" cameras that can zoom in on people when gunshots are detected. A pilot study of the technology in Orange, N.J., reported an 85 percent drop in gun-related crimes. The ACLU says the use of new video technology has outrun concerns of privacy and policy, and the extreme use of cameras in public places makes no sense, according to Brett Shirk, director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, citing a study in the United Kingdom that said public cameras did not reduce crime or make people feel safer. http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/16562557.htm
"County Jail Officials Push for Video Bail Hearings"
Baltimore Sun (01/26/07); Mitchell, Josh
Prison officials in Baltimore County, Md., say they want to launch videoconferencing for inmates' bail review hearings to save money and time. At present, many prisoners are transported from the county detention center in Towson to district courts in Essex and Catonsville to take part in bail reviews. But if videoconferencing were established, inmates would remain in Towson while judges could review their bails remotely. Meg Ferguson, criminal justice coordinator for County Executive James T. Smith Jr., says the project could involve about six cameras, one at each court building and one or more at the detention center in Towson. However, District Court buildings would have to be retrofitted to handle the new technology. Ferguson was unable to offer an estimate for the project. Officials assert that in the long run, videoconferencing would save funds because the cost of transporting prisoners would be cut. Furthermore, police officers at precincts would have to deal with fewer inmates, officials say. Officials also feel it would be safer to keep inmates within a single facility for hearings. The videoconferencing initiative requires the endorsement of the county executive as well as district and city courts, and officials hope to deploy the new system by spring.
"Camera Planes Pitched to Parker"
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (01/27/07); Campbell, Elizabeth
Parker County, Texas, could purchase unmanned aircraft that can help police search for people lost in wooded areas. The aircraft measure only three feet to four feet from wingtip to wingtip, but are equipped with imaging cameras and software that can aid searchers. The aircraft system can also provide firefighters with an eye-in-the-sky view of fires that can aid firefighting efforts. In addition, the aircraft could also be used to monitor areas where drug activity is suspected. A person stationed at the control center guides the three digital cameras used by each aircraft, which sends live video and high-resolution images to a computer.
"Courts Installing Electronic Network"
Ventura County Star (CA) (01/26/07); Hernandez, Raul
The Ventura County, California, court system is scheduled to begin using a new electronic network in March for filing cases. Probate courts will be one of the early users of the network, with criminal courts hoping to use the network within two years. The multimillion-dollar statewide network, called the California Case Management System, is designed to allow judges, attorneys, and the public to access court files and documents over the internet from any location. The system is intended to reduce the lines at the county's court records department, and save a significant amount of tax dollars. Similar systems are in use in Colorado, Delaware, and federal courts.
"New Orleans Gets Anti-Crime Update"
Los Angeles Times (01/27/07) P. A14; Simmons, Ann M.
On Jan. 26, New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced efforts to fight violent crime, including more surveillance cameras, assigning more officers to foot patrols, and increasing the number of random traffic checkpoints. Nagin said 50 surveillance cameras in the city are currently functional, and that over the next two months 20 additional hot spots would be monitored through cameras. Surveillance cameras would also be erected along St. Charles Avenue ahead of Mardi Gras in March, he said. Law enforcement officials said officers would be required to walk their beats for as long as 1.5 hours per shift. In addition, officials said that random checkpoints established over the past few weeks have led to 1,600 citations, including 24 arrests involving drugs and the arrest of 35 wanted criminals. Some citizens have praised the mayor and police officials for providing weekly public updates.
"British Footprint Database to Help Catch Criminals"
Reuters (01/29/07); Reany, Patricia
A new database being launched by Britain on Feb. 15 will compile footwear prints and marks from crime scenes and information from shoe manufacture's to help police. Footwear marks are the second biggest evidence type behind blood and DNA, according to Dr. Romelle Piercy of the Forensic Science Service in London. Footprints can be found nearly everywhere at a crime scene from on a body or carpet to within earth or mud, and are very unique to each individual person. The Footwear Intelligence Tool will include data on shoe type, color, branding, marks, and demographic information. The database is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
"Mayor Seeks City Funding for Gunshot Locater Technology"
Boston Globe (01/22/07) P. B5; Vaznis, James
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to submit a request to the City Council this week for the purchase of sensors to monitor high-crime areas. The technology can locate where gunshots originated from and link directly to the city's emergency dispatch center. Officials noted that the system could be activated as soon as the summer. However, Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis indicated recently that he carefully wanted to consider the benefits of the system before providing his support. ShotSpotter developed the technology, which could eventually be used in conjunction with a camera system. Menino is optimistic that the acoustic gunshot-detection system can improve the police department's success rate for solving criminal cases.
"Video Enlisted as Crime Deterrent"
Press Enterprise (PA) (01/23/07) P. B1; Moore, Steve
Palm Desert has agreed to launch a technology trial that allows 10 local businesses to receive as much as $1,500 in rebates for equipping their buildings with video surveillance gear. City officials project that the businesses will pay roughly $3,000 each to equip the surveillance technology. Businesses involved in the program are required to offer merchandise and services to consumers in Palm Desert. The types of businesses that qualify for the program include nightclubs, bars, banks, retail stores, and others. Participating businesses will equip the cameras in places that provide cover of interior, exterior, and common entry or extra doorways. The police department will be able to instantly access the images.
"Court Security Plan to Cost Freehold $66G"
Asbury Park Press (NJ) (01/23/07); Petruncio, Nick
The Freehold borough will invest $66,500 to upgrade its municipal court security plan under a mandate issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court that orders all local urban districts to establish a court security committee and security program. The urban districts were required to present preliminary security plans by Dec. 29 of last year. State Superior Court Judge Lawrence M. Lawson said all municipalities have complied with the demand and added that his staff is currently evaluating the proposals. The urban districts are required to submit their final drafts by Feb. 5. The order also requires all municipal courtrooms in New Jersey to adopt a number of security protections, such as weapons detection measures and using materials to protect the judge's bench from bullets. The Freehold borough plans to install security cameras, a walk-through metal detector, and videoconferencing as part of its upgrade.
"Parishes Now Share a Radio System"
New Orleans Times-Picayune (01/24/07) P. 1; Hunter, Michelle
In Louisiana, police departments in the parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines can now talk to each other via a single radio system. The departments launched a joint 700 MHz digital radio system on Jan. 22 funded by federal disaster money and grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The initiative is expected to encompass fire, medical, and government services in the future, according to law enforcement officials. New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley noted that because the new radio system facilitates interoperability, the system would accommodate out-of-state emergency personnel if they were to reprogram their own equipment. The new radio system now allows a Jefferson deputy sheriff, for example, to communicate with a New Orleans patrol officer directly, while in the past, officers would have to go though the communications hubs of the respective departments. DHS has allocated roughly $2.3 billion for a nationwide effort to replace obsolete or damaged radio systems, says George Foresman, the undersecretary of preparedness for DHS. Law enforcement officials estimate that the four-parish upgrade cost approximately $30 million.
