Law Enforcement Technology
Law Enforcement Technology
NIJ Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute
Dates: February 24-28, 2008
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Application Deadline: December 12, 2007
This technology institute, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and hosted by the Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center, is designed for the command staff of rural and small law enforcement agencies containing less than 50 sworn officers. Law enforcement personnel will learn about and discuss technology initiatives and issues affecting the rural and small law enforcement community. Participants will receive information and assistance on existing and developing technologies, work through problems relating to technology implementation, and exchange technology lessons learned, that are of importance to the rural and small law enforcement community.
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, August 2, 2007
"Centre Island Police Put Latest Technology to Work"
New York Times (07/29/07) P. 5; Domash, Shelly Feuer
Law enforcement technology scans the license plates of every car driving onto Nassau County's Centre Island. Chief Dennis Weiner of the Centre Island Police Department says the agency tracks weather via radar-monitoring computers and software servers that are used as tools for criminal reports. Officers carry compact mobile scanners to transfer vehicle license and registration information onto computers, ride in night-vision binocular-equipped Volvos, and carry Tasers. The department has a centralized system for keeping reports of accidents, arrests, and officer diaries, among other features. The main headquarters' computer also provides address validations, 3-D area maps, and a comprehensive search engine. Departments with compatible software, such as Long Beach and Mamaroneck, can network and share the information from their systems. Such advanced technology at any law enforcement agency is remarkable, but it is especially atypical for Centre Island's small nine-officer department. Weiner said that the technology costs represents only 4 percent of a $1.6 million annual budget and that the department maximizes the efficiency of their allowed spending. He added, "Anytime you apply a technology that will increase officer effectiveness, you have an opportunity to increase the bang for each tax dollar spent on public safety."
"Prison Tests Keeping Out Some Drugs, and Visitors"
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (07/26/07) P. B1; Berard, Yamil
Visitors to prisons controlled by the Federal Bureau of Prisons are subject to a drug-testing machine that officials say is used to minimize drug usage in the facilities. The "minimally invasive" procedure takes swab samples from visitors' hands or clothes, and within seconds the results are produced. Authorities say the high-tech machine is so sensitive, it is unlikely that anyone who comes into contact with illegal substances would be able to bypass the test. Chemist James Woodford says, "If you go into a place where someone has smoked some meth or cocaine, there will be thousands if not hundreds of thousands of nanograms of pollution, and these ion scanners test at the nanogram level." Although the machines have been implemented for a decade to cut the incidences of visitors bringing inmates drugs, a 2003 Department of Justice Inspector General report revealed that efforts to impede drug trafficking did not decrease drug usage in prisons. Instead, the report found that staff members, who were not subject to the drug screening, smuggled drugs to inmates; the bureau is now seeking to implement a drug screening rule for employees. Visitors who test positive must wait 48 hours to visit the prison and will be tested every visit for one year, while a second positive test results in a 30-day wait period, thereafter subsequent positive tests result in longer waiting times. Yet University of North Texas professor Chad Trulson says that the machines might be hyper-sensitive, as the machines can detect a visitor who has shook hands with a drug-user, and he says officials should further evaluate the machines' usage. http://origin.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/state/17543473.htm
"Mapping Software Takes Bite Out of Crime"
Lima News (OH) (07/25/07); Stipe, Zach
The Lima, Ohio, Police Department is employing crime-mapping software to fight crime. The software can determine the precise number of crimes reported in a particular region, neighborhood, or precinct, and show where popular locations are for certain crimes. For example, the software can show the number of burglaries that took place in the Midway East neighborhood last year. Software icons such as the boxing glove (assault) and bags of money (larceny) are utilized to differentiate between various violations on a map revealing multiple crimes. All of the data is public record and updated each day. Lima-Allen County Neighborhoods in Partnership President John Schneider notes that the software is helpful because it can highlight the difference between where people think crimes occur and where they really do take place. "It can provide information to the citizens and enable closer collaboration between neighborhood activists, citizens and law enforcement," he states.
"Police Seek System to ID Cars"
East Valley Tribune (AZ) (07/26/07); Powell, Brian
Scottsdale, Ariz., police are pursing technology that will take photos of as many as 1,000 license plates per hour in an effort to be instantly informed about vehicles that are stolen or involved in terrorism investigations or Amber Alerts. The department is trying to buy four automated license plate recognition systems, which will study license plates within range of the police cruiser. If there is a match, the officers are instantly informed and can then check the plate in the database. In addition, the obtained information could be utilized in any pending investigations. The typical vehicle will a have a pair of cameras facing front and two in the back to decipher the license plates of traffic coming from the opposite direction. All scanned data will be contained in an inside database, including the license plate number and image, vehicle color, time and date stamp, and GPS location. It is believed the data will be kept for 30 days. Scottsdale intends to employ state and federal money to finance the equipment.
"Technology Sketches New Faces in Green River Nightmare"
Seattle Times (07/25/07); Sullivan, Jennifer
A new computer-imaging technology has allowed the King County, Wash., Sheriff's Office to get an idea of what three previously faceless murder victims looked like. To create a composite image of the three young girls, who were killed by Gary L. Ridgway--the so-called Green River killer--more than 20 years ago, forensic experts put their skulls through a CAT scan machine at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. The machines subjected the girls' skulls to high levels of radiation to produce cross-dimensional images that were later downloaded into computers at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). A new type of software was then used to rebuild the girls' faces based on the shape of their skulls. Before the development of this software, forensic scientists commonly used clay on skulls to recreate faces--a process that has an accuracy rate of about 60 percent. By comparison, the new software can create an image that matches what the person actually looked like about 85 percent of the time. Investigators in King County are hoping that the improved accuracy of the images will help them to identify the three victims of the Green River killer.
"Technology, Police Work Nab Burglars"
Farmington Daily Times (NM) (07/28/07); Frolik, Cory
The Aztec, N.M., Police Department recently used reverse 911 to stop a series of crimes. Reverse 911 is a system that the San Juan County Communications Authority obtained several years back utilizing funds provided by the U.S. Homeland Security Department. By employing the Qwest 911 database and the assistance of an external firm to geocode the data, the system can connect the telephone numbers and addresses of inhabitants. The communications center then places that data on a server that law enforcement officials can access via the Internet. The reverse 911 system focuses on telephone numbers of a particular geographic location. Police can then transmit a prerecorded message to people in that region. On July 13, for instance, the 911 communications facility broadcast a prerecorded message to people who reside near where the Aztec crimes occurred. A citizen responded to the message by contacting police on July 15, claiming to have witnessed a man breaking into one of the houses, who was later arrested. http://www.daily-times.com/news/ci_6484144
"The All-Seeing Infrared Eye"
Buffalo News (07/27/07) P. D1; Meyer, Brian
With the help of a pair of infrared cameras, Buffalo, N.Y., police have randomly scanned almost 92,000 license plates in the hunt for violators. During a 10-month period, police gave out almost 4,400 tickets and summonses based on data obtained from mobile plate readers. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown is so pleased with the results that he would like to back a proposal by Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson to widen the program by adding five more cameras and providing them to every police district. Plans to expand the program, however, are being attacked by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which refers to the cameras as "Big Brother technology." The $125,000 needed to increase the program can be financed via state efficiency grants that are earmarked to upgrade city operations. The cameras are outfitted on the tops of police cars. After scanning plates and confirming them through computer databases, the system automatically notifies the officer inside the vehicle of outstanding warrants. Prior to expanding the program, the Buffalo Common Council and the city's control board would have to sanction plans to employ state efficiency grants to purchase more cameras. http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/128168.html
"Technology Solution to DUI Problems"
Beckley Register-Herald (07/29/07); Porterfield, Mannix
Though tougher penalties could help reduce drunk-driving crimes, West Virginia Sen. Dan Foster (D) contends that the "ultimate solution" to getting such motorists off the state's roads might occur if innovative technology is employed. Foster's Judiciary Subcommittee A panel intends to work over the August interim on a group of reforms in West Virginia's statutes dealing with drunk drivers. One plan is to enact an "aggravated DUI" measure, which raises the penalty if the drunken motorist has a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher. Another idea is to make interlocks required for all initial violators. The driver must blow into a device that determines blood alcohol content, and if it is over the legal limit, the car ignition will not start. In addition, Foster hopes that within a decade, advanced technology will be implemented in a car's steering wheel so that sensors can obtain blood alcohol content from a motorist's hands. "That's the ultimate solution, unless you put everybody in jail forever, which we really can't do," Foster says. http://www.register-herald.com/local/local_story_210223147.html
"Police Chief Offered Prophetic Words About Bulletproof Vests in November"
Glenwood Springs Post Independent (CO) (07/30/07)
Glenwood Springs, Colo., Police Chief Terry Wilson recently stated that bulletproof vests regularly help save the lives of police officers that are injured in the line of duty. That seems to have been the situation on July 29 when a Glenwood officer was hit in the chest while apprehending two males near the Glenwood Springs Airport. Such vests were once cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear, while the current ones are lighter and easier. The bulletproof vests are manufactured from Kevlar, a formidable weave of fiber substance that traps a bullet and rejects it, Wilson explained. "There are grades of thickness that are intended for the shape and size of the bullet to penetration versus the point of contact," Wilson said late last year. "Technology has made [bulletproof vests] so much more wearable and made it so officers will wear them." Wilson also stated that while the law does not mandate that police wear these vests, he has noticed over the past two decades that most of them have begun putting the vests on.
"Ankle Bracelet Latest Fashion for Offenders"
Omaha World-Herald (NE) (07/25/07) P. 1A; Dejka, Joe
Nebraska's probation department is tracking around 150 individuals who are wearing alcohol-monitoring bracelets. The state's violators are part of a pilot plan to study the new technology, which measures alcohol excreted via perspiration. Alcohol Monitoring Systems of Denver produces the bracelet, which it refers to as the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor. It collects samples each hour and records the data, usually while the offender is sleeping, and then transmits it to law enforcement. The ankle bracket looks like a pair of cell-phone chargers linked together, and is worn round-the-clock. An alarm goes off if the wearer attempts to place any item between the bracelet and the skin. Preliminary figures in the Nebraska pilot program suggest that the bracelet is efficient and difficult to terminate. Sarpy County public defender Tom Strigenz notes that the bracelet will permit certain defendants charged with alcohol-associated crimes to wait for their trials outside of prison, instead of taking up jail space at taxpayers' expense. http://www.omaha.com
"More Than Meets the Eye"
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) (07/26/07); Croteau, Scott J.
Taser International is working with iRobot of Burlington, Mass. to equip robots with taser technology to help bring dangerous individuals under control. The technology evolution has helped law enforcement in Central Massachusetts find missing persons in the woods, get data more rapidly in police vehicles, and locate hard-to-find evidence. When the Hudson Police Department purchased a thermal imaging camera a few years ago, it wound up being a worthwhile investment. A pair of males suspected of breaking into a firm were found in the woods when police utilized the camera to track their movements. The Massachusetts State Police employ the same technology in their multiple Air Wing helicopters to help find suspects and locate missing persons. Meanwhile, Worcester police's laptops can obtain data from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, criminal background reports, and driver's license pictures, and will be able to access all police department data in the near future, including email and reports. Such technology is often expensive; one way police departments in the region get new technology is via the New England State Police Information Network, which possesses surveillance equipment and recording gadgets and has staff that departments can utilize.
"City Focuses on Video Crime Fighting Tool"
Eagle-Tribune (MA) (07/26/07); LaBella, Mike
Haverhill, Mass., Police Chief Alan DeNaro plans to implement 12 or more video cameras in local neighborhoods by the end of this year, followed by more cameras throughout Haverhill as additional grant money is available. The monitors employ a wireless, closed-circuit TV system to transmit live video to laptop computers in police cars. The system enables an officer to see two places at once--the neighborhood he or she is patrolling and the one being monitored by the camera. "Eventually we'd like to get a portable setup that can be moved from one problem location to another, such as an area of illegal dumping, or where drugs and prostitution are a problem," DeNaro noted. He added that after the camera sites have been decided, the approval of building owners and of firms that possess utility poles in Haverhill has to be acquired. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini is in full support of the surveillance system. "Police are short-handed, we have problems with graffiti, and this is a means of doing what we're trying to do in other departments--using technology as a better means of coverage," he stated.
"E-Tracking Enhances War on Meth"
Newark Star Ledger (07/19/07) P. 58; Jafari, Samira
New computerized tracking systems are helping law enforcement in their fight to locate and dismantle methamphetamine (meth) rings. Tracking systems installed in pharmacies notify law enforcement whenever someone purchases pseudoephedrine, a main ingredient used to make meth. The system automatically takes the name, address and driver's license information of the buyer, then contacts law enforcement through email when the customers goes over the purchase limit. Tracking systems closely monitor purchasing patterns for people who try to circumvent the law by going to more than one pharmacy to purchase the drug. New models allow police officers to track purchases by street or neighborhood.
"Advance Driving Class for Police"
The Southern Illinois Criminal Justice Program's S-I-U advance driving course can help police officers and emergency responders improve their skills behind the wheel in a number of specific situations to minimize potential risks. One exercise students are required to complete is called the Serpentine, which helps drivers with comfortable hand-positioning and handling of a vehicle. Another obstacle includes the Skid-pad, which helps drivers learn to control their vehicles on slippery surfaces. Additional training is offered in the eight-hour course on off-road recovery, controlled braking, and vehicle handling. However, before students get to the obstacle courses on the driving range, they must complete classroom training on high-speed pursuits. Lead instructor Dan Shannon notes, "We [emergency responders and police officers] spend a lot of time and hours behind that wheel in all kinds of conditions," which is why advanced driving skills are necessary. http://www.wsiltv.com/p/news_details.php?newsID=2781&type=top
"The FBI's RCFL Program is Offering a Free Webinar About Digital Evidence for Law Enforcement"
Sheriff (06/07) Vol. 59, No. 3, P. 36; Cocuzzo, Gerard J.