"Osceola Site Tracks Sex Offenders"
Orlando Sentinel (FL) (01/24/07); Aradillas, Elaine
Residents of Osceola County, Fla., will be able to look up the location of sex offenders within a 1-mile radius of their address using the Sex Offender Watch program. The program, which was added to the Osceola County Sheriff's Web site, allows residents to enter the address of their home, school, or business to see if any sex offenders live within a mile of those addresses, as well as receive email notification if a sex offender should move into a residence near those locations. The program cost $7,000 to set up and will cost the same amount annually for upkeep, and is used by 300 sheriffs in 26 states.
"Council to Take Longer Look at Traffic Cameras"
Macon Telegraph (GA) (01/23/07); Barnwell, Matt
The Macon, Ga., City Council will likely convene during the last week of January to talk over a proposed agreement with Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) to erect red-light cameras at a minimum of 10 intersections in the city. Council members had earlier raised several concerns, including a pending state bill that would ban red-light cameras and citizens' opinions that Macon is more worried about making money than safety matters. ACS has informed city authorities that fines could earn the government between $4 million and $5.5 million over the deal's five-year term. Under the agreement, Macon would list 15 potential surveillance sites, and with the city's permission, ACS would then implement cameras in 10 or more of these intersections. The company would maintain the cameras and collect for Macon the fees they produce. Macon would pay a monthly fee to ACS of around $4,400 a camera, over $2.6 million during the five-year contract. The cameras would record three still pictures of vehicles that go through red lights, and a dozen seconds of video. ACS would permit preliminary reviews of camera photos and send any images that seem to portray a violation to the police, and an officer would then study the photos via a secure Web site and send a citation to the vehicle's owner. http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/local/16522258.htm
"Your License Plate May Be On Candid Camera"
Buffalo News (01/22/07) P. A1; Watson, Stephen T.
Police are using a new system that allows them to scan license plates quickly and accurately. The system, called optical character recognition (OCR), recognizes letters and symbols using infrared cameras that read license plates and translates the images into digital characters. Washington D.C., Maryland, Florida, and New York are some of the areas using the system. In Buffalo, N.Y., police using the system at a checkpoint issued 2,119 vehicle and traffic tickets, gave out 538 misdemeanor summonses, impounded 501 cars, and made a handful of arrests for driving a stolen car or possessing stolen plates.
"System Tracks Criminals and More"
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (01/19/07) P. A3; Mathews, Cameron
A tracking system called RiteTrack is helping detention facilities in several states improve their intake processes and how they allocate probation officers to clients. The system is "50 percent business, the other half human service," asserts Even Brande, president and CEO of Handel Information Technologies, which manufactures the system. Les Pozsgi, division administrator with the state corrections department's field services division, says the department expects to issue a request for proposals for a field-specific, electronic case management system by February. He adds that it might use RiteTrack but will consider systems from across the country. The department's spokeswoman, Melinda L. Brazzale, says the facility now uses an internally developed product called the Wyoming Criminal Information System to monitor offenders. RiteTrack technology is beneficial because it prevents the loss of crucial data and streamlines the work of probation officers and other staff members. Law enforcement agencies, drug courts, and juvenile services can also benefit from the technology, according to Handel's Web site. http://www.wyomingnews.com
"Ringing Busy: Managing Commercial Telecommunications in a Public Safety World"
Law Enforcement Technology (01/07) Vol. 34, No. 1, P. 32; Brown, Todd
Police organizations have frequently been quick to adopt new communication technology, but to take advantage of the newest cellular phones and personal communications devices, police are forced to depend on "commercial" telecommunications systems. Some of the newer options are smart phones such as the Blackberry, Push to Talk phone/radios from Nextel, Sprint, and Verizon, and geographic information systems (GIS)-enabled devices. Smart phones can be used for scheduling and internet access, Push to Talk allows for one person to talk to multiple people at the same time, and GIS creates mapping and tracking functions on cell phones, laptops and radios. Mobile Data Terminals can be used to record, store, transmit and receive mission-critical data on-site, and are in widespread use by police and EMS. There are concerns that too much commercialization of public safety communications might have reliability and network access problems. http://www.officer.com/magazines/let/
"A Simple Plot"
Law Enforcement Technology (01/07) Vol. 34, No. 1, P. 8; Morgenstern, Henry
Although liquid explosives have not been used often in recent suicide bombings throughout the world, law enforcement agencies still must take action to stop them from being used. Investigations of the plot last August to bomb airplanes coming to the United States from the United Kingdom are finding that bottles of Lucozade--an English brand of Gatorade--with fake bottoms would have been employed. The Lucozade would have been contained in the bottle's top section while the false bottom would have held the explosives. It has been determined by authorities that the liquid would be utilized to either manufacture triacetone triperoxide TATP and/or hexamethylene triperoxide diamine. These apparently would have been mixed after take-off, and both substances can be activated by heat, friction, or electrical charge. There are numerous kinds of liquid and gel explosives that law enforcement should learn about, including WaterGel explosives, which were devised to replace dynamite, are packaged in plastic, have the appearance of very big sausages, and need a detonator. Two-element Kinepak is sold commercially and has a syrupy red liquid appearance; when combined with a white powder component it makes a highly powerful explosive, and requires an electrical or mechanical detonation. Nitroglycerin continues to be the explosive with the highest instability, and can be stabilized through freezing and reconstitution or by adding elements that can then be removed. http://www.officer.com/magazines/let/
- NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary Thursday, February 8, 2007 Aventura Police Use Web for UnsolvedMessage 8 of 18 , Feb 9, 2007View Source
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, February 8, 2007
"Aventura Police Use Web for Unsolved Murder"
Miami Herald (02/04/07) P. B5; Teproff, Carli
The Aventure Police Department decided to use MySpace.com and YouTube.com to hopefully receive leads in the 2001 slaying of an elderly man. Police posted footage of a person they are seeking in connection with the case at both Web sites. Police are hoping that the postings will lead to identification of the man, who can be seen on surveillance cameras interacting with the murder victim, who died in his apartment from injuries sustained during a vicious beating. South Florida Police have also employed the Internet to discourage violence at a middle school in Hollywood and identify suspects in two cases.
Auburn Citizen (02/03/07); Elliott-Engel, Amaris
Police crime labs across the country are benefiting from technologies such as DNA testing, global positioning system (GPS) technology, digital imagery, and databases for fingerprints, tire tracks, and shoe prints. But experts stress that these tools need to be combined with witness interviews, motive, and other investigative approaches before evidence can be linked to a particular person. Courts in New York have since 2001 allowed the use of DNA evidence derived from short tandem repeat (STR) testing. W. Mark Dale at the State University of New York at Albany's Northeast Regional Forensic Institute notes that evidence "needs a seamless chain of custody" as well as be "protected from degradation." The forensic institute offers a 12-week, 12-credit program at the graduate level targeted to those with degrees in biology or chemistry. Participants learn about laboratory processes, microbiology, and presenting evidence in criminal trials. A total of 48 individuals graduated in 2006, but many more such trained workers are needed to fulfill demand. Al Pola, an instructor at Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, teaches students in the Legal Professions program how to roll fingerprints using a card and ink because not all police departments can afford automated fingerprinting systems. http://www.auburnpub.com/articles/2007/02/04/news/local_news/news01.txt
"Video Cameras and Microphones Outfit Vehicles Targeted for Theft"
Stockton Record (CA) (02/03/07); Brewer, Rick
The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that the Honda Civic is the second most popular vehicle targeted by car thieves in California. The high theft rate involving the model prompted the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to include a Honda Civic among its roughly 20 bait cars. The cars employ video cameras and microphones that help police arrest car thieves. The agency is reluctant to reveal further details about the other types of car models used in the program or where the surveillance equipment is housed in the vehicles. In addition, CHP is also tight-lipped about where it places most of the cars because of concerns about alerting car thieves.