The FBI has created the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) Program to train law enforcement communities about digital evidence technology. Criminals are increasingly being caught by evidence such as online searches and email, among other digital evidence, so the FBI's initiative introduces responders to this realm of knowledge via training center and a digital evidence laboratory. Law enforcement agencies from all levels are involved in working with FBI forensics experts and the RCFL has assisted in investigations such as 9/11 and Enron since the program's inception. Sheriff Gary T. Maha, serving on the RCFL Program's National Steering Committee, said, "Law enforcement must get ahead of the criminals when it comes to high-tech, and the way to do that is through education and training." http://www.sheriffs.org
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Daily Times (08/06/07); Butler, Iva
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is creating a fusion center which will permit law enforcement agencies throughout the state to network when solving crimes. The center is situated in Nashville at the TBI headquarters and is 4,000 square feet. The center has 26 analysts, and data from throughout Tennessee is being entered into the center's computer. Within the coming few months, all the data from law enforcement agencies in Tennessee is scheduled to be online. The data is comprised of open records that anybody is allowed to acquire from any law enforcement agency in Tennessee. The plan is to move all the information into one location where analysts can conduct a more in-depth service and study crime trends. Some of the crimes that the TBI investigates are illegal drug production, sales and use, juvenile crime, and weapons.
"Coming Next in the Police Arsenal: Light Sabers?"
Indianapolis Star (08/08/07)
The Department of Homeland Security is trying to equip federal agents with a light-saber device giving off a bright strobe that would temporarily blind criminals, terrorists, and disruptive airplane passengers. It is the newest government plan to create a nonlethal weapon. To date, the Homeland Security Department has spent $1 million on testing the light-emitting diode (LED) incapacitator. If it yields good results, the department claims the device could be in the possession of thousands of police, border agents, and National Guardsmen within three years. The light-saber functions by temporarily blinding and confusing an individual. Once focused at somebody's eyes, several light pulses can be initiated, and the suspect's eyes cannot compensate fast enough to see.
"High-Tech Cameras Give Cars the Boot"
Chicago Tribune (08/06/07)
On Aug. 3, the Chicago Department of Revenue stated it would erect cameras in 26 of its boot vans, which search city streets for vehicles that should be booted due to traffic breaches. A vehicle becomes eligible for a boot--which makes the car unmovable--when a driver acquires three tickets or more on any vehicle registered in his name and ignores multiple requests for payment. The new cameras have license-plate recognition technology that does away with the need to enter a vehicle's plate number into a handheld gadget to decide if it can be booted. In addition, the cameras read license plates on either side of a street at the same time, which will enable crews to drive down a street one time instead of twice. Three newly-outfitted vans are currently monitoring the streets. The Department of Revenue believes that all of its boot crews will employ the new technology by the end of this month.
"Fingerprints May Soon Yield Gender Clues"
British researchers have developed a novel fingerprinting technique that generates chemical clues regarding the suspected criminals gender and diet, according to research published in Analytical Chemistry. Gel tapes lift the prints, which are then examined in a spectroscopic microscope. Infrared rays irradiate the sample to produce a comprehensive chemical composition. An infrared array detector then processes the chemical structure. The chemical clues could suggest whether the suspect was a meat-eater or a vegetarian, and may distinguish traces of handled items, such as narcotics, gunpowder, and chemical or biological weapons.
"MySpace Helps NLR Police Link to Students"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (08/06/07); Carrick, Kayla
Police officers at Arkansas middle schools have erected MySpace pages, in order to be in touch with students who spend a lot of time on the Internet. In the last year, around 24 pages sponsored by police departments throughout the United States have come up on MySpace, which has around 160 million profile pages overall. School resource officers Jon Schwulst and Fran Hichens note that once in a while, students will utilize MySpace to inform officers about trouble at school. Hichens, who works at Poplar Street Middle School, explained that one of his students was putting "alarming" items on a MySpace page, and that another student informed Hichens about the problem through a MySpace page, thereby enabling Hichens to help the student get personal assistance. Miami-Dade, Fla., Police Department Sgt. Erick Palmer, who erected and manages his department's MySpace page, notes his department's presence dissuades online predators. Palmer was one of the initial police officers to create a viable MySpace page sponsored by a law enforcement agency. Miami-Dade's site, which gets over 5,000 hits every month, has been helpful in recruiting officers and promoting the department's youth-volunteer campaign. In addition, the department has gotten anonymous tips on MySpace that have resulted in drug busts. http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/197811/
"Understanding the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) System"
PoliceOne.com (08/07/07); Marshall, Mark A.
International Association of Chiefs of Police Mark A. Marshall says data-sharing has become the new "buzzword" among law enforcement groups. He states a superior system would obtain crime-related information from all involved law-enforcement interests and change it into relevant data, an idea that has became the basis for the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) project. N-DEx's goal is to share detailed, correct, up-to-date, and helpful data from all jurisdiction regions and offer new investigative tools that improve the country's ability to combat crime and terrorism. Marshall says at the heart of N-DEx is enabling law-enforcement groups to provide their incident information to a main repository where it is compared with events which are already on record to find connections between individuals, locations, things, or related activities. The events can then stay on file to be compared with all pending incoming incidents. Marshall notes that local, state, and tribal law enforcement investigators will be the leading beneficiaries of the program. He states that N-DEx will also offer contact data and collaboration tools for institutions working on cases of interest to all parties. http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/MarkMarshall/articles/1295732/
"Police Plan to Use New Tech to Find Missing Persons"
San Bernardino County Sun (08/02/07); Lopez, C.L.
Redlands, Calif.'s Police Department will soon implement new technology to be employed as a part of the department's Never Alone Safely Back Home program that was begun last year. The database-enrollment program is offered at no cost to city residents. Thumb prints, photographs, data, and sometimes samples of DNA are stored on file. The data is utilized to locate and identify people with memory loss who become lost. While in 2006 and 2007, the program has employed gadgets that were sported on the ankle and equipped with GPS technology to locate people with memory loss who wander away from their residences and get lost, Police Chief Jim Bueermann said recently that a new technology known as Project Lifesaver--which transmits a radio signal from a bracelet that is similar to a wristwatch--will be used. He noted that the Project Lifesaver gadget has the benefit of being more comfortable to wear than the GPS devices. While it is not known how much Project Lifesaver will cost, Bueermann stated he is thinking about utilizing grant funds so inhabitants can use the devices.
"Satellite Aids in Tracking Bank Robbers: Bad Guys Now Have to Worry About GPS Technology"
New Haven Register (08/05/07); Kaempffer, William
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is being utilized in New Haven, Conn., to follow bank thieves, most likely the first time it has been used for that reason. "The banks will tend to use it in higher-risk locations because it's not the cheapest," explains Connecticut Bankers Association senior vice president Lindsey R. Pinkham. "That, to some degree, has limited its deployment." Industry sources claim one product being worked on is a computerized fiscal recognition system in a current database. While GPS technology functions in a similar fashion to traditional dye packs, which are placed alongside money and go off after the thief exits the bank, the GPS tracker silently transmits signals that permit police to precisely uncover the suspect's whereabouts on a computer screen. Throughout the country, GPS technology has been more and more used by police to solve a broad variety of crimes. A female bank robber was recently apprehended in New Haven after exiting the branch with money and a concealed transmitter. Police were able to find and arrest her in minutes by using GPS to locate her. http://www.nhregister.com
"Plate Scanners Give Police Rapid Tool"
Arizona Republic (08/01/07) P. 4; Sowers, Carol
Law enforcement groups in Arizona's Valley region are employing high-speed technologies to capture license-plate images and monitor stolen vehicles utilized in crimes. Police hope the scanners will get violent individuals off the streets sooner. The Scottsdale Police Department intends to use funds captured from illegal activities to purchase four high-speed license-plate scanners. Three of the gadgets will be erected on police cruisers, while the remaining device is a handheld one that can be transferred from one police cruiser to another. The license-plate scanners can read a plate in around one second. They then look through a "hot sheet" of wanted cars downloaded to officers' cruiser computers. If a match is found, certain readers utilize voice technology to notify the officer. The scanners have helped find numerous stolen vehicles and helped result in multiple arrests in Phoenix. http://www.arizonarepublic.com
"Radiation-Monitor Study Sought"
Washington Post (08/01/07) P. D2; O'Harrow, Robert Jr.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Michael Chertoff has requested that the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency create a team of independent experts to review the effectiveness of DHS radiation-detection machines used to scan trucks and cargo containers. A Government Accountability Office report found that the machines were not nearly effective as the DHS had advertised to Congress. In reaction to the report, Congress has mandated that Chertoff ensure that the machines are effective before implementing the machines as part of a $1.2 billion project. Chertoff has sent a letter to several lawmakers, promising that a "highly experienced team of technical and programmatic" experts will review the machines.
"10 Fingerprints Needed to Enter US Soon"
Manila Bulletin (07/31/07)
A pilot program will be launched in late 2007 at 10 major U.S. airports to test the feasibility of digitally scanning all 10 fingerprints of incoming passengers rather than the two currently scanned under the U.S.-VISIT Program. The airports chosen for the pilot are Logan International, Chicago OHare International, George Bush Intercontinental, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Miami International, John F. Kennedy International, Orlando International, San Francisco International, and Dulles International. The new requirement will apply to passengers from countries participating in the U.S. Visa-Waiver program as well as those who require a visa to enter the Untied States. U.S. Department of Homeland Security operations director P.T. Wright says that the scanning of additional fingerprints would not take more time than the current procedure but would ensure near 100 percent accuracy. http://www.mb.com.ph/TOUR2007073199113.html#
"Sky Spies Target Crime"
Mirror (UK) (08/03/07) P. 6; Cunningham, Jimmy
The Republic of Ireland has acquired two Israeli-made Orbiter UAVs that will be used for military activities and for monitoring drug smuggling along the Irish border and coastline. The unmanned planes, which were purchased at a price of 780,000 euros, have a range of 15 kilometers, can be used to spy from an altitude of 15,000 feet, and contain two cameras that can be used day or night. They can be carried in a soldier's backpack, assembled in 10 minutes, and launched from a catapult. Israel has used the unmanned vehicles to pinpoint targets before fighter aircraft are called in. Switzerland will use the versatile craft to monitor soccer fans during Euro 2008. http://www.mirror.co.uk
"Mauritians Pioneer Emergency Preparedness Training in Second Life"
L'Express (07/23/07); Beedasy-Ramloll, Jaishree
Idaho State University researchers have established a virtual town where first responders can receive disaster training in the popular Web-based 3D virtual world Second Life. The town, which includes a police station, hospital, and residences, is located in Second Life's Play2Train section, which is a federally-funded collaborative effort involving the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several universities. Real-life first responders can use their computers to visit the Play2Train area, where they can participate in several types of virtual training events, including Alternative Care Facility Mobile Quarantine and Healthcare Facility "Sidewalk Triage" for an Avian Flu Pandemic. The Second Life virtual world is populated by real-life people who control their "avatars" in the fictional world; these avatars are capable of interacting with and communicating with other avatars within the virtual world. Thus, the avatars can participate in the disaster-training exercises--including instructional courses and table-top exercises--which have some advantages over real-world training in that simulated weather conditions such as rain, snow, and lightning can be added to provide realism to the training. The researchers behind the Play2Train effort believe that the training exercises in the virtual world could eventually supplant real-world exercises. http://www.lexpress.mu/display_article.php?news_id=90612
"New Less-Lethal Series of Projectile Launchers for Law Enforcement and Military Now Available"
Market Wire (07/30/07)
Security With Advanced Technology, Inc., a leading provider of security products and services, reports that its new MK Series of less-lethal projectile launchers designed primarily for use by military and law enforcement are now available for sale and delivery. Developed by Veritas Tactical, a division of Security With Advanced Technology, the MK Series of less-lethal launchers are propelled by high pressured air and shoot PAVA-filled projectiles, which break open on impact releasing a cloud of potent PAVA powder that causes subjects to cough, choke and become temporarily debilitated. The powder is significantly stronger than the effect of pepper spray. The launchers give military and law enforcement officers the ability to deliver less-lethal rounds accurately at a point target at 50 meters, providing them with a tactical advantage in many control situations. The MK Series also delivers rounds up to 100 meters for riot and crowd control situations. http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0284005.htm
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, August 16, 2007
"Iris Scan Boosts Jail Security"
Fort Collins Coloradoan (08/10/07) P. 3A; Reed, Sara
The Larimer County, Colo., Detection Center is now utilizing iris scanning to increase prison security and improve efficiency. Employing a handheld scanner, deputies at the facility scan the irises of everybody who is booked into the prison on top of fingerprint and photographing them. "One of the strong reasons we bought into the system is that someone might pose as someone else at release," explained Lt. Pat McCosh. He recalled how a prisoner was set for release but a different prisoner who had a similar name was set free instead. The scanner captures a black-and-white photo of the individual's eye, digitizes it, and stores it for later comparison. Irises do not change over time, are as individual as fingerprints, and the scan is not impacted by glasses or contacts. Money paid by people booked into the prison financed the $88,000 system, McCosh stressed. He added that the scans are not connected to any personal data besides a name and a file number. http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070810/NEWS01/708100342/1002
"Crime-Tipping Technology Updated"
Contra Costa Times (CA) (08/08/07); Gokhman, Roman
When a passer-by saw a man attempting to kidnap his girlfriend, he used his cell phone to videotape the crime in action and shot an image of the vehicle's license plate number. Law enforcement have noticed the accessibility of the public to assist police with such witness-supplied evidence, so some agencies have created ways for the public to submit and post footage on the Web to assist with arresting criminals. Yet some say the initiative is a matter of credibility, as in the case of individuals holding grudges and falsifying information. The Pismo Beach Police Department has launched the "E-Tip" program, where the public can email video footage to an address monitored by emergency dispatchers. Police Chief Joe Cortex says the department wanted "to get more timely crime-tip info" so the initiative was instated. He added that at first there was apprehension about receiving prank tips, but he noted such instances have not been an issue. Knox County sheriff's communications specialist Drew Reeves says the program has been successful at his department, and although the evidence does not supplant the work of officers, it is an effective tool for assisting with crime solving. http://www.contracostatimes.com/alamedacounty/ci_6571801
"Jones Studies Cameras in Use at Virginia Beach"
Charleston Daily Mail (WV) (08/09/07) P. 4C; Pettit, Zack
Charleston, W.Va. Mayor Danny Jones and other city leaders recently traveled to Virginia Beach to see how that city has benefited from the use of surveillance cameras. According to Charlie Meyer, the chief operating officer for Virginia Beach, there is not as much hard facts and figures as there is anecdotal evidence that surveillance cameras deter crime. He that he could not say that any one factor affected crime rates in Virginia Beach. Nonetheless, Meyer said he is a big supporter of using surveillance cameras because they can monitor more effectively than an officer on patrol and because they can gather evidence. Virginia Beach's emphasis on improving street lighting also seems to have helped deter crime and has prevented the cameras from being ineffective, Meyer said. Jones noted that Charleston needed to improve lighting as well. He added that Charleston's camera initiative would not likely get underway until next year, after officials obtain and learn to use the ca! meras and resolve public concerns about invasion of privacy. http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/2007080968/Mayor-and-police-chief-have-eye-opening-trip-to-check-out-surveillance-cameras/
"Grant Will Aid Care of Copters"
Sacramento Bee (CA) (08/09/07) P. G1; Sanchez, Edgar