"Committee Endorses Surveillance Cameras"
Stamford Advocate (CT) (02/02/07); Lee, Natasha
A final vote on a proposal to install security cameras on city streets and in crime-ridden Stamford, Conn., neighborhoods is scheduled for Feb. 5. The Stamford Board of Representatives will render its decision on the plan, which obtained approval from the board's Public Safety Committee Jan. 31. Privacy hawks have criticized the plan for encroaching on civil liberties and targeting minority residents who live in the neighborhoods where the cameras would be installed. Law enforcement officials defend the use of the security cameras, saying they would deter crime, help investigate crimes caught on film, and monitor potential terrorist targets. "I'm hopeful that it will get approved," said committee Chairman Richard Lyons (D).
"$5M Earmarked for Photo Surveillance"
Philadelphia Daily Local News (02/02/07) P. 8; McDonald, Mark
As Philadelphia prepares to expand its surveillance camera program, city officials are asking the public to help by looking out for suspicious activity. A City Council committee recently approved a funding bill that would set aside $5 million for the program, but Mayor Street said the key to the surveillance program's success is the public. "I've always said that I want community people as a part of the monitoring process," he noted. "I don't want just police officers drawn down there. I want community people involved so no one will be able to reasonably accuse the police of abusing these cameras." So far the city has installed 18 cameras in and around Philadelphia's main streets, not including eight portable cameras that were recently installed. http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/local/16604001.htm
"Chief Urges Council to Allow Stun Guns"
Washington Post (02/01/07) P. T3; Paley, Amit R.
Howard County, Md., Police Chief William J. McMahon would like to introduce a pilot program that would supply department officers with 25 Taser stun guns. However, in order to implement the program, a county law restricting the use of electronic weapons would have to be amended. Council members are currently concerned about safety issues, pointing out that 150 Taser incidents have been linked to deaths. McMahon urged the use of the weapons as a way to avoid dangerous struggles with conventional weapons that result in injuries to both officers and suspects. In a meeting with the County Council, McMahon offered to allow himself to be stunned by a Taser gun in order to demonstrate the weapon's safety. He described the five-second stun as "uncomfortable" but said there were no aftereffects.
"System That Quickly Pinpoints Gunshots Considered for City"
Reading Eagle (PA) (02/01/07); Henshaw, Steven
Reading, Pa., is exploring the possible purchase of the ShotSpotter sensor system, which roughly 15 U.S. cities use to determine where gunshots are fired from. The acoustic sensors have enabled police in some cities to locate where gunshots are fired from in 15 seconds or less. The system is connected to dispatchers that can send police to locations before any emergency calls are placed by local residents. The short response time provides police officers with more opportunity to arrive at crime scenes where suspects are still present and enhances the chance that ambulance crews can save shooting victims. Berks County Commissioner Thomas W. Gajewski became interested in acquiring the system for the city after watching a news story about ShotSpotter. However, he noted that local police departments will have the final say in determining whether they want to install the technology. Reading Mayor Tom McMahon said the first priority is obtaining federal funding for installing a network of security cameras in the city, but added that ShotSpotter could also be implemented if the necessary funding is acquired.
"Doyle, AG: We'll Fix State Crime Lab"
Madison Capital Times (WI) (02/03/07) P. B1; Callender, David
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is seeking to increase the number of analysts working at the state Crime Lab beyond the 15 requested last year by Gov. Jim Doyle. Van Hollen did not provide details about his plans but said he planned to raise the number of analysts working at the lab by "a substantially greater number" than originally requested. He indicated the number will be chosen based on the requirements of law enforcement and technologies employed by the lab. The state's backlog of criminal cases awaiting DNA tests exceeded 1,700 last year--the most since 2000. http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/index.php?ntid=117521
"Bush Seeks Money for Border Agents, Surveillance Gear"
Bloomberg (02/05/07); Roland, Neil
President Bush's $2.9 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2008 seeks a 1 percent increase for the amount of funding allocated to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), from $33.8 billion in fiscal 2007 to $34.3 billion in 2008. Bush is requesting that the DHS' Customs and Border Protection unit receive a 36 percent increase in funding, to $8.8 billion, with much of the additional funding paying for about 3,000 more border patrol agents and an increase in the use of surveillance technology on the U.S. southern border. "We'll need to put more effort to get the people who are the toughest nuts to crack," said DHS chief Michael Chertoff, alluding to U.S. efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. Chertoff said that Bush wants $1 billion allocated toward a project that would deploy cameras, sensors, and lights along the Arizona border with Mexico. The surveillance technology would be added to an additional 150 miles of border. Bush's budget would slash the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) budget from $6 billion this year to $5.2 billion in 2008, a 14 percent drop, while increasing airport security budgets by 7 percent and the Coast Guard's budget by 3 percent. Also, Bush would increase domestic nuclear detection funding by 17 percent. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aAHrERjzBd84&refer=home
"ShotSpotter Is Here, Minneapolis, but It's Not Going to Save the Day"
Minneapolis Star Tribune (01/31/07) P. 1B; Coleman, Nick
Minnesota Star-Tribune columnist Nick Coleman says the ShotSpotter--a new, computerized system that locates gunshots and provides police with a good picture of where the shots are occurring--"is a good news/bad news thing." He states while on the positive side, ShotSpotter can help combat crime, the "bad news is your town has reached the point where it needs a computer system to track all the gunplay." Coleman stresses that ShotSpotter will not prevent individuals from being shot, but will just send police to the general area of "where your corpse lies on the sidewalk, cooling." He adds that the technology has not saved anybody's life and so far has not yielded any arrests. In addition, Coleman notes, ShotSpotter is just certified to be correct 80 percent of the time and it cannot locate a shooting accurately enough to justify dispensing a search warrant. Coleman writes that these concerns have prompted civil-liberties experts to warn that the technology may not warrant a police crackdown on everyone in a region. "In the end, it's still the citizens who are the 'shot spotters' who matter most," Coleman concludes. http://www.startribune.com/357/story/970502.html
"Mayor Wants Thousands of Cameras"
Charleston Gazette (WV) (01/31/07) P. P1C; Balow, Jim
The Charleston, W.Va., police department has installed two surveillance cameras intended to deter crime in public areas and observe violations that do occur so that perpetrators can be easily identified and caught. Mayor Danny Jones would like to expand the camera program into an initiative that would eventually feature thousands of cameras that would enable police officers to observe every public area in the city, although police Chief Brent Webster says the department needs to become more familiar with the existing cameras' workings and maintenance needs before adding more. The department has the capability to install both overt and covert cameras at a cost of approximately $4,500 each; officers operating the cameras can adjust the angles, pan, and zoom to see detailed coverage of an event and capture important data such as license-plate numbers. Webster says that eventually operation from police vehicles will be a possibility. However, some groups are concerned that the cameras may be excessively intrusive and impinge upon citizens' privacy. Webster says the expectation of privacy does not exist in public areas, although Jones concedes that the cameras should not be used to observe private property.