The Department of Justice has granted $475,880 to the Sacramento City Council to improve the city's two police helicopters. Aire One and Aire Two will receive night-vision goggles, infrared cameras, and a thermal-imaging camera that will assist law enforcement in spotting individuals from the craft during the night. Sgt. Mike Hutchins says that the new model infrared camera will be especially beneficial because it has a low-light color capability that makes seeing suspects considerably easier at night. The camera will take high-definition photographs of an individual that exhibits the color of the clothing the suspect is wearing; pilots can then relay the information to officers on the ground. Additionally, the cameras' infrared features will thwart attempts from suspects to resort to hiding places such as the bushes or garbage cans, because the camera's technology will capture a glow around the suspect. Lt. Sylvia Moir said the cameras will also be able to assist in searching for missing persons, while the technology can be used by weather specialists in the winter to detect trouble spots in the case of flooding. The federal funding will also pay for replacement main rotor blades for Air One and a reconstructed engine for Air Two. http://www.sacbee.com/city/story/312943.html
"Courthouse Security Upgrades Near Completion"
Kokomo Tribune (IN) (08/08/07); de la Bastide, Ken
Howard County, Ind., authorities have scheduled a tentative date of Aug. 20 to install increased security measures at the courthouse. County authorities had earlier hoped the improved security initiatives would be enacted by April 20, 2007. The county got $30,000 from the state Department of Homeland Security to buy equipment and has spent another $110,000 for additional security improvements and a pair of security officers. Although courthouse staff will have access to the facility's west door, other county workers and public members will be mandated to come in through the east door. Extra cameras costing $44,000 were ordered for the building after a recent failed break-in. Any individual breaching Howard County's security regulations, which include a weapons ban, could be fined as much as $2,500. Law enforcement officers who are off-duty will be mandated to keep their weapons in the security office. A frequent-visitor pass will be given to attorneys and other individuals who have regular courthouse business. http://www.kokomotribune.com/local/local_story_220220537.html
"Houston OKs High-Tech Tracking of Probationers"
Macon Telegraph (GA) (08/08/07); Crenshaw, Wayne
On Aug. 7, the Houston County Board of Commissioners voted to use new technology to monitor people on court probation. The board voted to alter the agreement with Sentinel, its probation firm, to permit for tracking of certain probationers utilizing GPS technology and alcohol-tracking bracelets. Sentinel had formerly been contracted to follow as many as 50 probationers with electronic ankle brackets and phone checks. Every day, data from the bracelets is downloaded over the phone, and it would inform probation officers whether an individual had violated probation. County administrator Steve Engle explained that the advantage of using GPS technology is that it would permit officers to monitor the location of a probationer at any time. He added that the sheriff's department asked for the new service mostly to monitor child molesters. The alcohol-tracking gadgets would be employed for DUI violators and other people mandated by the court to not drink alcohol. The devices, attached to the wrist, detect alcohol consumption through sweat, and would instantly inform the individual's probation officer if alcohol is discovered. http://www.macon.com/197/v-print/story/107254.html
"Homeland Security Tests Strobe-like 'Puke-Ray' to Safely Subdue Suspects"
USA Today (08/08/07) P. 1A; Hall, Mimi; Moreno, Eric
The Department of Homeland Security has invested $1 million for testing of the LED (light-emitting diode) Incapacitator that would blind any individual staring into the beam of light. The tool could be used to abet authorities in their capture of a criminal or to handle belligerent airline passengers. The light will be tested at Pennsylvania State University's Institute of Non-Lethal Defense Technologies this fall, and if the technology receives the green light, the incapacitator could be in the hands of law enforcement by 2010. Program manager Gerald Kirwin says the device would also be used by air marshals, border patrol agents, and other Transportation Security Administration officials. Intelligent Optical, the company that is developing the beam, says the effect of the LED induces "a real disorientation [ranging] from vertigo to nausea" or as the online publication The Registrar deems it, the "puke-ray." Although Intelligent Optical President Bob Lieberman says the device is undergoing medically supervised tests, human rights groups say they are concerned the LED would be used on illegal immigrants. Other issues include the potential for the lights being sold on the black market if they get into the hand of criminals, or whether law enforcement would have to wear protective gear to prevent the devices from being used against them. http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070808/1a_bottomstrip08.art.htm
"Police Arrest Intruders Near Fallen Bridge, Boost Security"
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is taking over the responsibility of providing security at the site of the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, which authorities consider a death-scene investigation site. Security is being increased after Minneapolis police announced that they arrested 16 people for trespassing at the site and interfering with the investigation. Stressing the need to "maintain the honor and the dignity" of the site where five people died and eight people are still missing, Minneapolis police announced that they are deploying security technology at the site, including surveillance cameras and motion detectors. The technology will notify police if intruders are detected. http://edition.cnn.com/2007/US/08/08/bridge.collapse/index.html
"City Council Proposes Split of 911 Center"
Dallas Morning News (08/09/07); Eiserer, Tanya
The Dallas City Council last week received a proposal from City Manager Mary Suhm that aims to overhaul the city's troubled call center. The call center has been beset with a number of problems recently, including incomplete and sometimes incorrect information being passed from call-takers to police and understaffed overworked operators struggling to keep up with the large volume of calls. Police have also been dispatched to nonpolice matters, such as a fallen tree in a roadway. Under Suhm's plan, the emergency 911 operation and the nonemergency operations--such as 311 service calls--will be split into two next fiscal year. Suhm's plan also provides money for four new supervisors for 311 and six new 911 operators. But according to Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, the problems at the call center cannot be corrected until 911 operations are moved from the Fire Department's control to the Police Department's control--something Suhm's plan does not call for. However, Suhm said the city is probably going to move 911 operations back to the police department after the center has been split between 911 and 311, and after a new dispatch system gets off the ground this month. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews
"New Crime Lab Planned for Triad"
High Point Enterprise (08/11/07); Kimbrough, Pat
Earlier in August, North Carolina legislators sanctioned money to help form the Piedmont Triad Regional Crime Laboratory. The $567,911 will be employed to lease space and hire new employees for a State Bureau of Investigation lab that will facilitate forensic crime-scene evidence study for law enforcement groups in the area. The new lab would mean investigators would not have to depend as much on state labs in Raleigh and Western North Carolina, where it can take weeks or months to analyze evidence. Triad sheriffs have tentatively consented to offer federal forfeiture money from their various agencies to the lab to assist with start-up and operating expenses. Though a location has not been selected, Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes reported that Greensboro is a likely setting and that the tentative scheduled opening date is April 2008. The new lab will offer drug chemistry and toxicology study, latent evidence analysis, and computer forensics, although it will not provide DNA study. Barnes noted that although local police agencies were contacted about the new facility, it will mostly be a function of area sheriff's offices. http://www.hpe.com/
"Dispatchers Face Challenges in Tracking Emergency Calls"
Houston Chronicle (08/09/07) P. 9; Stauffer, Kimberly
Emergency dispatch workers in Montgomery County, Texas, are working to alter the way they accept and deal with emergency calls. Nearly 60 percent of 911 calls are made from cell phones, which means they are often dropped or contain static, and if callers cannot provide dispatchers with an address and other data, finding them can be difficult. A deal between cell-phone companies and the FCC mandates wireless carriers to provide location data and technology. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department executive director Bob Gunter notes that with the carriers' aid, emergency dispatchers can find a person around 80 percent of the time. He notes, however, that a large part of the technology's bill is footed by law enforcement. Within the next few years, the sheriff's department will start installing new technology permitting the public to call emergency services from any location. Gunter states that the National Emergency Number Association is working will all cell-phone providers in the creation of next-generation technology--namely, IP-based Internet-style technology. For example, he says, if somebody sees a shooting and employs a cell phone or camera to take a picture of the event, he or she can upload and send it to dispatch and call 911. http://www.chron.com/
"Officials Laud Unmanned Weapons, See Challenges"
ABC News (08/07/07); Shalal-Esa, Andrea
Speaking during AUVSI's Unmanned Systems North America 2007 conference in Washington, D.C., Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman said the U.S. military sees increasing value in the use of unmanned planes, boats, and ground vehicles. "I see this as an explosive arena," Hoffman said, noting that unmanned, high-altitude surveillance planes like the Global Hawk have a number of advantages over their human-operated counterparts. Not only can unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) stay in the air for up to 24 hours, they also have potential applications in the area of "near space," which is unreachable by manned planes. Other UAVs include the Reaper, a faster, deadlier version of the Predator that is capable of flying twice as high. UAVs are not without their drawbacks; however, plans are already in the works to overcome concerns about their fueling and the bandwidth needed to operate the UAVs. The Navy plans to further develop its use of unmanned aircraft with a $2 billion contract this fall for maritime surveillance. In addition, the Navy has outfitted the Littoral Combat Ship with the equipment necessary to control unmanned boats. http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=3456951
"Taser Gets Personal"
East Valley Tribune (AZ) (08/07/07); Hogan, Shanna
The latest Taser model is more stylish and less expensive than prior models. The Taser C2 Personal Protector is lightweight and comes in an array of new colors and sizes, including metallic pink, titanium silver, electric blue and black pearl. Like older models, the C2 delivers 50,000 volts of electricity, leaving an attacker incapacitated for up to 30 seconds. But Taser representatives hope the new colors and compact size of the C2 will attract a wider range of consumers, including women. "For the last seven years, we've been making law enforcement our No. 1 priority," says Taser International Chairman Tom Smith. "Everything we did looked like a firearm, felt like a firearm, it was very aggressive. People didn't want that 'Dirty Harry' look." Still, Smith adds that "some law enforcement officials" have misgivings about increasing the accessibility of Tasers to civilians. http://www.eastvalleytribun! e.com/
"Teens Help Clovis Police Get a New Set of Robot Eyes"
Fresno Bee (CA) (08/07/07) P. B1; Benjamin, Marc
The Clovis Police Department recruited a couple of high school students to build a remote-controlled surveillance device. The device features a camera to allow SWAT to see inside their target with a closed-circuit camera. "It can be the eyes in there first and then the commanders and chiefs can make a tactical decision without risking a body," explains officer Dave Grotto, who recruited his 18-year-old nephew and his friend to build the remote-controlled device. The robot the teens built runs on tank treads and is outfitted with a camera on a scissor lift that can turn 360 degrees. Scenes captured by the camera are relayed to a five-inch television monitor affixed to the remote control. The camera can operate for two hours before needing to be recharged. http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/105826.html
"Digital Age Gives Police an Edge in Identifying Victims"
Beaumont Enterprise (08/06/07); Myers, Ryan
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Child Victim Identification Program, which was begun five years ago, employs facial recognition to compare digital pictures in what could be the biggest collection of child pornography in the world. Local, state, and law enforcement groups, as well as law enforcement agencies from other countries, have donated images to the program. Since 2002, 8.6 million image files have been downloaded, helping locate 1,100 child victims. The program's most important function is locating children whose images are given for the first time. If a child has not been witnessed previously in the program, he or she could be a present abuse visit. Law enforcement is devising new ways to investigate individuals found with child pornography. The most significant change in recent years has been cooperation between various law enforcement organizations via the Child Victim Identification Program, claims program manager Jennifer Lee. http://www.southeasttexaslive.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18667104&BRD=2287&PAG=461&dept_id=512588&rfi=6
"Upkeep of Security Devices a Burden"
Washington Post (08/13/07) P. A1; Sheridan, Mary Beth
Emergency preparedness officials across the country say they are facing mounting costs related to the upkeep and maintenance of security equipment they purchased via homeland security grants since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Local officials believe they will be forced to spend a significant percentage of any future homeland grants on maintaining the equipment they have now, instead of purchasing new equipment. In many cash-strapped jurisdictions, expensive equipment is gathering dust because the equipment costs too much to maintain. For example, the FBI used a $25 million grant in 2003 to equip about 400 state and local bomb squads with a $12,000 high-tech bomb kit. The wireless laptop-based bomb kits allow U.S. bomb squads to communicate and share data about weapons of mass destruction and other explosives, and the kits even come with digital cameras that allow bomb squad members to take photos of suspicious devices, send the photos to the FBI, and get immediate advice. The initial $25 million grant included a prepaid wireless card and three-year service agreement, but once the prepaid subscriptions ran out, the local squads were forced to foot the bill. As a result, many bomb squads across the country have stopped using the devices. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/12/AR2007081201244.html?hpid=topnews
"Robotic Insect Takes Off for the First Time"
Technology Review (07/19/07); Ross, Rachel
Harvard University researchers have created a life-size robotic fly that could one day be used as spies or to detect harmful chemicals. The robotic fly weighs only 60 grams, has a wingspan of three centimeters, and has its movements modeled after those of a real fly. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is funding the research on the robotic fly, which still has a significant amount of work left to be done, in the hope that it will lead to stealth surveillance robots. Recreating a fly's efficient movements in a robot about the same size was difficult because existing manufacturing processes do not make the sturdy, lightweight parts necessary. The research team developed its own fabrication process, using laser micro-machining to cut thin sheet of carbon fiber and polymers into two-dimensional patters. After more than seven years of working and improving parts, the robotic fly finally flew this spring. The robot still needs significant work, as it is currently held on a tether that keeps it moving in a straight, upward direction. The researchers are working on a flight controller so the robot can fly as instructed. The fly is also currently connected to a external power source, so an onboard power source needs to be developed. Leader of the robotic fly project Robert Wood said a scaled-down lithium-polymer batter would provide less than five minutes of flight time. Tiny sensors and software routines need to be developed and integrated as well so the fly can detect dangerous conditions and be able to avoid flying into obstacles. http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/19068/
"Ground Vehicles a Larger Presence at Unmanned Vehicle Exhibition"
Defense News (08/06/07); Osborn, Kris
There were more unmanned ground systems at this year's Unmanned Systems North America exhibition show--which was held by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland--than in years past, according to exhibitors and military officials. "In previous years, there were few unmanned ground vehicles at this show," said iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner. "This year, about one-third are ground." One of those robots was the 9-foot, 3,500-pound Mobile Detection Assessment Response System (MDARS), a security-guard robot from General Dynamics Robotics Systems (GDRS) that is capable of walking a beat without human control, avoiding both fixed and moving obstacles and detecting intruders up to 300 meters away. According to a Defense Department official with the Physical Security Action Group, MDARS would be the Army's first land-based semi-autonomous robot. GDRS is currently negotiating a $70 million deal t! o provide the Army with 24 to 30 robots, said Brian Frederick, manger of the MDARS program at GDRS. http://defensenews.com/story.php?F=2951265&C=america
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, August 23, 2007
"Police Ask That Cameras for Traffic Be Set to Record"
Contra Costa Times (CA) (08/18/07); Fischer, Karl
El Cerrito, Calif., Police Chief Scott Kirkland has requested that the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency record the footage generated by around 24 traffic cameras along San Pablo Avenue to help in police investigations. The idea, however, is not attractive to privacy activists, who claim the cameras are not efficient crime deterrents and could be used improperly. The agency will query its 29 partner cities, counties, and transit groups over the coming two months before making a decision. Alameda's congestion council implemented the cameras three years ago to enable traffic planners and the public to determine congestion and additional driving conditions along East Bay roads, including San Pablo Avenue. While the camera images are usually clear enough to make out the color, make, and model of a vehicle, they cannot read license-plate numbers or characteristics of drivers. Law enforcement started requesting recorded footage a short while after the cameras were erected. Kirkland claims his proposal would cost around $50,000, which he says other police agencies in the area could help pay for. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_6657592
"County Focuses on Disaster Prep"
Philadelphia Inquirer (08/19/07); Cook, Bonnie L.
To prepare for a terrorist attack, officials in Upper Merion Township, Pa., have voted to outfit their caucus room with new antiterror gear. The township is one of 61 in Montgomery County that are taking steps to improve their emergency preparedness. The county has already allocated $18.1 million to disaster readiness and is preparing to open a new antiterrorist and weapons-training facility in mid-September that will serve at the site of the county's first public-safety campus. County officials say the building will allow first-responders to train at the same site, using the same set of rules. "The coordination and training has to be led by the county," says Montgomery County Commissioner Tom Ellis. "So when there is an emergency, people aren't falling all over themselves. You can have all the equipment you want, but if you don't know what to do when you get to the scene, it doesn't work."
"Policing Helped by Sketches"
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) (08/19/07) P. B1; Williamson, Danielle M.
Law enforcement officials in the Worcester, Mass., region recently met and talked about their employment of artists and computer programs that manufacture images of suspects. The most discussed case was that of a 16-year-old girl who was abducted in June 2000 from a pond in Warren. The girl's mother gave a leading sketch artist a description of the suspect, who was arrested earlier in August 2007 on a separate abduction charge. Police still do not frequently retain nationally known sketch arts to assist with an investigation. What is more typical is the employment of computer programs such as Identi-Kit, which provides numerous choices for facial characteristics that can be brought together to make a composite. While the majority of sketches have some similarities to their subject of focus, they are not often "a dead ringer," notes Northboro Police Chief Mark K. Leahy. Gardner Det. William Crockett points out that the more people who see a crime, the better the possibility that a realistic drawing will be made, as police can compare similar aspects of each description. http://www.telegram.com/article/20070819/NEWS/708190454/1008/NEWS02
"N.J. Gives Big Boost to Gun Tracking"
Philadelphia Inquirer (08/16/07) P. B1; Ung, Elisa
New Jersey will become the first state in the nation to share a federal gun database. It will have real-time electronic access to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives database, which lists a gun's initial buyer, sale date, and the store from where it was bought. This would provide the state with a formidable way to study illegitimate gun violence and trafficking trends, authorities said, and possibly enable law enforcement to rapidly connect crimes in multiple towns. The tracing data is gathered from area police records of firearm purchases. Last year, 4,743 individuals were arrested in New Jersey for having illegal guns. Of the 3,100 guns presented for tracing in 2006, just 26 percent were bought in the state. New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram stated on Aug. 15 that she was ordering all area law-enforcement groups in the state to submit their tracing data, which will be placed in a database shared by all law enforcement in New Jersey.
"New E.V. Central Crime Database Aims for Quicker ID, Arrests"
East Valley Tribune (AZ) (08/16/07); McDevitt, Katie
The new East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center in Mesa, Ariz., is set to open this autumn at the Mesa Police Department. The center's staff will collect and study crime-related data so it can be shared among law enforcement agencies in the East Valley. Authorities note that sharing information will make it easier and faster to catch criminals, who frequently cross city borders. Right now, when a crime is investigated in several jurisdictions, police have to contact another official and determine who is handling the case. In the fall, however, when an agency finds out about a crime, it will send the data electronically to the fusion center, where the data will be studied to determine if the crime is occurring in other cities. All of the information is merged and transmitted to participating entities so police can study the material prior to going out on the streets. In addition, the center can monitor gang members and other individuals police need to know about. An important tool that will assist in the procedure is COPLINK, a new technology that will provide police with the capability to look through thousands of internal records in seconds. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/95217
"Sheriff Mike Blakely Requests More Than $7 Million"
Decatur Daily News (Ala.) (08/16/07); Hollman, Holly
The Decatur Sheriff's Department has asked the county for an extra $1.6 million in funding. The department received $5.8 million for fiscal 2007, but Sheriff Mike Blakely has petitioned the Limestone County Commission for another $1.6 million, pushing the total request for fiscal 2008 to almost $7.5 million. Blakely said the additional money, which be used for the Sheriff's department, work release, school resource officers, and courthouse security, is necessary to keep the department and auxiliary services up and running. "We're the largest agency you have, with 40 to 50 percent of the county's employees," Blakely said. "And we operate 24 hours and seven days a week." The money would also help finance major equipment purchases, including a computer-aided dispatch system and a digital recorder upgrade that cost $235,210 and $20,000, respectively. The dispatch system would let the department enter information--caller complaints, for instance--into the computer system, which would then retrieve information from all departments on the caller, a suspect, or an address. Phone call recordings would be facilitated by the recorder system.
"ShotSpotter System to Be Deployed in Illinois Municipality"
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal (08/16/07)
Bellwood, Ill., is implementing ShotSpotter's gunshot location system with a wireless surveillance camera network. The village is employing the system to offer police real-time information regarding gunshot incidents, exact information about the events, in-depth intelligence and forensic analysis for arrest and prosecution, and data about a shooter's location, including drive-by shooters on the run. ShotSpotter states that its gunshot location system has easy-to-use sensors that can locate gunfire in big urban regions. The firm caters to law enforcement, homeland security, and military groups.
"New Crimefighters for Newark"
Star-Ledger (NJ) (08/15/07) P. 15; Parks, Brad; Mays, Jeffery C.; Marsico, Ron
A new program, called Community Eye, will be helping police in Newark, N.J., fight crime. The program is made up of a combination of video cameras and gunshot-sensors strategically placed in about a third of the city where 80 percent of recent shootings have occurred. The system is set to cost a total of $3.2 million. By the time it is finished, Community Eye will include 127 bullet-proof, tamper-proof cameras. It will also include a number of sensors designed to specifically detect the sound of a gunshot. When a gun is fired, the sensors allow police to use global-positioning technology to locate the source of the noise. They also direct any cameras in the area to point in the direction of the sound.
"Sky Harbor Adds Black Lights, Magnifying Glasses to Security"
East Valley Tribune (AZ) (08/21/07); Hogan, Donna
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says that a pilot program at Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX) designed to boost security through the use of trained TSA inspectors at checkpoints rather than airline contract workers has been a success and will be replicated at airports nationwide. According to TSA spokesman Nico Melendez, the TSA inspectors are better at spotting fake identification documents and receive updated government watch lists before each shift. The inspectors are using magnifying glasses and black lights to find fake passports and driver's licenses. PHX has further enhanced security through the addition of backscatter scanning machines that serve as an alternative to pat-downs for travelers setting off alarms when walking through metal detectors. TSA says it will test more backscatters, as well as millimeter wave imaging technology, at PHX, Los Angeles International, and John F. Kennedy International.
"Belleville Police Will Soon be Able to Shoot ... Video"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (08/15/07) P. C1; Pistor, Nicholas J.C.
The Belleville, Ill., Police Department is outfitting 12 of its police cars with high-resolution digital video recorders that will allow officers to record everything that happens during incidents such as high-speed chases and routine traffic stops. The cameras, which will be paid for with a $47,000 grant from the Department of Justice, will begin recording as soon as officers turn their red and blue police lights on. The video could be used in court to allow judges and juries to see what happened during a particular incident. Don Sax, a captain with the Belleville Police Department, said the ability to present video evidence in court would be particularly helpful during high-profile cases. For example, video would have been helpful in a case last year involving a St. Clair County, Ill., judge who was spotted by a police officer at the scene of a traffic accident with a beer can--which later disappeared.
"Gun ID Bill Takes a Shot at Illegal Weapons Market"
Los Angeles Times (08/15/07) P. B6; Hsu, Tiffany
The California state Senate is considering a bill that would require all new handguns to be stamped with microscopic identification tags. The bill, known as the Crime Gun Identification Act, would also require that handguns be equipped with lasers that imprint a "microstamp" of the gun's make, model, and serial number onto shell casings when the weapon is fired. The new requirements would take effect January 1, 2010, if the bill is passed. According to California Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D), who authored the bill, the legislation would help law enforcement officials trace shell casings back to a gun's registered owner. The legislation would also deter gun owners and retailers from selling to unlicensed purchasers, which would in turn reduce the number of armed criminals, Feuer said. However, opponents of the bill claimed the technology is prone to tampering and does not prevent unlicensed criminals from using the stamped guns. In addition, the microstamping technology could cause crime scenes to "easily be contaminated by a criminal throwing down a handful of shell casings he picked up from the local gun range," the Golden State 2nd Amendment Council wrote in letters to Assembly members.
"Clearing Emergency Radio Waves"
Wall Street Journal (08/07/07) P. A4; Boles, Corey
Sprint Nextel admits it has played hard ball in negotiations with local public-safety agencies regarding its pledge to pay at least $4.86 billion to separate the frequency channels used for its service from the airwaves used for emergency communications. The effort is an ambitious one, everyone agrees, requiring modifications to the wireless-network equipment of public-service agencies across the nation, as well as the radio communications devices they employ. It all must be accomplished while maintaining online public-safety networks. "People's lives are hanging on this," says an official with the Utah Communications Agency Network, which is supervising the channel switch in Utah. "You're having to redesign and rebuild the airplane while it's still flying." Sprint Nextel says by year's end it will have spent some $1.5 billion toward the effort and notes it has committed to spending at least $4.86 billion, meaning anything over that amount would be absorbed by the company. An official with Chester County, Pa., emergency services says he has been negotiating for three years with Sprint Nextel just to agree on funding for a preliminary study on how much it would cost to upgrade its emergency communications equipment. Presently, Sprint Nextel's offer of $400,000 is $250,000 shy of what the county requested. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118644768507989972.html
"Fit and Clean for Life"
Police (07/07) Vol. 31, No. 7, P. 40; Fahl, Keith
Body armor used by law enforcement needs to fit properly, in order to provide maximum comfort and protection, writes Armor Holdings Products Group armor technical specialist Keith Fahl. The front panel of the vest should rise above an officer's duty belt when sitting down so that it does not wrinkle or roll at the bottom of the vest, and the top neck edge needs to fit within an inch beneath the clavicle notch at the top of the sternum. The vest also needs to come slightly above the duty belt, but not touch any of the equipment connected to that belt. In addition, the vest needs to be in line with the points of the wearer's shoulders, and the vest's sides should come together or overlap to shield side areas. When cleaning the vest, the ballistic panels need to be taken off first, with both elements of the vest cleaned individually. The protective panels of the vest can be wiped down with a damp cloth or sponge, using cold water and a gentle soap. When cleaning the carrier, employ a soft bristle brush or cloth to get rid of loose dirt from the surface of the carrier and the hook-and-loop fasteners, Fahl recommends. The carrier should be washed by hand or in the machine in warm or cool water on the gentle cycle utilizing detergent or mild soap. http://www.policemag.com/Articles/2007/07/Fit-and-Clean-for-Life.aspx
"The Valley of Surveillance"
Governing (07/07) Vol. 20, No. 10, P. 38; Perlman, Ellen
Phoenix, Ariz., has acquired a surveillance camera system that allows police to keep an eye on the city's activities. The nearly $500,000 system allows Phoenix police to follow camera images from police headquarters, in patrol cars, or via handheld gadgets. The system allows police to rotate the cameras 360 degrees and have enough bandwidth to obtain almost real-time video. In addition, the cameras can perform "smart searching" of the video, without having to view the entire footage. While opponents contend that erecting cameras just moves violators to another location to avoid being caught on film, authorities note that it throws criminals off-balance, and that forcing them to uncharted areas places them at a disadvantage and enables police to possibly apprehend them as they are making errors. Phoenix's cameras are moved on a regular basis and are set up in regions where criminals are predicted to attack next. The cameras employ mesh technology, which transports images and information to the online nodes erected around a region. The mesh structure manufactures coverage "umbrellas" and information moves from one umbrella to another. http://www.governing.com/articles/7cameras.htm
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, August 30, 2007
"Fingerprint Bank Gives Names to the Nameless"
Sacramento Bee (CA) (08/26/07) P. B1; Enkoji, M.S.