"Bill to Stop Online Sexual Predators Criticized"
San Francisco Chronicle (01/31/07) P. A2; Garofoli, Joe
Critics say the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act, introduced in both the House and Senate as a way to combat online sexual predators, is ineffective and easy to circumvent. The bill would require convicted sexual offenders to register their email and instant messaging addresses with the National Sex Offender Registry, so social networking sites could compare the information with user profiles. The bill would also make it illegal for anyone over 18 to misrepresent their age on the Internet with the intention of engaging in criminal sexual activity with a minor. WiredSafety.com executive director Parry Aftab says offenders could easily use addresses or screen names other than those they register, and calls the bill "knee-jerk legislation." Others say the bill is ignoring the fact that users themselves must be educated as to the dangers of social networking sites. Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, the leader of a coalition of 34 attorney generals considering legal action against MySpace, has taken issue with one the bill's provisions that would offer "liability relief" to social networking sites should a user be misidentified as a sexual predator. Blumenthal says the provision could be used to "provide blanket immunity." MySpace, which supports the bill, was sued last month by the families of four underage girls who were sexually abused by people they met on the site. MySpace has developed database technology for removing known sexual offenders from virtual communities, which it is currently beta-testing, and a system whereby parents can see if their children are creating multiple profiles, which will be deployed this summer.
"Florida Department of Law Enforcement Expands Deployment of SPYRUS PKI System to Meet Growing Requirement for Information Sharing and Authentication"
Business Wire (01/31/07)
SPYRUS, Inc., an innovator in security products and solutions, today announced that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has expanded its use of the SPYRUS Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solution and has tripled its number of certificate licenses. The system enables authentication of law enforcement personnel accessing sensitive databases. FDLE will expand the number of licenses from 26,000 digital certificates issued to more than 80,000. FDLE originally installed the SPYRUS PKI System v5.0 solution in 2001 and grew the number of licenses from 10,000 to 26,000. "We have found that the SPYRUS PKI is the best fit to meet our unique requirements for information sharing between law enforcement agencies and officers in Florida," said Acting CIO Don Sherman of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "The flexibility of implementation and high assurance security made this the ideal choice for our environment." The SPYRUS PKI System was originally installed as part of a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsored initiative conducted in cooperation with FDLE. The SPYRUS PKI updates were deployed state-wide via the State of Florida's frame relay network (Criminal Justice Network or CJNet). With more than 300 law enforcement agencies connected to the network supporting more than 800 locations from the Georgia border to Key West, FDLE has standardized on SPYRUS as the security platform for accessing a broad range of data and applications by all authorized Florida law enforcement officials.
"Where Gum Can Become Evidence"
Syracuse Post-Standard (NY) (01/31/07) P. B1; Baker, Robert A.
The Syracuse, N.Y.-based Wallie Howard Jr. Center for Forensic Sciences, which has been around for eight years, announced on Jan. 31 that the center's DNA study on the saliva of a piece of gum had helped identity a victim's attacker. Last August, a man who had been beaten, tied up, and robbed in his Syracuse apartment told police that his attacker had spit his gum out while there. The attacker was already in police custody for two separate felonies. The center performs other study's besides DNA analysis. The 28 scientists and technicians working at the center use ovens and special lighting to obtain usable fingerprints off weapons. Guns are reconstructed and bullets discharged into water tanks so special markings on the bullets can be contrasted with bullets located at a crime scene. Suspected drugs are also tested, and debris from questionable fires is analyzed for chemicals that could reveal a cause. Proof from over 20 law enforcement agencies is sent to the center, where it is studied and utilized to make cases. http://www.post-standard.com
"Antiterror Cameras Capturing Crime on T"
Boston Globe (01/29/07) P. B1; Daniel, Mac; Smalley, Suzanne
Federal homeland security grants totaling about $23 million have allowed Boston to install more than 450 security cameras since 2002 at the city's subway stations and at some bus stations. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) expects to install 50 more of the digital fiber-optic cameras by spring. MBTA Transit Police are using the digital images from surveillance cameras to arrest suspects who otherwise would probably not get apprehended. So far, roughly a dozen crimes have been solved using footage from the cameras. Officials say the cameras enable police to gain important clues such as clothing details and distinguishing features like tattoos. They also say the digital format allows recordings to be clearer than those on videotape because the images are stored on hard drives and do not degrade over time. Sergeant Detective Michael Adamson says detectives recently purchased a new video enhancement tool "because of the anticipated increase in forensic evidence that we'll be holding at the station." But some individuals are concerned about how the camera system is used when people are not doing anything wrong. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/01/29/antiterror_cameras_capturing_crime_on_t/
"Intranet Puts Data at Officers' Fingertips"
Portland Press Herald (Maine) (01/30/07) P. A1; Hench, David
Maine's Portland Police Department is utilizing a new secure intranet that immediately provides a broad range of data to patrol officers. The system employs wireless signals to connect laptop computers in every police car to searchable computer databases monitored at the station, which makes large amounts of data available to officers with a handful of keystrokes and allows in-depth bulletins to be easily accessible on the officer's laptop. The utilization of Web-based technology is beginning to catch on at police departments throughout the nation. Other police departments in Maine that employ wireless technology include the Lewiston Police Department, which transmits electronic bulletins to its officers at the start of every shift with the most recent information on wanted individuals and recent crimes. Providing officers with more detailed recent information means they can perform better by taking measures to stop problems instead of reacting to them, notes Portland patrol services head Capt. Vern Malloch. The system permits police to study logs from the various beats; briefings from the intelligence division; safety bulletins and special alerts; registered sex offenders; individuals who are on probation and on bail; and probation officers' names and numbers. Data about people usually includes pictures and recent contacts with the department. http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/local/070130intranet.html
"'Sniffer-Bot' Algorithm Helps Robot Seek Scents"
New Scientist (01/24/07); Inman, Mason
Researchers in France have developed an algorithm that could allow robots to find the source of a faint scent even in the midst of air turbulence, much like a moth does. Massimo Vergassola and some of his colleagues at the Pasteur Institute in Paris tested their simple algorithm in a virtual environment and found that it not only allowed a virtual robot to successfully track and find the source of a scent, but it caused the virtual robot to move in complex back and forth sweeping motions, s-curves, and spirals that closely resemble the way a moth tracks a scent. The algorithm uses information received from the scent itself as well as information received when the scent is not detected, striking a balance between heading directly toward the point where it guesses the scent is coming from and wandering around collecting information but not making any progress toward the source. Vergassola says the algorithm could be implemented in an actual robot or be used for other applications that involve searching without much information, such as detecting the best paths for information to be sent through a network. This research "provides a new framework for understanding a large and significant class of problems encountered in real world situations," says the University of Pennsylvania's Alan Gelperin. He adds that by adding instruments that could gather information about the airflow around a robot, the algorithm could even be improved. http://www.newscientisttech.com/channel/tech/dn11023-snifferbot-algorithm-helps-robots-seek-scents.html
- NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary Thursday, February 15, 2007 Manatee s Pilot Program Places Records Back Online Bradenton HeraldMessage 9 of 18 , Feb 16, 2007View Source
Thursday, February 15, 2007
"Manatee's Pilot Program Places Records Back Online"
Bradenton Herald (FL) (02/12/07) P. 1; Alund, Natalie Neysa
R.B. Shore, Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court, has been working for eight months to obtain approval for a trial program for electronic access to court records. Shore has a few more months to prove the program can provide public access while protecting confidential information. The program will use redacting technology to identify and remove confidential information, and will have levels of access based on the user. Judges, their staff, and clerks will have the highest level of access, lawyers and clients will have full access to their cases, and the public will be able to view non-confidential records. The program is intended to save money by cutting down on foot traffic in the clerk's office. The first year official records such as deeds and mortgages went online, office traffic decreased 60 percent, says Shore. If the program receives approval a year-long trial will begin May 1. http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/local/16678806.htm
"A 'Fine-Tuned' Jail"
Tampa Tribune (02/10/07) P. 1; Wells, Mike
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has undertaken a project to expand its Falkenburg Road Jail by 768 beds before the end of 2008. The project calls for the construction of a new administrative building, a new sally port, a video courtroom, a control center for monitoring prisoners, and other new features and structures. The project is projected to cost $50.4 million. Jim Gross, special projects manager for the sheriff's jail division, notes that funding has not been obtained for the next construction phase. Gross adds that construction will not interfere with the operation of the jail. The number of offenders booked into the county's jail system is rising, but the number of prisoners typically held at the facility each day has decreased during the last two years.