The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division is the site of the nationwide fingerprint database, with 53 million sets in its criminal files. It also has civilian prints on file. The Clarksburg, W.Va., division will conduct 24 million checks annually, which will take around 10 minutes each. While the inclusion of old prints provides hope for people who continue to wait for information on a missing individual, new technology will make identifying someone faster and more complete, claims the bureau's Stephen Fischer. The expansion of the system also means that long-deceased individuals who were found guilty of misdemeanor crimes now stand a better chance of being identified. Due to more efficient identification and filing, certain police agencies are transmitting every set of fingerprints they obtain to the FBI database, including those guilty of misdemeanor charges. Eventually, the FBI will employ biometric identification that will enable investigators to match voices, palm prints, and people's irises. http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/345178.html
"Dallas Inmates Expected to Be Arraigned Via Video"
Dallas Morning News (08/21/07); Krause, Kevin
The jails in Dallas County will soon be equipped with video cameras so prisoners do not have to be transported to courtrooms to be arraigned before a judge. Judges will instead talk with defendants and their attorneys via video monitors, and documents will be faxed. In late August, county consumers are set to sanction spending $47,583 in reserve funds on the video arraignment system, which AT&T will provide. A pilot initiative that started in July in the George Allen jail has operated well with no reported problems. The county's other prisons and Parkland Memorial Hospital will also eventually be equipped with video communications systems. Employing video communication will enable inmates to be arraigned right away, without having to wait until the following day. This will lessen crowding in holding areas, county authorities point out. Dallas County Sheriff's Department Assistant Chief Deputy Mona Birdwell reports that her department currently transfers around 50 prisoners per day to the main courtroom at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center for arraignment on new or revamped charges. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/
"Sheriff's Patrol Cars to Get New Camera System"
Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI) (08/23/07) P. A5; Quisenberry, Danielle
The Jackson County, Mich., Sheriff's Office and the Blackman Township public safety departments are replacing their current analog in-car video camera systems with digital systems. The digital system's cameras--which will be mounted near the rear-view mirror in patrol cars--will send video from the car to a server via a wireless connection so that the video cannot be altered or manipulated, according to Blackman Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester. He noted that this will help prevent defense attorneys from arguing in court that the tapes have been tapered with. In addition, officers will no longer have to worry about switching tapes, Jester said. The digital system will also allow law enforcement officials to more easily access incidents, and will deliver a picture that is far clearer than the video from the old analog system, said Jackson County Sheriff Dan Heyns. http://www.mlive.com/jackson/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-22/118787827240300.xml&coll=3
"GPS Tracking Like a Stakeout"
Telegram & Gazette (08/24/07) P. A1; Nugent, Karen
GPS technology has assisted in the arrest of arson suspects Michael P. Dreslinksi and John D. Rousseau. Rousseau was formerly charged with alleged involvement in five Clinton County fires last year, but the charges were dropped. In July, suspicions that the men were involved with criminal activity, along with their 15-year history with police, led law enforcement to obtain a "Blood warrant" for placing a GPS tracking device on Dreslinski's truck; the truck was then tracked to an abandoned paper mill shortly before a fire at the mill was reported. In Sterling and Holden, the men were also the prime suspects. Former president Ronald Reagan first authorized the use of GPS for civilians following military investigations of the technology in 1983. A Superior Court judge must issue a mandate to law enforcement for placing GPS devices on vehicles due to the expanse of area involved in the monitoring; the device can be used as legal evidence until it enters a private home. In the 1980s, courts ruled that law enforcement must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause in order to employ GPS technology in a case. Attorney Edward P. Ryan Jr. says obtaining a warrant circumvents the potential for the case being overturned by citing Article 14 of the Massachusetts Constitution, noting that citizens are immune to unreasonable searches and seizures. Dreslinksi and Rousseau have been arrested for burglary, impersonation, and breaking into police and railroad radio frequencies. http://www.telegram.com/article/20070824/NEWS/708240729/1116
"McLean Co. Uses Map Program to Test Sex Offenders' Compliance"
Pantagraph (08/25/07); Cima, Greg
In McLean County, Ill., geographic information system (GIS) technology has supplanted tape measures as law enforcement's method of tracking sex offenders' residency compliance. County attorney Bill Yoder says that while technology has assisted predators, "Technology has also given law enforcement a tool to fight back." A demonstration of the GIS exhibited a map of McLean with green dots designating the homes of sex offenders; the 500-foot distance offenders must keep between their homes and schools, parks, and other locations marked on the map is highlighted by semitransparent orange circles. Sheriff Mike Emery says the system's accuracy is "within an inch;" the map is available only to the sheriff's office and the McLean County Information Services. Violation of the residency compliance law for sex offenders is a felony with a five year sentence, and repeat offenders can receive up to seven years of jail time. http://www.pantagraph.com/articles/2007/08/25/news/
"Authorities Use GPS to Fight Graffiti"
Whittier Daily News (CA) (08/26/07); Scruby, Airan
Pico Rivera, Calif., police are employing the Graffiti Tracker to document and compare graffiti incidents that typically would be caught up in a sea of paperwork. The device uses cameras outfitted with GPS technology. Graffiti pictures are taken by cleanup crews and can be downloaded to a Web site, where they are studied and organized for reference. Pico Rivera public safety manager Steve Gutierrez stated that Graffiti Tracker has been beneficial since it was installed in September 2006. At that time, the city witnessed 828 vandalism incidents, while this past June, Pico Rivera had 324 "tags." Gutierrez pointed out that the city has had more than 60 arrests that have been directly linked to Graffiti Tracker. The system--which usually costs cities between $24,000 and $30,000 annually--categorizes graffiti by moniker, or the name a tagger utilizes, which enables individual taggers to be monitored via every vandalism act they perform. This permits police to concentrate efforts on the most active vandals, employing resources to catch the most harmful taggers first and rapidly lowering the amount of incidents in Pico Rivera. http://www.whittierdailynews.com/ci_6722437?source=most_viewed
"Eagle Firm Says Tracking Devices Will Hold Their Signals, Regardless of Location"
Idaho Statesman (08/25/07); Dey, Ken
Sky Detective's tracking technology will prevent suspected stalkers from approaching victims without notifying Garden City law enforcement. The Offender Ankle Device, an ankle bracelet, and the SD20 Cargo/Package Tracker, monitoring movement by being placed in a car or other vehicle, use GPS and cellular signals to monitor suspects. The ankle bracelet enables the court to instate zones around the victim so that the suspect is detected upon entering those zones and Garden City police are notified either by pager or cell phone. Through Sky Detective software, which works with Google Earth to produce satellite pictures, police can track the exact location of the suspect. Additionally, the victim could wear a device that monitors stalkers that are nearby in the case of a stalker venturing out of their zone. "It has a great potential to protect victims of crime while saving a lot of manpower and a lot of money for the department," says Capt. Cory Stambaugh. He adds that without the technology, victims' only defense is a court appointed no-contact order that can only be enforced if someone observes the suspect in violation of the order. Sky Detective also notifies law enforcement when the suspect is a certain distance from an exclusion zone, so they receive enough warning to remove the victim and wait for the suspect's arrival. Sky Detective founder and president Jerry Thompson says the technology is a solution to mitigate overcrowding prisons and to reduce costs for incurring inmates; the device costs less than $15 daily to run and can be paid for by the offender. http://www.idahostatesman.com/business/story/142052.html
"Proposal: Track Sex Offenders With GPS"
Daily Journal (N.J.) (08/24/07) P. 1A; Jackson, Miles
New Jersey lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would require convicted sex offenders to wear GPS devices upon their release from prison. For predators that lure children via the Internet, Assemblymen Nelson Albano (D-1) and Jeff Van Drew (D-1) said the technology would help law enforcement monitor such offenders and that the offenders should pay for the technology. The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office has successfully caught predators that attempt to meet with underage children by using law enforcement agents posing as minors online. Van Drew says although many of those arrested have never sexually assaulted the minor, their intentions are clear. Albano and Van Drew also sponsored legislation that would increase sentences for repeat sex offenders and people who protect them, in addition to a bill restricting convicted offenders from using the Internet. http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070824/NEWS01/708240311/1002
"Missouri May List Online IDs of Sex Offenders"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (08/22/07) P. D9; Bock, Jessica
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt announced Aug. 21 that he would support legislation that would add the email addresses and other electronic names used by sex offenders on the Internet to the state's registry of convicted sex offenders. The email addresses and screen names would also be made available to Internet service providers, instant messaging companies, and social networking sites. In addition, the legislation would restrict sex offenders' use of online identifiers to one screen name provided to law enforcement. Meanwhile, other states are also working to link email addresses to sex offender registries. In Illinois, for example, lawmakers passed legislation that forbids paroled sex offenders from communicating with children online. Another bill prohibits adults from engaging in sexual conversations online with minors with the intent of committing sexual abuse. http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stcharles/story/
"Hempfield Township's Dispatch Center Lacking Action"
Greensburg Tribune-Review (PA) (08/26/07); Peirce, Paul
A brand-new, 15,000-square-foot state police dispatch facility in Hempfield Township, Pa., has still not hired its staff, making it a $2.1 million burden for the Pennsylvania law-enforcement institution. Harrisburg state police spokeswoman Linette Quinn stresses that the facility has not opened due to a "lack of funding." While area legislators stated they were not aware of the situation, they vowed to look into why the center is still empty. The center was among five regional consolidated dispatch facilities that state police initially intended to open by last year. The Hempfield Township facility, known as the Greensburg Consolidated Dispatch Center, was to facilitate calls for troops A and B, which includes 10 state police stations and eight southwestern counties. It was scheduled to employ around 60 individuals, primarily dispatchers who were already serving at different barracks across southwestern Pennsylvania. The facility was to have multiple state-of-the-art console stations with improved computer technology that would allow dispatchers to track the position of state police vehicles while they drove across the area. Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Regola (R) thinks the financing problem is the result of a continual power dispute between the state Legislature and state police administration. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_524164.html
"Eye in the Sky: Police Use Drone to Spy on V Festival"
Guardian Weekly (UK) (08/21/07) P. 6; Randerson, James
Several emergency services agencies in Great Britain--including the Staffordshire Police Department, the Merseyside Police Department, and the West Midlands fire service--have begun using or are planning to use remote-controlled unmanned spy drones in their operations. The Staffordshire Police Department used its drone to keep tabs on people at the recent V Festival. The department's drone is 70 cm wide and is equipped with high-resolution still and color video cameras, as well as infrared night vision capability. The drone cannot be heard from the ground once the device is 50 meters in the air, thanks to its four ultra-quiet carbon-fiber rotors, and it cannot be seen with the naked eye once it is 100 meters in the air. The vehicle takes off vertically and can be flown when it is out of sight, since it transmits images back to video goggles worn by the operator. The Merseyside Police Department has also been using drones to monitor disorderly situations and prevent antisocial behavior. Meanwhile, the West Midlands fire service has drawn up plans to use drones to get a close-up view of burning buildings. The increased use of drones worries some in Great Britain, including Noel Sharkey, an expert in robotics at Sheffield University, who says the use of the devices represents an unwarranted intrusion of privacy. http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,2153077,00.html
"Scientists Drug-Test Whole Cities"
Associated Press (08/21/07); Borenstein, Seth
Researchers at Oregon State University unveiled the results of drug testing on untreated wastewater samples from 10 unnamed American cities at the American Chemical Society in Boston in August. The tests, while unable to pinpoint individual users, can give a glimpse of drug trends in a particular location. In the study, traces of 15 different drugs were tested for in a source as little as one teaspoon of untreated sewage water. The science behind the study is that nearly every drug, legal and illegal, ends up passing from the human body to toilets to wastewater treatment plants. Among the findings of the study was that methamphetamine use in one urban area with a gambling industry was five times as rampant than in other cities and was nearly nonexistent in some smaller Midwestern locations. The drug found to be most excreted was caffeine. U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy chief scientist David Murray says the idea of drug testing wastewater samples interests his agency. The EPA is now testing federal wastewater samples to check to see if its a good way to monitor drug use. Another application would be to determine the potential harm caused to rivers and lakes from legal pharmaceuticals. http://www.abcnews.go.com/print?id=3507402
"Are Tasers Really Non-Lethal?"
Police (07/07) Vol. 31, No. 7, P. 32; Ho, Jeffrey D.
Ever since TASERs and other conducted electrical weapon (CEW) devices were introduced 30 years ago, there have been questions about whether the non-lethal weapons are safe to be used to control unruly suspects. However, several studies have found that CEWs are one of the safest weapons in a police officer's arsenal. For instance, a 2005 study entitled "Cardiac Safety of Neuromuscular Incapacitating Defensive Devices" found that the electrical output of a TASER would have to be increased to at least 42 times the standard level in order to induce cardiac arrest in a 258-pound animal. CEWs made by TASER International are not capable of producing this level of output. The study's findings mean that a TASER's safety threshold is higher than that of acetaminophen, which has a safety margin for lethality of approximately 10-to-one. Testing on humans also showed that CEWs are safe. In a study entitled "Cardiovascular and Physiologic Effects of Conducted Electrical Weapon Discharge in Resting Adults," 67 volunteers were subjected to a five-second, deployed probe application of a TASER X26. The study found that there were no changes in the subjects' electrocardiogram readings and markers for blood acid, kidney impairment, or cardiac muscle damage. Skeletal muscle break-down levels were elevated, though these markers were only elevated to the levels commonly seen after a workout. http://www.policemag.com/Articles/2007/07/Are-TASERs-Really-Non-Lethal.aspx
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, September 6, 2007
"City Looks at $40M Police Headquarters"
Waukegan News Sun (IL) (09/04/07); Peterson, Craig
The Waukegan, Ill., City Council is considering design plans for a new headquarters for its police. A five-floor building with communications, training, investigations, records, evidence processing, and office space is thought to cost around $40 million. A police headquarters outfitted with the modern crime-fighting devices is the most sophisticated and costly facility any municipal government will construct, architects have informed aldermen. While initially, plans had called for redoing the previous city hall facility or constructing on an adjacent location, Police Chief Bill Biang explained that seven architectural companies studied refurbishing the present facility and all said it was not a good idea. Biang added there is no room to expand horizontally, and the building cannot support adding floors to it. He also stated that acquiring land would counter the savings of redoing the facility. The council may use a referendum to pay for the new police headquarters. http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/
"A High-Tech Helping Hand for Soldiers"
Philadelphia Inquirer (09/04/07); Holcomb, Henry J.
The Wearable Intelligent Reporting Environment (WIRE), developed by Lockheed Martin, is designed to help soldiers in the field by recording their activity and turning speech it records into documents so soldiers do not have to write reports after a hard day on patrol. If approved, soldiers would wear a headset with an earphone and microphone designed to separate voices from gunfire and other noise. The headset is connected to a rugged but lightweight computer tucked into the soldier's combat vest. The system allows soldiers to dictate a report while in the field, all without taking their hands off their weapons or their eyes off of the action. The computer asks for responses that fill out forms designed for different situations and asks about words or situations it does not understand. The computer automatically creates a report and sends it to commanders, along with data from the soldier's GPS receiver. Data from multiple patrols can be analyzed immediately to fine-tune strategy and tactics. WIRE is designed to work with headsets and batteries already used by the military, and because the device does not have a video screen a single charge lasts as long as most patrols. WIRE also has significant potential for law enforcement applications. Crime analysis expert Robert Cheetham says fresh digital reports from the field would be extremely valuable to police commanders and could allow them to detect patterns and prevent future crimes. http://www.philly.com/inquirer/business/20070904_
"GPS Technology Helps to Locate Police Dogs"
Cherry Hill Courier-Post (NJ) (09/04/07); Strupczewski, Leo
The Camden County, N.J., Sheriff's Department is one of the initial law enforcement agencies in the nation to obtain GPS technology that can help an officer locate his dog. The dog's collar contains the GPS device, and the dog's officer carries a hand-held device not much larger than a BlackBerry, to track the animal. If a dog gets lost, department members can locate him by finding a pawprint on the handler's screen and proceeding towards it. The Minnesota firm White Bear Technologies manufactures the Roam-EO technology, and contributed four units to the Camden Sheriff's Department's four canine divisions. Roam-EO offers the department real-time information, which is sent to an officer's hand-held unit. Each device is priced at $499, and there is an insurance fee for dogs of $4,500 to $6,000, although that price can increase if training is included. United States Police Canine Association executive director Russ Hess thinks the technology will become more popular as the systems become more advanced.
"Police to Unveil New Communication Gear"
WTNH.com--Channel 8 (Conn.) (09/05/07); Latina, Jodi
First responders in Connecticut will have new technology in the near future to assist them in emergency events. On Wednesday, they are set to receive a communication system that helps links departments throughout Connecticut. It will be the initial state in the country to have the radio common channel erected. The system is intended to maintain open communication lines during an emergency. Currently, if a police officer in Enfield, for example, wishes to speak with an officer in Madison, they would have to use the phone. With a common radio frequency, the link could be immediate. The new system will also keep portable radios in sync. The technology, which is known as band, is priced at $1 million, and connects to current radio systems.
"Groves Police Get Anti-Gang Grant"
Mid County Chronicle (TX) (09/05/07); Kutac, Dennis
Authorities with the Groves, Texas, Police Department claim superior technology equipment is what they want to buy after getting a federal granted intended to help target gang violence and associated crimes. Sen. John Cornyn ( R) claims the $350,350 grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice's Anti-Gang Initiative and was dispensed by the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Groves Police Department Det. Steven Hinton noted the proposal the department actually presented for the Project Safe Neighborhoods grant totaled $84,489, which it requested earlier this year and from which it obtained around $80,000. Hinton explained the equipment the department wants to acquire includes thermal-imaging devices, binoculars, recorders, and transmitters. "Our department will be buying technology extremely advanced mainly for undercover work and surveillance," he stated. Groves City Marshal Jeff Wilmore pointed out that the grant will also enable the Groves Police Department to bring its Safe Streets Crime Unit and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force together to deal with gang-associated and personal crimes. Cornyn stated the Anti-Gang Initiative offers money to support new or enlarged anti-gang and enforcement plans under the current Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.
"Sandy Springs, GA Police Department Selects SunGard's OSSI Public Safety Software"
SunGard HTE, a leading international provider of government information technologies, reports that the Sandy Springs, Ga., Police Department has signed a contract to implement the company's OSSI Public Safety Suite of software. The suite provides a fully integrated system that affords each agency real-time access to shared information, helping to improve response times, reduce costs, and increase officer safety. The Sandy Springs Police Department will implement the Records Management System and Mobile Computing components of the OSSI Public Safety Suite. Records Management System provides a comprehensive system to collect, store, and access information gathered by law enforcement personnel during daily activities. Mobile Computing Technology is a wireless application that provides access to information for officers in the field. Together, these components will help officers to stay connected with real-time data while in the field. http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=46613
"Lawmen on Target with CVTC Technology"
Calhoun Times (GA) (08/31/07); West, E.K.
The Northwest Georgia Enforcement Executives Association convened in August at Coosa Valley Technical College (CVTC) for the introduction of the new Computer LaserShot Technology in the Criminal Justice program. The innovative technology was given to the officers by CVTC Criminal Justice coordinator and instructor Tom Bojo. "This is an outstanding piece of equipment that can be used not only for laser shot simulation classroom purposes but law enforcement departments can reserve the simulator for training," he stated. LaserShot is a computer-simulation program that employs a simulated handgun and a laser-action screen. Numerous drills and situations--including vehicle chases and hostage scenarios--take place onscreen with various endings. LaserShot instruction is only done at CVTC's Gordon County campus as part of the Criminal Justice program. In addition, the program provides classrooms, crime-scene rooms, computer research facilities, and rescue maze capability. "Our technology capabilities give students hands on experience allowing them to use what they learn in the field," notes Bojo, which keeps officers interested and offers them ongoing feedback.
"Area Police Forces Add High-Tech Gear"
Valley News Dispatch (08/26/07); Biedka, Chuck
Harrison Township, Pa., law enforcement will soon begin utilizing a video enhancement system, while police in O'Hara will discover how to utilize a high-tech surveillance system that can be employed to investigate a variety of crimes, including drug trafficking. The video enhancement system can be utilized with the majority of video systems to upgrade the quality of images, such as those found on a firm's surveillance tapes. Meanwhile, the video surveillance system is small, easy to hide, and employs a camera that is motion activated. The system, which also records sounds, can be utilized inside or outdoors. O'Hara's surveillance system is the third advanced technological tool that the police department has acquired from the U.S. government. The department is also employing a thermal imaging camera. Harrison Police Chief Mike Klein noted his department will pursue a grant in 2008 to purchase the same surveillance system O'Hara is using. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_524172.html
"Oil City Police Go to Nab Speeders"
Oil City Derrick (PA) (08/30/07); Clark, Karen
The Oil City, Pa., Police Department has been employing the Electronic Non-Radar Device (ENRADD) since January, permitting officers to more aggressively pursue speeders. In addition, ENRADD makes it a lot harder for violators to figure out where police are probably waiting and watching. ENRADD--a wireless speed-detection device--enables police to operate a speed check almost anyplace, including on leading thoroughfares, bridges, and back streets. ENRADD has a pair of tripods that each have sensor units. Officers put the three-foot tripods on either side of the road. As cars drive between the sensors, their speed is determined and sent through a wireless radio connection to a display head situated in a patrol vehicle. Experts contend that ENRADD can save a police department $3,000 to $5,000 a car annually on gas and maintenance because police do not have to chase vehicles that are going too fast. http://www.thederrick.com/stories/08312007-5008.shtml
"Video Billboards Coming This Way"
Philadelphia Inquirer (08/21/07) P. E1; Slobodzian, Joseph A.
The Philadelphia region will soon erect digital billboards, which are being lauded by police for promoting public safety. ClearChannel Outdoor stated it would have eight 14-by-48 video billboards with advertising images or messages that would change every eight seconds on leading highways by the end of this year from Bucks County to Philadelphia and into Delaware County. The company attempted to install a couple of billboards on Aug. 20, only to be stopped by continuous rain. ClearChannel claims the billboards recently informed drivers in Minneapolis and St. Paul about the demise of the Interstate 35W bridge and offered optional routes. Separately, a missing girl from Minneapolis was located one day after digital billboards were utilized in an Amber Alert. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson supports the digital billboards, noting they are in the "community's best interests because they have the capability to deliver important emergency information, such as Amber Alerts or disaster-preparedness bulletins." Driver-safety organizations and environmentalists, however, contend that the billboards will endanger motorists and are an eyesore.
"Asotin County Sheriff Upgrades Tasers"
Lewiston Morning Tribune (ID) (08/21/07) P. 1D; Cole, David
Deputies in Asotin County, Idaho, are now carrying Tasers with newer technology, which are better at controlling dangerous suspects and are safer, authorities claim. In June, Asotin County Sheriff Ken Bancroft began carrying the new Taser X26 model, replacing the older Taser M26. The Taser X26 discharges a pair of small probes, which look like fish hooks that have been straightened. The probes can fly as far as 25 feet, penetrating the clothing of a suspect and going into the body, Bancroft explained. The Taser X26 costs $200 more than the M26, at $800 apiece. The sheriff's office bought 14 of the X26s, one for every field deputy and two for joint use by Asotin County Jail correctional deputies. The Taser X26 is shaped like a firearm, weighs less than the older Tasers, and documents the length of activation time. http://www.lmtribune.com
"Strategy Game Trains Cops and Firefighters"
PC World (08/23/07); McMillan, Robert
Graduate students from the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering are collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories on a real-time strategy game that allows police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders to practice emergency scenarios. The game, Ground Truth, is realistic because events in the game occur in real time, putting added pressure on first responders to act swiftly. Jim Pointer, the medical director of Alameda County's Emergency Medical Services Agency, recently completed an intense session of Ground Truth that called for him to oversee a city's response to a toxic chemical spill. During the scenario, he was responsible for managing traffic barriers, putting hazmat teams and police cars in position to respond to the spill, and managing medical collection points while keeping an eye out for toxic plumes. Pointer says the game is fun, educational, and has great promise. Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III game provided inspiration for Ground Truth, which could eventually receive funding from private industry or even the Homeland Security Department. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136306-c,games/article.html
"Dallas PD Fights Crime With Video Surveillance"
Security Technology & Design (07/07) Vol. 17, No. 7, P. 52; Levin, Gregg
In early 2005, the Dallas Police Department launched a pilot project involving the installation of video surveillance cameras in the busy Deep Ellum area of the city. After just four months of operation, the project was credited with significantly reducing the number of crimes in the area, prompting the Police Department to consider expansion. With funding from the Meadows Foundation, bids were sought to install a wireless video surveillance system in Dallas' central business district with a goal of reducing crime in hot spots by 30 percent. In January, the new system was deployed, covering about 30 percent of the downtown area with round-the-clock monitoring and allowing operators to change the direction of the camera lenses remotely as well as allowing officers to redeploy cameras as needed to increase monitoring capabilities at special events or other downtown locations. The Police Department now plans to increase the number of cameras deployed around the city by threefold.
Police Magazine (08/07) Vol. 31, No. 8, P. 34; Griffith, David
Since it was closed in 1996, the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville has hosted the annual Mock Prison Riot, which is one of the premier corrections and law enforcement training events in the world. The Mock Prison Riot, which is held each May, is planned and executed by the staff of the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization (OLTEC) and the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Training and Technology Center (NCLETTC). Personnel from the two organizations act as leaders of the "rioters," who are mostly students from local colleges and high schools. In addition, OLTEC develops scenarios that allow law enforcement agencies that are participating in the Mock Prison Riot to practice putting down prison disturbances. Although the scenarios are choreographed to some extent, there are some surprises for the responders. In some of the scenarios, the prisoners give up quickly, while in others they put up a fight. Along with developing the riot scenarios, OLETC and NCLETTC work with the participating law enforcement agencies and the makers of the products that are on display at the Mock Prison Riot's Technology Showcase to provide training opportunities that involve new or improved products. Since it is held in an abandoned prison, the event offers a one-of-a-kind training opportunity for law enforcement agencies such as the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office's Rapid Response Team. "We really can't train very well in our jail because it is occupied," said Major Carl Sims of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. "And that's a problem because a cell offers a unique environment that's difficult to duplicate outside of a corrections facility." http://www.policemag.com/Articles/2007/08/Riot-Act.aspx
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, September 13, 2007
"Sketch Artists Use Software Program to Nab Bad Guys"
KVOA 4 (Tucson, AZ) (09/10/07)
Tucson police Detectives Mike Walker and Chris Brown use the software program Faces to produce computer-assisted sketches of the "bad guys" that have led to arrests in some recent high-profile crimes. The program, which hit the market in 1998, has been used by Tucson police for the past two years. "The computer does all the work," Walker said, thumbing through a Faces catalog of characteristics featuring 21 categories that include everything from eyebrows to glasses, jaw structure to noses, hair to tattoos. "There are 4,400 different features that can create 1 million different composites," Walker said. Once the features are selected by the person being interviewed, Walker or Brown inputs the data. They can fine tune the final composite, moving hairlines up or eyebrows down on the computer screen. While police don't keep statistics on the composite's success rate, Walker said it's "pretty good." In addition to composites of wanted criminals, the Faces program is also useful for age progression of missing persons or enhancing a blurry video image of someone.
"LAPD Buys 'Dirty Bomb' Detectors"
Daily Breeze (09/10/07)
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has bought seven devices that can detect the radioactive signature of "dirty" bombs. One of the devices has apparently been implemented in a helicopter and is able to locate an unexploded dirty bomb from 800 feet above the ground. Dirty bombs use traditional explosives to disperse radioactive substances into the adjacent atmosphere. Bratton says that Los Angeles is the U.S. city with the third largest risk of being impacted by a dirty bomb, due to the special attributes the city possesses--the airport, port, and "just the symbolism of so much of what [terrorists] hate." Bratton states the Los Angeles Police Department has been given $3 million in Homeland Security money and has utilized those funds to also purchase a bomb-response truck for $900,000 that has a robot that can be worked from one mile away. In addition, the department has bought a mobile response truck for police public information officers, to function as a portable center for communicating data through news media.
"Police Take Up Tasers"
The Spectator (09/10/07); Halter, Nick
In light of the Virginia Tech tragedy, University of Wisconsin law enforcement will be equipped with Tasers this fall. As a measure to strengthen campus safety, officers also received training addressing how to prevent and respond during a university emergency. Vice chancellor of business and student services Andy Soll and University Police Chief David Sprick says implementing the Tasers has been under consideration for years, but the Virginia Tech incident was the impetus that finally led to their deployment. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Law Enforcement Standards board, Tasers are ranked as an equivalent to pepper spray in terms of a force gradient. The Tasers, $800 apiece, have a 25-foot range. Additionally, they can target individuals as opposed to accidentally injuring a group of people in the case of using pepper spray. Sprick says the Tasers will be used by one in four UW campuses and that the department would like to expand their equipment eventually for the inclusion of ballistic shields and Kevlar helmets.