"County Boosts Communications"
Indianapolis Star (02/09/07) P. 2; Walton, Richard D.
The approximately $8 million Hendricks County Communications Center is expected to open in June 2007 in Plainfield, Ind., located in the city's renovated police station. Supporters of the center say it will slash response times because all police and fire departments in the county will be able to communicate with each other and monitor each other's radio traffic. In addition, each patrol car in the county will be equipped with a computer featuring GPS (global positioning system) technology. The technology will enable dispatchers at the center to know the location of each car or fire truck and which vehicles are closest to a crime or fire. The closest units will be dispatched first irrespective of jurisdiction, says Larry Brinker, the center's executive director. Officers and firefighters will also be able to view aerial images of the county, says Brownsburg Town Council member Gary Hood. Avon Police Chief Jack Miller notes that local police departments will have access to a shared record-management system, enabling them to swap data more easily and identify patterns across the county. Officials add that the communications center will facilitate upgrades because they will have to be performed only at a single site rather than in multiple places. http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007702090332
"Getting Low-Risk People Out of the Jail"
Wisconsin State Journal (02/10/07) P. A4; DeFour, Matthew
Officials in La Crosse County, Wis., initially thought about increasing electronic tracking while studying plans to construct a new prison several years ago. Two years ago, judges concurred to sentence all prisoners to the secure prison or to a widened Justice Sanctions program, operated by the Human Services Department, which handles numerous prison diversion programs, including electronic tracking. The La Crosse County Board voted that same year to phase out its work-release prison, which held as many as 110 prisoners. The men's secure prison and the women's prison are still open. In 2006, the Justice Sanctions program typically diverted 227 prisoners a day from the secure prison. Crowding in the secure prison, however, has become a big problem, with prisoners sleeping on the floor almost every night. Mike Weissenberger, who is the former sheriff of La Crosse County, was very critical of shutting the work-release prison, which he thinks has caused the crowding situation. He explained that whenever a prisoner with electronic tracking or day reporting privileges breaches the regulations at home, he or she frequently must come back to the secure prison. Justice Sanctions program administrator Jane Klekamp contests the criticism, arguing that a study discovered that the amount of prisoners violating regulations on home tracking was the same as the amount violating regulations in the work-release prison.
"Allen Parolees to Test GPS Monitoring"
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (IN) (02/10/07) P. A1; Iacone, Amanda
The Indiana Department of Correction is utilizing Allen County to try out a new Global Positioning System (GPS) that will track sex and violent offenders out on parole. The county's commissioners approved a deal on Feb. 9 to permit the one-year pilot program, which will be financed by Indiana. The program will enable Indiana to try out the GPS system, which would eventually track all sex and violent offenders as mandated by state law. New GPS technology can follow an offender's every movement and can inform the offender if he or she goes into an "exclusion zone." The zones could be adjacent to an area park or victim's house, school, or work. The pilot program's participants must have a phone line in their house, and other adults there must permit police to search the establishment periodically. In addition, the parolees will take part in case management via community corrections. Indiana will pay a Colorado firm to lease its software and tracking equipment that is given to the offender. http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/16667911.htm
"'Photo-Red' Gets Local Support"
Daily Progress (02/11/07); Seal, Rob
On Feb. 6, a bill was passed in the Virginia House of Delegates that may allow the installation of red-light cameras at some local intersections. If the bill becomes law, first-time offenders would be fined $50. Law enforcement officials in Albemarle and Charlottesville have expressed support for the cameras and are prepared to allocate funds for them. Police in Albemarle would like to erect the cameras at several intersections along U.S. 29, while those in Charlottesville would like to see them erected at the intersection of McIntire Road and Preston Avenue. But detractors say taking images of drivers would be intrusive and that the cameras might be misused by law enforcement seeking additional funds. In response to these concerns, the state Senate passed two "photo-red" bills prohibiting local governments from hiring external firms to oversee the cameras. Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine says he supports legislation that would allow local communities to decide whether they want to use the cameras.