"Look Up: Seattle Cops May Soon Be Watching"
Seattle Times (09/07/07) P. A1; Sullivan, Jennifer
Police in Seattle may soon employ private security cameras in the downtown business area to help look out for assaults, drug deals, and additional crimes. Police and the Downtown Seattle Association are studying the establishment of a surveillance system that would permit officers to follow real-time video footage from security cameras on and near downtown buildings. The formation of such a plan, however, would likely draw criticism from the ACLU and other entities that worry such surveillance could result in a loss of privacy. In 2006, the Downtown Seattle Association acquired bids for a closed-circuit camera system on Pike and Pine streets between First and Fourth avenues. It has earmarked $50,000 and is still considering technology, the precise site of the cameras, and who will be selected to oversee the cameras. Even if law enforcement does not get involved, the association will track crimes via video surveillance. If Seattle does permit officers to watch live video surveillance, it will join Baltimore, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other U.S. cities that employ video footage to fortify their patrolling efforts. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003873006_cameras07m.html
"Suffolk Cops Test Out Radiation-Detection Services"
Newsday (09/07/07); Armario, Christine
Over 100 new detectors that can locate radioactive material have been dispensed to law-enforcement officials in Suffolk County, N.Y. Law enforcement claims the detectors are important because terrorists might store or move radioactive substances to the region due to its closeness to New York City. The detectors are small enough to attach to an officer's belt and strong enough to locate active material traveling by inside a car on the expressway. Police in Suffolk have already used 400 less innovative units during the last two years. The new detectors were recently bought by the New York Police Department. Uncovering radiation is simpler than detecting biological or chemical weapons, partly because of the technology and partly because a biological agent might not give anything off, notes Special Patrol Bureau commander and Deputy Inspector Stuart Cameron. The detectors bought by the New York Police Department were financed by the Securing the Cities grant, a measure by the U.S. Homeland Security Department.
"California Police Department Replaces PCs in Cruisers With Neoware Mobile Thin Client Laptop"
Neoware, Inc., a leading provider of thin client computing solutions, today announced that Marysville Police Department (MPD) has joined its growing customer base. Seeking a more cost-effective and efficient computing solution, MPD is using the mobility of the Neoware m100 by outfitting all officers with Neoware m100's to be used in patrol cars and other environments such as the station. "Standard laptops were no longer feasible due to the high price point and the liability of data being compromised from a lost or stolen laptop," said Lieutenant Mike Kostas of MPD. "We could not have implemented a more perfect solution with Neoware m100's. MPD has been able to reduce costs, lessen the need of tech support and reach our ultimate goal of issuing a laptop as standard equipment." In working with Neoware MPD sought to deploy a more robust mobile computing solution that could easily expand to accommodate the growing force and unique needs of a police department. Compared to standard laptops, the Neoware m100 uses a centralized server for hosting applications and processing data, storing no data on the local device -- an important benefit for government, healthcare and financial industries. http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/primenewswire/126110.htm
"Stone Jail to Be Upgraded"
Biloxi Sun Herald (MS) (09/05/07) P. A6; Bosarge, Nancy
The Stone County, Miss., Board of Supervisors voted at its Sept. 4 meeting to solicit bids on a digital surveillance system for its prison and for materials to construct a security tower at the Stone County Correctional Facility. The prison now has a VHS system. The board sanctioned a quote for $5,477.95 from Laurel Machine & Foundry for material to construct a security tower in the inmate section of the prison. Prison warden Dwaine Brewer stated he was creating four additional exercise yards for the prisoners. The tower will be capable of overseeing five yards, he noted. http://www.sunherald.com/201/story/134767.html
"Officials: We'll Pay for Inmate Tethers"
Detroit News (09/04/07) P. 1B; Feighan, Maureen
Faced with its eighth instance of overcrowded prisons in two years, Oakland County is considering paying for inmate tethers to avoid placing them in jail. Officials are evaluating plans for a $200,000 initiative that would fund ankle devices for inmates with bonds of $1,000 or less and for other inmates sentenced for nonviolent crimes. Compared with the cost of spending $96 for keeping inmates in jail, tethers only cost $8 to $16 a day. Features of the tether include a GPS device to track the offender and the ability to monitor blood alcohol content. In addition to tethering inmates, county community corrections department director Barb Hankey says the program sentences offenders to tethers upon fulfilling specific criteria, such as first-time DUI-offenders; crimes involving sexual misconduct or domestic violence would not be up for tether consideration. So far, the district courts of Novi and Waterford have also agreed to pilot the program with the circuit court.
"Sniper-Sniffing Robot Created"
BBC News (09/05/07)
Portsmouth University teamed with Ant Scientific to develop the "locust," a flying robot that can be used to identify snipers and bombs in crowded areas. Next year, the prototype will compete in a British Ministry of Defence challenge against 16 other sniper-sniffing robots. The challenge will be held at Copehill Down, the British army's urban warfare training field, where the entries will be judged on their ability to find targets. The winning developer will be given military funding and have a good chance of putting their design into commercial production. Portsmouth's head of defense and homeland security research Charlie Baker-Wyatt said, "The challenge was to create devices that could be used in the fight against people who don't fight under established rules." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/6980271.stm
"Atlantic City Airport to Start Car-Bomb Screening"
Vehicles entering Atlantic City International Airport will be screened for explosives hidden on their underside. Airport officials say that the new system, the first of its kind to be used at a U.S. airport, is able to capture a video image as vehicles pass over a four-inch-high ramp. The images taken from the cameras on the ramp are monitored by security personal in a nearby vehicle. State officials spent $22,500 allotted to them by the Department of Homeland Security after authorities urged the state that they needed a more advanced inspection system. New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said, "This equipment gives law enforcement officers another tool to use in the fight against terrorism and helps us to ensure a safe flying environment for the traveling public."
"CSI Could Benefit From Computer Sidekick"
New Scientist (08/31/07); Simonite, Tom
A team from Birmingham University in the United Kingdom has developed a new computerized sidekick that will enable crime scene investigators to produce faster and more detailed reports. The prototype system makes use of a thin computer about the size of a small book, GPS, a digital camera, and a RFID tag reader. The CSI wears the computer and uses a headset to provide voice commands to the system, such as to snap a picture or record a verbal description of evidence. The GPS is used to mark location, a RFID tag is used to label (time, location, and type) evidence, and images can also be annotated to focus on a particular feature. In tests, the system cut the amount of time in half that it takes to put together a standard CSI report. "Writing is both time-consuming and interruptive," says Chris Baber, a computer scientist at Birmingham. "We've attempted to remove the need to explicitly report what you are doing." The team is now working on a version that would make it easier for different teams of investigators at the scene of a crime to share data.
"Wi-fi Unites Wisconsin Cities"
PCWorld.com (09/02/07); Messmer, Ellen
Three small Wisconsin cities--Fitchburg, Middleton, and Sun Prairie--have joined together to implement an interlinked encryption-protected microwave system that offers a wireless connection to law-enforcement and safety systems. The cities chose to employ the same police-management application as a collective purchase a few years ago for police-dispatch facilities to replace legacy systems. In addition, the cities wanted direct network links to share law enforcement data that includes records and dispatch access. While the application began as a T-1 private line, the cities changed over in June to faster-speed point-to-point microwave links with a flexible encryption ability founded on the CipherOpticsEngine. The cities chose to utilize microwave radios and antennas from CommConnect, which at 100 Mbps were quicker and cheaper than the terrestrial T-1, states Fitchburg's information-technology manager for police systems, Matt Plough. He explains that the encryption choices included purchasing microwave radios with incorporated encryptors or installing individual gateway encryptions. The three cities decided to use a separate decryption/encryption gateway and acquired the CipherOptics Ethernet Security Gateway ESG100 and the CipherEngine Policy & Key Manager, which permits for Layer-2 encryption of law enforcement movement on a virtual LAN basis. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136684-pg,1/article.html
"Q&A: Hurry Up and Wait"
Washington Technology (08/20/07) Vol. 22, No. 15, P. 32; Lipowicz, Alice
The Real ID Act of 2005 requires states to phase out all existing driver's licenses and to replace them with new documentation that adheres to national standards and connects to a national system. Governors are seeking funding from Congress for the $11 billion mandate, but critics have voiced fears regarding identity theft and privacy issues. Richard Barth, assistant secretary of the Office of Policy Development, is the DHS' top official for generating the Real ID requirements. When asked about the Real ID card's machine-readable zone (MRZ), Barth explains that public safety officials endorse maintaining the current procedure of encoding the printed data on the license's front side in the MRZ. Privacy advocates, however, fear that data will be skimmed off the MRZ for commercial and other reasons. DHS is exploring solutions that would not hinder law enforcement functions but would supply improved security for personal data. Enhanced driver's licenses will implement technologies already employed at the land border for aiding travelers, such as vicinity radio frequency identification and a MRZ based on the International Civil Aviation Organization standard, says Barth. In terms of sharing Real ID information between states, DHS may use the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrator's system for commercial driver's licenses, as that system has functioned for years without any reports of misuse or abuse. If DHS does build on the model, DHS will be sure to heighten the model's security and privacy protections for the national ID program. When asked why the Real ID card is not also a smart card, Barth explains that such a renovation is not warranted for the goal of establishing minimum standards for state driver's licenses, though states can opt to shift to more sophisticated technological solutions. http://www.washingtontechnology.com/print/22_15/31243-1.html
"Out-of-Range Communications Solutions"
Advanced Rescue Technology (07/07) Vol. 10, No. 3, P. 28; Careless, James
The New Mexico State Police have implemented mobile satellite information terminals manufactured by Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV). Patrol vehicles have been equipped with PDT-100 Satellite Packet Data Terminals that are mounted on the roof. An end of each terminal is connected to a Panasonic Toughbook laptop inside the vehicle, while the other wirelessly links to MSV's MSAT geostationary satellite. As a result, cars that are equipped with the satellite always have information connections to their headquarters. An MSAT G2 can run between $3,200 and $4,000 per unit, and costs between $69 and $129 per month for unrestricted PTT based on how big a region the user wishes to cover, and phone airtime is around $1.19 per minute. Satellite phones made by Globalstar or Iridium are a cheaper option, and both firms provide portable satellite phones which can facilitate voice and different speeds of information transmission. A basic Globalstar GSP-1600 portable satellite/cellular phone goes for about $645, while an Iridium 9505A handset is priced at $1,495, and yearly service fees cost between $450 and $6,600. Even cheaper alternatives include vehicular radio repeaters, for which Iridium plans begin at $129.99 for 75 minutes, and Walkie-Talkie handsets, which operate on the Nextel National Network and are offered as the Motorola Blend ic402 starting at $39.99. http://www.advancedrt.com
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, September 20, 2007"Crime Lab Gets a Shot in the Arm"
New York Times (09/16/07) P. 7; Kelly, Caitlin
Westchester County's Department of Laboratories and Research is undergoing a $9 million renovation for its nearly two-decade-old DNA lab. DNA testing assisted prosecutors in their pursuit for repeated Subway sandwich chain burglars in the county last year, when law enforcement matched a lost strand of hair from one of the perpetrators to his DNA in a federal database of criminals. County director of forensic sciences Frederick Drummond says there has been a high demand for the technology, while the lab will also serve law enforcement from the State University of New York system and Metro-North. Drummond adds that cases will be prioritized, whereas rape and murder cases --roughly half of all lab cases-- will have a higher priority than burglaries. The lab is three times larger than its predecessor, allowing vehicles bearing evidence to be brought in, if needed. New technology will enable lab researchers to analyze mitochondrial DNA, allowing what Drummond says will be "1,000 times more chances" to obtain a viable sample, and samples will be placed under a high-powered light containing multiple wavelengths. County medical examiner Dr. Millard Hyland says DNA testing is the definitive factor that enables perpetrators to be put in jail. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/16mainwe.html
"Miramar Buys Helmets With Microphones"
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (FL) (09/16/07) P. 1; East, Georgia
Motorcycle police officers in Miramar, Fla., will soon have wireless microphones connected to their helmets, replacing the typical shoulder-based microphones that are used for speaking on police radios. Earlier in 2007, Miramar commissioners sanctioned utilizing $16,180 in state law enforcement forfeiture money to buy a dozen helmets with connected microphones. They could start being used before 2007 is over. Police Chief Mel Stanley stated shoulder microphones create a great deal of wind and road noise when a officer is driving. In addition, he said, the traditional radios create a distraction and possible safety risk to officers because they have are forced to only drive with one hand in order to operate the microphones with the other. The wireless helmet kits will be bought from Setcom Communications. Stanley explained the equipment will work in conjunction with the Miramar Police Department's Motorola radios. Separately, Miramar sanctioned spending $175,000 to lease vehicles for the police department to employ in undercover operations during the coming two years.
"Simulator Tool to Help Police"
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (09/16/07) P. 1; Presser, Matt
Portable firearms simulators are the latest addition to the law enforcement technology repertoire, allowing officers to react to real-life situations using digital videos. Officers can use simulated scenarios that come with the system, or they can create their own. The $146,475 tool is worth the hefty price tag, says Delray Beach training officer Eric Aronowitz. The simulators allow control over variables such as weather and time of day, including the option to program equipment malfunctions so officers would need to respond accordingly. Though the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office purchased a firearms simulator about a decade ago, Lt. Jeff Swank says it is outdated but smaller agencies have more difficulty funding such expensive technology. Aronowitz says the simulator is a beneficial long-term investment, noting, "It's about as realistic as you could get." Delray Beach officers will be trained using the simulator, along with those in nearby municipalities and citizens in the police academies.
"Charleston Police Will Hone Driving Skills"
Charleston Daily Mail (WV) (09/18/07); Thompson, Matthew
In Charleston, S.C., the police department authorized the purchase of a $125,000 computerized driving simulator to improve its police officer driving courses, which currently encompass classroom and outdoor training. The simulator, which will partially be funded by $40,000 in insurance funds, could prevent police-involved accidents during pursuits and other emergency situations. In 2005, one officer raced to help another officer at a domestic violence call, but failed to put on his sirens and lights, resulting in a crash with a civilian vehicle. Department officials stated the idea to bring in the simulator surfaced before the 2005 crash. "We always discussed looking for a better way to train our officers," one officer said. The simulator has three plasma monitors, a console resembling the one in the Ford Crown Victoria, and a program to insert rain, wind, sleet, snow, and other weather conditions, as well as multiple vehicles and pedestrians. The simulator is expected to improve police and emergency response personnel's driving skills and reaction times. http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/+/2007091846/
"Bay Area Agencies Unveil Communications System"
Contra Costa Times (CA) (09/15/07); Gokhman, Roman
California's East Bay Regional Communications Joint Powers Authority, which was recently created by Alameda and Contra Costa counties and 30 East Bay cities, will construct a single emergency communications system intended to overcome problems caused by radio technologies that do not work together. The Alameda-Contra Costa system is part of a bigger network of law-enforcement groups in the Bay Area announced on Sept. 11 by the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose--the Bay Area Public Safety Interoperable Communications Initiative. The total project will cost $200 million, with the East Bay percentage coming to $60 million. The majority of the funding will be provided by grants. When done, the whole system will encompass Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. In addition, it will link to Sacramento to assist with California's disaster-relief coordination. The communications system functions more like a series of email lists instead of typical radio frequencies. Emergency responders and dispatchers can enter in which "talk group" to notify and then broadcast a statement.