"Fighting Sex Crimes Effectively"
Buffalo News (02/09/07); Becker, Maki
Advancements in technology, policy, and the law have made police more efficient in solving and making arrests in sexual crimes. Policy used to dictate that rape cases where the victim knew the assailant or had a less-than-pristine past, such as a prostitute, were not seriously considered and frequently not seen as a rape at all. Now that there is a better understanding of what constitutes a sexual crime all cases are handled more professionally and seriously. Technology has also improved the conviction rate in sexual cases. Once very few hospitals had rape kits, where as now almost all local hospitals are equipped to collect evidence and some even have nurses that are specialists in rape evidence collection. http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20070209/1074888.asp
"Tragedy Spurs Minn. Cop to Mount Indian Country Crime Database"
Associated Press (02/09/07); Forliti, Amy
Sgt. Bill Blake with the Minneapolis Police Department is striving to develop a database to better monitor crimes among Native Americans in the region. Called I-CARE (Indian Crime Awareness Research and Evaluation), the network would initially include a few tribes but would later expand to include all tribes in Minnesota and Wisconsin and eventually nationwide. The aim is to provide tribes with a means of identifying trends and tracking criminals across different reservations. The I-CARE project would incorporate the work of NALES (Native American Law Enforcement Summit), which Blake created after the murder of his daughter in 2003 in Wisconsin. Blake says existing data collected the Bureau of Justice Statistics might not be accurate because data is collected by several methods, such as household surveys. Blake and fellow Minneapolis officer Larry Loonsfoot anticipate receiving a two-year, $600,000 grant from the Justice Department to launch the I-CARE initiative, while Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan hopes to provide computers, staff assistance, and space for the project. http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/breaking_news/16664540.htm
"Harford to Use 'Blue Boxes' on Handcuffs to Foil Escapes"
Baltimore Sun (02/08/07) P. 2B; Mitchell, Josh
The Harford County Sheriff's Office has acquired 25 "blue boxes" that prevent inmates from potentially slipping out of their handcuffs. The devices fit over the chain of each cuff and link both cuffs. Blue boxes limit the mobility of the wrist and also prevents access to the keyhole. Hiatt-Thompson charged $500 for the 25 units, which will provide additional security for inmates classified as escape risks. The sheriff's office decided to obtain the devices after a 31-year-old inmate slipped out of his cuffs, bell chain, and leg irons during an scheduled examination at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.
"Laptop Law Enforcement"
La Crosse Tribune (WI) (02/08/07); Springer, Dan
Law enforcement officers for La Crosse County, Wis., will no longer be issuing handwritten citations, warnings, and accident reports, but will be printing out reports using on-board computers in their cruisers. Traffic and Criminal Software (TraCS) was originally installed to relay information to the state Department of Transportation faster, but has several secondary benefits. TraCS automatically saves each citation or report and sends it to the clerk of courts office and the state so data never has to be re-entered, and reports or citations will never be incomplete again as TraCS will not allow the officer to print out the driver's copy without filling in every required section. Officers will also be able to draft a reconstruction of the incident with a program on the system. Sheriff's department deputies started using the program in December and have since trained over 100 people to use TraCS, and La Crosse County sheriff's Captain Mike Horstman said that all county officers will soon be fully trained. http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2007/02/08/news/z01police.txt
"Police Data Will Be Shared"
Telegram & Gazette (02/07/07) P. B1; Lee, Brian
In a project funded by the Central Region Homeland Security Council, 20 Massachusetts police departments will share information with each other using a records management system. Through the use of an Internet-based private network, officers from one area, using a computer in either a station or a cruiser, can access data from another area without having to submit a query and wait for a response. The system even uses voice recognition so officers on patrol can run a search while driving. The central region is one of five homeland security districts in Massachusetts, and police officials said that the system may eventually be expanded to include other regions. http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage
"D.C. Street Cameras Put on Fast Track"
Washington Post (02/07/07) P. B1; Stewart, Nikita; Klein, Allison
The D.C. Council has permitted the use of emergency legislation to hasten the purchase of 24 surveillance cameras. The council had already agreed to allow purchase of the cameras, which will monitor areas where crime frequently occurs, last year. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said the delay in purchasing the equipment is an embarrassment for the city. Supporters of using the cameras hope that they will discourage crime and lead to the identification of more suspects, but skeptics are doubtful about their potential effectiveness. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) believes the city could reap greater benefits from increasing the number of police officers on patrol. In addition, he also advocates expanding investment in rehabilitating those released from prison. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/06/AR2007020601694.html
"Devices Could Disable Terror Bombs"
San Francisco Chronicle (02/07/07) P. A3; Davidson, Keay
Police, fire fighters, FBI agents, and other responders could eventually have access to devices capable of disabling nuclear weapons and dirty bombs, according to an announcement from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). These "Render Safe" devices, which are still classified, would be used by authorities in the field in the event that nuclear experts are unable to reach a threat-scene in time. The Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST), based in Nevada, is the first U.S. line of defense against nuclear-based terror attacks. Researchers have spent years creating the Render Safe devices; the NNSA says it will soon begin field-testing the gadgets. Security reasons prevented NNSA officials from detailing how the devices work. In related news, California officials have been proactive about the threat of nuclear terrorism, holding a preparedness meeting in January and working with federal authorities on a statewide plan. The San Francisco Fire Department used federal funding to purchase 150 radiation-detection devices.
"Hamblin to Guide Crime Laboratory"
Wisconsin State Journal (02/06/07) P. B1; Pitsch, Mark
Gary Hamblin, a former sheriff of Dane County, Wis., will monitor efforts to diminish a backlog of cases awaiting testing by the state's Crime Laboratory. Hamblin indicated that the lab will need more crime analysts and training officers to reach the goal. He added that additional improvements may also be required to meet the goal. The crime lab currently has a backlog of more than 1,700 cases awaiting various testing, including examination of DNA and fingerprints. Doyle has committed to hiring 15 new analysts, but the number could increase. The crime lab would reportedly require 20 months to eliminate the backlog of cases based on its current number of analysts and the condition that no new cases are presented. http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=/wsj/2007/02/06/0702050392.php
"Welcome to Wi-Fi-Ville"
Time (01/15/07) Vol. 169, No. 3, P. 52; Dell, Kristina
Increasingly, cities are planning publicly-accessible municipal wireless Internet networks, though most projects have not been fully implemented. Government officials and citizens remain concerned about the repercussions of publicly-accessible networks, including privacy breaches and how much it will cost to operate the networks. Private network providers that were initially strongly opposed to municipal plans, are now becoming involved as the architects of such networks. Still, many municipalities interested in offering wireless find they do not have sufficient funds to do so, and surveys show that few citizens are willing to pay for government-sponsored wireless access. Free networks funded solely by ads have been considered by some municipalities, but it remains unclear if this idea is economically sustainable over the long term. However, the benefits of these networks could surpass the concerns officials and resident have, particularly if the networks improve government communications during disasters or access to criminal records, building plans, and video surveillance for fire fighters and police officers. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1574164,00.html
"Consumers Tracking Criminals"
Atlanta Business Chronicle (01/29/07); Rubner, Justin
OmniLink Systems recently generated $11 million in venture capital to help introduce several innovative tracking devices, including one that would inform phone clients when a registered sex offender is close by. There are currently 180,000 convicted criminals in this country partaking in alternative monitoring programs, the Department of Justice reports. OmniLink CEO and founder Steve Aninye claims that over 1.1 million criminals nationally qualify for these programs. He thinks firms such as OmniLink can attain a 40 percent share of the monitoring-services market. OmniLink's technology would enable cell-phone users to access criminal monitoring records and get alerts when registered criminals are within a particular distance. OmniLink has already signed agreements with 15 tracking groups, whose agencies have 3,000 offenders sporting the company's tracking technology. In addition, OmniLink is teaming with Sprint Nextel, which employs OmniLink technology to sell services to law enforcement groups. For around $10 per month, Sprint Nextel clients can go through OmniLink to enroll in a tracking service. http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2007/01/29/story6.html?b=1170046800^1408335
- NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary Thursday, March 1, 2007 Camera s Eye New Weapon in Crime Fight Philadelphia Inquirer (02/26/07);Message 10 of 18 , Mar 2 2:17 AMView Source
Thursday, March 1, 2007
"Camera's Eye New Weapon in Crime Fight"
Philadelphia Inquirer (02/26/07); Fernandez, Bob
A group of about 65 industrial companies in Port Richmond, a one-square-mile neighborhood in Philadelphia, have spent $120,000 to purchase and install high-tech cameras that can detect suspicious activity, photograph faces and licenses plate from three blocks away, and eventually send real-time video straight to a police cruiser. The cameras are the latest effort to eliminate the crime and trash dumping that has plagued the Port Richmond area, driving away potential customers and employees. Port Richmond companies have already spent about $1.6 million over the past decade to replace signs, convert an empty lot into a park, widen corners for tractor-trailers, repair sidewalks, install security fences, and pay for a private company to remove trash. So far the company has removed 20,000 dumped tires from sidewalks, curbs, and yards in the area. Drug dealers and prostitutes populate the area, last year an employee was shot five blocks from his plant, and numerous muggings have happened to others.
"City Sees Early Success in GPS Program"
San Bernardino County Sun (CA) (02/26/07); Nelson, Joe
In March 2006, the city of San Bernardino, Calif., partnered with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to use ankle bracelets with global positioning system (GPS) technology to monitor high-risk gang parolees. Since that time, nearly 40 gang members equipped with the bracelets returned to jail for breaking their release terms, according to authorities. An average of three parolees per month are being rearrested, says Ernie Bastarache, a San Bernardino parole agent who oversees the program and monitors the parolees. The ankle bracelets constitute one part of the city's 18-point anti-crime initiative released last year by Mayor Pat Morris. He also wants to collaborate with officials beyond the city to reduce instances of violent crime. Meanwhile, Brad Mitzelfelt, the 1st District supervisor for San Bernardino County, says he has proposed expanding the GPS tracking program for gangs across the county. "Just based on our experience with sexual predators, we know it's been an effective tool," said Mitzelfelt's representative David Zook. San Bernardino police officials are still working on issues about sharing information with the Redlands Police Department. Officials note that each GPS bracelet costs about $2,000 and the cost for daily monitoring via GPS costs about $8; in addition, agents who monitor parolees need to be adequately trained and paid. http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_5306130
"Panel Calls for Funding to Speed DNA Processing"
Inside Bay Area (CA) (02/26/07); Bailey, Brandon
In California, the state has concluded that the state's crime labs are encountering significant delays in DNA processing, and that the state crime lab in Richmond needs emergency funding to hire more technicians. The lab now has a backlog of 150,000 samples from convicted felons as mandated by a 2004 law requiring that the state's DNA database be greatly broadened. The lab also processes crime scene findings for cities and counties. In Santa Clara County, the crime lab says it processes most DNA samples within 60 days or less, and that especially urgent cases can be completed within two or three days. Officials in Oakland say its lab, operated by the city's police department, analyzed just a third of the samples from rape probes in the city in 2005. "Most laboratories are not adequately staffed to provide timely information on investigative level cases," according to Thomas Nasser, director of Orange County's crime lab and president of a statewide organization for crime lab chiefs. The commission, which has been assessing several criminal justice issues for the California Legislature, also wants the new Attorney General Jerry Brown to search for solutions at the state and local levels. Meanwhile, the state Department of Justice has failed to keep pace in creating a statewide database designed to compare DNA samples with those already in the state database. In 2009, meanwhile, state law will require that DNA samples be taken from anyone who is arrested or charged with a felony offense. http://www.insidebayarea.com/dailyreview/localnews/ci_5306860
"Surveillance Cameras' Latest Job: Interpret the Threats They See"
Boston Globe (02/26/07)
Surveillance cameras are increasingly becoming a part of public life, and they are becoming smarter, too. The dawn of the "intelligent video" era is on the horizon, as security companies and researchers are creating algorithm-based camera systems capable of intelligently interpreting the scenes they are monitoring. For example, some cameras under development could eventually uncover suspicious behavior just by analyzing the way a person walks. Other cameras would be capable of determining a person's height or identifying unattended bags in airports. Casinos already use cameras that can detect known gamblers who cheat, and a camera network in Baltimore is capable of taking pictures of vandals and people who engage in illegal dumping, even interacting with them via a recorded message. As camera systems become more intelligent, ideally this would mean that fewer people would be needed to monitor video surveillance screens. Intelligent surveillance cameras can be programmed to look for things that are out of the ordinary--for example, a camera system monitoring a store parking lot can be programmed to focus on people loitering in the parking lot instead of those who enter the store directly.
"With Full-Body X-ray, a Closer Look at Air Travelers"
Christian Science Monitor (02/26/07); Bowers, Faye
A new security device introduced on Friday at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is meant to enable officials to locate weapons, including plastic explosives on passengers, that metal detectors and additional security measures could overlook. The full-body X-ray consists of a scanner around the size of a vending machine, and contains a backscatter than can see through clothing. The device's installation at the Phoenix airport is a test to find out how well it functions, and to determine how passengers respond to its employment. The backscatter will not be used on everyone who comes through the terminal. A passenger would have to trip alarms on the regular metal detector, or be randomly chosen for additional screening. Even then, passengers would have two choices: The new X-ray machine, or a pat-down, which has caused traveler complaints concerning invasiveness. Most of the people who were scanned by the new device at Phoenix were willing to do so. The device costs $100,000 per machine and its pilot project is set to run for as long as 90 days. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0226/p02s02-ussc.html
"Police Departments Turning to YouTube to Catch Suspects"
Associated Press (02/24/07)
A few police departments have used the video-sharing Web site YouTube.com as a law enforcement tool, erecting videos of suspects and getting assistance from the public in naming them. Though some experts claim the idea is promising, they stress it is too early to determine whether it will last since technology is always evolving. They are concerned as well that it could produce tips that do not lead to anything and could create privacy issues. Law enforcement officials, however, laud YouTube's results: In December, police in Hamilton, Ontario, put up a 72-second surveillance video to find a suspect in a deadly stabbing outside a concert. Messages were dispatched by police on Web sites used often by such fans, informing them of the clip. The video got about 35,000 hits, and police had enough data within a couple of weeks for an arrest. Certain experts note it makes sense for police departments to link with the public through the Internet, particularly among younger users more likely to visit sites such as YouTube. Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg noted that from a legal standpoint, police would be allowed to show surveillance video on the Internet unless they were unjustly accusing or defaming somebody.
"Residents Warming Up to Idea of Security Cameras"
Columbus Dispatch (OH) (02/25/07) P. 4C; Ferenchik, Mark
The communities of German Village and Merion Village near Columbus, Ohio, are voicing support for security camera systems. Bob Leighty, president of the Merion Village Association, says cameras would be beneficial and he intends to discuss security cameras soon with Andrew Ginther, a recently elected Columbus Councilman, who heads the council's safety committee. However, Leighty added that he still prefers the existing Community Crime Patrol and police department's bicycle patrol unit as deterrents. Barb Seckler, deputy safety director for Columbus, says the city lacks the money for cameras. However, some private groups in Columbus are installing them, including the Columbus Compact Corp.; the firm intends to install cameras on buildings near a new shopping and development complex. The city of Baltimore already has 350 surveillance cameras in high-crime areas and the Inner Harbor area. Matt Jablow with the Baltimore police says since the cameras were erected two years ago, violent crime in areas with cameras has fallen by 15 percent. The overall cost for the cameras was $10.5 million, but Jablow says they are a cost-effective way to reduce and record crimes. Jablow says approximately a third of the money for the cameras came from federal homeland security funds, while the remainder came from the general fund of Baltimore and money confiscated from drug dealers.
"Surveillance Cameras Saw Trouble, Police Stopped It"
Redlands Daily Facts (CA) (02/23/07)
A surveillance camera system in downtown Redlands, Calif., recently helped police prevent a potential assault. Police dispatchers were monitoring the cameras from the Police Department's Dispatch Center when they noticed a man in a crosswalk who was aggressively confronting pedestrians. Dispatchers continued monitoring the situation while dispatching officers to the scene who arrested the man for public intoxication. Police say that the pan-tilt-zoom cameras act as "force multipliers" and allow police to prevent a crime in progress or even prevent a crime from occurring. "I would much rather put someone in jail now for being drunk in public than arrest him later after a fight or an assault," said Police Chief Jim Bueermann. The four-camera surveillance system was funded via $75,000 in state and federal technology grants. http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_5290188
"City Police Will Help Fund Camera System Downtown"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (02/22/07); Bryan, Bill
The St. Louis Police Department has announced that it will provide $115,000 in funding for a new surveillance camera network that will be installed in the city's downtown area. The department already uses a portable surveillance camera system to monitor events like Mardi Gras and the World Series, but the new camera system will be installed permanently. Police officials visited Chicago, where a similar camera system has proved popular with Chicago police. The St. Louis camera network could be up and running by May. "The cameras will add another layer of security for downtown," said Assistant Chief Stephen Pollihan. "If it's beneficial like I think it will be, we'll expand the program into the neighborhoods."
"The Police Lineup Is Becoming Suspect Practice"
Christian Science Monitor (02/06/07); Jonsson, Patrik
Several states recently targeted the side-by-side police lineup, a venerable tool used by police departments across the country to help victims and witnesses pick out crime suspects, for elimination. DNA testing recently exonerated some suspects picked out by eyewitnesses, who were wrongly convicted, and this fuels initiatives aimed at replacing side-by-side lineups with "blind sequential lineups," which calls for suspects to be shown to eyewitnesses one at a time. In addition, the blind sequential lineup system requires a "blind" lineup administrator--someone who knows nothing about the case--to handle the process. Supporters suggest that a blind administrator would eliminate unintentional influences, such as a knowledgeable administrator suggesting to the eyewitness "take another look at No. 5." Police departments in Boston and Minneapolis, for example, already use "blind" lineups to reduce eyewitness identification errors, which a University of Michigan study indicated accounted for 90 percent of all mistakes in rape convictions posted in 2004. Most police officials and prosecutors resist changes to the side-by-side lineup system, but lawmakers in Georgia, West Virginia, New Mexico, Texas, and Vermont have legislation pending that would mandate these changes. However, some state officials are concerned that changes to police lineups will result in further litigation from convicted suspects claiming eyewitnesses falsely identified them. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0206/p01s02-usju.html
Washington Post (02/18/07) P. B2; Saletan, William
The future of law enforcement and warfare could revolve around new military technologies that inflict pain without causing bloodshed. The U.S. military recently invented one such technology: a nonlethal weapon that shoots a beam of "directed energy" that penetrates just 1/64th of an inch into the human body, inflaming nerve endings to inflict pain without harming the target. The pain beam technology, manufactured by Raytheon, "allows precise targeting of specific individuals," and the pain immediately ceases if the target flees or the beam is moved off the target. The Department of Defense saw the need for nonlethal weapons about a dozen years ago, noting that military forces were increasingly being used for peacekeeping missions and that enemies had begun melding with civilians. But traditional nonlethal weapons like rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray all have disadvantages and drawbacks. Thus, the DoD called for researchers to develop weapons "to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property and the environment." The energy beams, unlike projectiles, are not affected by factors like wind and gravity, and their effects are uniform from both near and far. Military leaders will soon hold a meeting in London to address the future of directed-energy weapons.
"Driver's License Emerges as Crime-Fighting Tool, but Privacy Advocates Worry"
New York Times (02/17/07); Liptak, Adam
As part of an experiment last year, three facial-recognition specialists in Massachusetts ran a photo from the Web site of America's Most Wanted against the state's database of 9 million digital driver's license photographs. The mug shot closely resembled a driver's license photograph with a different name, and after alerting the authorities, the police were able to track down and arrest the suspect in New York City, where he was receiving welfare benefits under the alias on the driver's license. At least six other states are developing or have already acquired similar driver's license databases which, when combined with facial-recognition technology, can be used as a powerful law enforcement tool. Analysts use the technology to check about 5,000 new driver's license photographs every day using a computer algorithm to check about 8,000 facial points. The computer is unable to make a perfect match and an analysis needs to check the narrowed field after the computer is finished, and the majority of computer matches are rejected. Though DNA and fingerprint databases are better for placing a suspect at a crime scene, DNA samples and fingerprints are not collected from the public. The majority of adults do have driver's licenses, and even though current technology requires a good-quality photo, the potential to link an unknown suspect to a name through their driver's license is promising. Facial-recognition technology can be used to help prevent identity theft and to stop people from obtaining a second driver's license under a false name.
"Crime Fighting Potential for Computerised Lip-Reading"
University of East Anglia (02/21/07)
University of East Anglia researchers will begin a project next month that seeks to create a program that can read lips, possibly for use in law enforcement. Although nearly everyone has some ability to read lips, little is known as to the amount of visual information that is needed for the process. The Surrey University Center for Vision, Speech, and Signal Processing has created accurate face and lip trackers, and will collaborate on the project; so will the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, which plans to use the technology for fighting crime. "To be effective the systems must accurately track the head over a variety of poses, extract numbers, or features, that describe the lips and then learn what features correspond to what text," explains UEA project leader Dr. Richard Harvey. After collecting data for lip-reading, the goal will be to create a system that can turn video of lip motion into text. "This project will also investigate how to use the extensive information known about audio speech to recognize visual speech," says Richards. The number of trained lip readers is currently decreasing as the use of sign language is increasing.
"Sheriff's Office Participates in Automated Information Program"
Houston Business Journal (02/16/07)
The Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office is taking part in an automated data-sharing test program with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT program and the Department of Justice/FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division. The test program, which was initiated on Feb. 1, permits the sheriff's office access to criminal history data when an arrested individual's fingerprints are entered. The automated procedure also informs federal immigration authorities when fingerprints are the same as an immigration violator. Immigration authorities will then study related information about the individual and take the correct action. The government agencies started the test program in 2005 with the Boston Police Department and the Dallas County Sheriff's Office to try out technology improvements made to their various fingerprint databases. http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2007/02/12/daily82.html?surround=lfn