"South Dallas Hopes Cameras Will Help Deter Crime"
Houston Chronicle (09/13/07) P. B1; Korosec, Thomas
On Sept. 13, Dallas authorities launched the first of 14 remote-controlled cameras that are being erected on top of poles in a neighborhood in the southern part of the city known as Jubilee Park to stop crime and capture violators. The cameras, which have been employed for many years in cities such as San Francisco and Chicago, are the initial ones to be put in a residential neighborhood in Texas. Two-thirds of the cameras' $250,000 price tag are being financed by a church in North Dallas, while the city is paying for the rest. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle noted that implementation of cameras in downtown Dallas resulted in a 30 percent decline in crime, although they have not resulted in as many arrests as he had hoped. Kunkle stated that panhandling and vehicle burglaries conducted by the homeless comprise the majority of downtown Dallas' crime troubles. Jubilee Park has witnessed a murder, a pair of rapes, and 13 aggravated assaults during the last year. Certain studies have contested the effectiveness of remote-controlled cameras, claiming they simply move crime to back streets and do not result in crime reduction over the long haul. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/5133957.html
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (09/16/07) P. 1; Seibel, Jacqueline
Ann Arbor-based IES Interactive has provided interactive-simulation technology for officers at Waukesha County Technical College. "This is as close as you are going to get without being in a real-life situation," said Muskego Police Chief Paul Geiszler. WCTC trainees will be able to take advantage of the $100,000 system that aims to provide officers with virtual situations to improve their responding and reaction-time in real situations. The simulation tool mimics situations ranging from robberies to domestic disputes, involving to the extent that their adrenaline is involved; in general training, variables are controlled so the stress levels are not as intense. Trainees are placed in a padded room with a screen projecting the scenario. Loudspeakers with surround sound are used to pump sounds such as screams or glass breaking into the room, a factor that Oconomowoc Police Chief James Wallis says will improve officers' awareness of their total surroundings, versus simply being aware of what is in just in their immediate field of vision. The light can be adjusted according to the degree of vision an officer would have in the designated situation, while props can be added for simulating the dexterity to maneuver in a given situation. Trainees must also choose to respond by using pepper spray, a baton, a Taser, or a gun, according to the nature of the situation. The training is videotaped so that officers can review the trainee's performance, and allow the trainee to evaluate his own response. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=661605
"Police May Get Mobile Computer Terminals"
Birmingham News (AL) (09/13/07) Vol. 120, No. 184, P. 3C; Gray, Jeremy
Police officers in Pelham, Ala., may receive mobile data terminals if a measure included in the 2007 proposed budget is approved Sept. 17. Chief Allan Wade has asked for $600,000 for the terminals--$90,000 in the suggested budget, the remainder payable over a five-year period. The computers, which would be incorporated in city police cruisers, could be taken out and utilized by police in the field. The computers would enable officers to retrieve mug shots or driver's license pictures to make certain the individuals they interrogate are who they claim to be. In addition, the computers would permit officers to obtain data from the state Criminal Justice Information Center, the National Crime Information Center, and municipal court records. The computers would show all the data dispatchers enter into their computers, establishing a voice dispatch. Wade added that the mobile data terminals would permit officers to type their incident statements from their cruisers instead of having to do them at police headquarters.
"Harris System Can Detect Illegal Border Crossings"
Florida Today (09/12/07) P. 1A; Blake, Scott
On Sept. 11, Harris Corp. introduced its new Harris Border Security Shelter system. The shelter locates illegal border crossings and additional threats to U.S. security, the Melbourne, Fla., firm stated. Harris intends to promote the shelter to border patrol groups in this country and other nations. The Border Security Shelter is specially devised to heighten the "flow of information and speed response times to potential threats," Harris explained. From the shelter, border staff are able to watch border regions utilizing ground radar, unmanned sensors, or video cameras; talk to the field and their superiors employing tactical, microwave, and satellite radio; and transmit and obtain email and additional forms of media, Harris noted. In addition, the shelters have "remote networked management and advanced Harris visualization/data fusion software known as Harris SafeGuard." Harris added that the shelters can be permanently implemented at particular locations or quickly deployed to certain areas of operation. Numerous shelters can be deployed and connected to create protective networks.
"Online Crime Reporting System Now Available to City Residents"
Los Banos Enterprise (CA) (09/11/07)
As part of its technology upgrade the Los Banos Police Department will enable city residents to report incidents online through the police Web site. "This is a wonderful tool that allows us to provide more effective service to the community," Police Chief Chris Gallagher said. The system can be accessed by logging on to the city's Web page, www.losbanos.org, and clicking on the "Citizens OnLine Reporting System" link found on the left column. There will be a selection as to what type of incident the user would like to report. "We are not going to restrict people from talking to an officer," Gallagher explained. "This is just a way for people who are comfortable with their computer to file a report instead of coming down here." Once a report is submitted the police department will e-mail the reporting party a temporary case number. Once the report is reviewed and approved by a supervisor a second e-mail will be sent out with an official case number. The report can be rejected based on inadequate information or other errors but it will be explained in an e-mail. http://www.losbanosenterprise.com/
"New Law Enforcement Tool From LeadsOnline Fights Metal Theft Epidemic"
Business Wire (09/17/07)
State-of-the-art technology now allows police to easily search scrap metal recycling center records for stolen metal. LeadsOnline has made it easy for law enforcement to search and locate stolen metal, as well as link the property to the thieves who stole it. By nature, scrap metal is difficult to track and identify once stolen, but now there is a way for law enforcement to track these thieves. LeadsOnline introduced a new investigative system specifically designed to fight metal theft on a national basis. Now, instead of keeping track of information on paper tickets, metal recyclers around the country send LeadsOnline their transaction information via a secure internet connection. Law enforcement investigators simply log in and enter the information about their case into the system, including type of metal, date of the theft, location, and other parameters to see if the stolen items were sold for scrap. Investigators are instantly provided with descriptions and even pictures of the property, suspect, and suspect vehicles matching their description. In the days following the launch of the LeadsOnline metal theft investigations system, Detective Courtney of the Shreveport Louisiana Police Department used LeadsOnline to identify an employee at a local oil company who was stealing equipment and selling it to a local scrap yard. Some of the stolen metal, valued at more than $76,000 was recovered.
"State Plans to Complete Communications System"
Omaha World-Herald (NE) (09/13/07) P. 1B; Stoddard, Martha
Nebraska will utilize almost 50 percent of 2007's $7.2 million in federal homeland security money to erect the final links of a statewide communications system, Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy announced on Sept. 12. He stated that over $2.4 million of the money will be split up between seven areas that are creating communication networks. The networks will permit state and local law-enforcement officials and others to speak with each other. A good number of the areas have finished the job of linking all first responders in their counties, Sheehy explained. Nebraska is currently almost ready to connect the regional network onto one statewide system. The state has employed a significant percentage of its homeland security money in the last few years to establish the network. In addition to the regional grants, Nebraska will spend another $1.1 million of the 2007 homeland security funding on licensing technology for the communications network and offering network support. Nebraska will also utilize part of the $8.5 million of a different federal communications grant initiative to complete the network plan.
"Tracking People With Imbedded Radio Chips Is No Longer Sci-Fi"
Royal Gazette (Bermuda) (09/05/07)
About 2,000 U.S. workers already have radio frequency identification (RFID) chips embedded under their skin or carry them around in various devices so managers can keep track of their locations, prevent workers from entering certain sensitive areas of the firm, and gauge workers efficiency. However, union leaders, legislators, and others contend the use of RFID to track workers is an invasion of privacy and violates human rights. Generally, RFID is used to track products throughout the supply chain, and the tags contain information on its shipment origin, its make-up, date produced, and other data. In California, state legislators are prepping a bill that would ban the coerced or forced use of RFID in humans, and other states are following suit. However, voluntary use of the chips would be permitted under legislative measures pending before state legislatures, opening the door for employers to use the technology.
"License Plate Scanners Give Police New Edge"
Times & Transcript (Canada) (09/10/07) P. D4
A $20,000 device that employs small infrared cameras outfitted on police cruisers automatically reads license plates and compares the numbers against databases of stolen cars and individuals wanted for crimes. Around 400 of the United States' 18,000 police agencies possess a minimum of one license-plate scanner, and authorities predict the scanners will become more popular in the future as the cost of the devices drops. The scanners allow police to read around 75 times more plates during an eight-hour period than they would if they wrote down numbers and gave them to a dispatcher. Although scanner-outfitted vehicles only comprise a small percentage of a police department's fleet, the units are enabling authorities to recover stolen vehicles, locate individuals wanted on criminal warrants, and respond to emergency situations, such as thieves on the run. Civil-right activists contend that scanners bring up the controversial issue of whether the government will widen its utilization of the technology to monitor Americans' private lives. Police note, though, that anybody can write down a license-plate number on the street, which is what scanners do, just more efficiently. Though no studies have proven the effectiveness of scanners on a sizeable scale, certain police agencies stress that scanners have increased their vehicle recovery and arrest figures. http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/search/article/69339
"A Closer Look: Florida Department of Law Enforcement Crimes Against Children Mobile Unit"
Police Magazine (08/07) Vol. 31, No. 8, P. 74; Kyrik, Kelly
In 1984, Terry Thomas, then a special agent for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, started the Crimes Against Children Mobile Unit to help the state address the growing problem of missing and abducted children. The unit features an ordinary-looking Fleetwood sleeper trailer that is used as a mobile interview room. Although many people said that the trailer would be traumatic for children because it was unfamiliar territory for them, it has actually become a hit with kids. Before their interview begins, kids are allowed to explore the trailer, which helps them to feel more at ease. In addition, the main room of the trailer features child-sized bean bag chairs, as well as teddy bears and other toys. The trailer is also equipped with strategically-placed hidden cameras and microphones, which allow agents in the front and back of the trailer to monitor the interview. The use of the mobile unit helps the Florida Department of Law Enforcement achieve a number of things in situations where it has to interview children. For example, the mobile unit helps to ease the fear that many victims feel when faced with repeated questioning. In addition, the mobile unit is perfect for cases that would overwhelm a brick-and-mortar CAC unit, such as cases where there are a number of victims or offenders, as well as in cases where law enforcement officials do not want the media and others to know that they are interviewing victims or offenders.
"Communications Interoperability: Chasing the Dream"
Police and Security News (08/07) Vol. 23, No. 4, P. 30; Kanable, Rebecca
Emergency communications lacking interoperability has remained a hurdle to both efficient security and safety. Yet technological developments will now enable law enforcement, fire departments, and EMS to all communicate through integrated radio frequencies. Researchers have developed "smart radio" technology that allows frequency range, modulation type, and output power controls to be manipulated with cognitive radio technology. The cognitive radio can automatically program itself to communicate with several radios, as Dr. Charles Bostian of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University says the device "acts like a trained intelligent human operator." Software-defined radios can handle voice bandwidths in 25 KHz, 12.5 KHz, or 6.25 KHz ranges. Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) technology is being speculated for use with software-defined radio technology to increase the available capacity for sending data and accommodating higher bandwidths. Implementing cognitive radios would also allow law enforcement to carry less equipment. The necessity for specific public safety technology is crucial in the case of an emergency, so law enforcement and other first-responders must rely on their own kind of enhanced communications systems, rather than using cellular providers or simply a 2.4 MHz frequency. http://www.policeandsecuritynews.com
Law Enforcement Technology
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"7 Carrying GPS Units in Weeklong Tryout to See How Tracking Software Worked"
Modesto Bee (CA) (09/23/07); Raguso, Emilie
The Stanislaus County Probation Department recently held a trial for a new program that outfitted law enforcement and county officials with global positioning system (GPS) equipment. The trial put GPS units in the hands of a select group of town officials, including the Modesto district attorney, county supervisor, two Turlock police chiefs, sheriff, and the mayor. The GPS units were rented by the department and given to the group to determine how the equipment and tracking worked. Most trial participants took their GPS tracking devices along with them everywhere they traveled. The monitoring technology not only tracked the whereabouts of the participants, but also informed those monitoring the group how fast they were driving. The monitoring devices, which are designed for probationers, keeps a log of everywhere the person wearing the device goes to make sure people do not violate the terms of their release conditions.
"L.A. Turns Cameras on Gang Graffiti"
Christian Science Monitor (09/25/07) P. 3; Wood, Daniel B.; Tully, Alison
The City of Los Angeles has installed surveillance cameras in a crime-ridden section of the city's east San Fernando Valley area in an effort to deter gang-related graffiti and other gang-related activities. The cameras sit atop poles at locations such as back alleys and have a motion-detection system that flashes the lens when someone is loitering in front of them. After the camera takes a picture, the system plays a voice recording that warns suspects that their picture has just been taken and that they will be prosecuted if caught committing a crime. The cameras have other features that previous generations of surveillance cameras did not have. For instance, the cameras have a wireless feature that allows them to be moved easily and more often to new locations. Officials can also download the photos taken by the camera without having to go up to the camera in a bucket raised and lowered by a crane. Some residents in the east San Fernando Valley area say the cameras are helping to reduce graffiti and other gang-related crimes. Critics, however, say the amount of money the city is spending on the cameras--roughly $70,000 for the 10 that will eventually be installed--is small compared with the $8 million the city pays on average each year for graffiti removal. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0925/p03s03-usju.html
"High-Tech Law Enforcement"
Tucson Citizen (AZ) (09/21/07) P. 4A; Gargulinski, Ryn
The new $180,000, 400-lbs. robot used by the Tucson police bomb squad is just one of many high-tech devices debuting on the law enforcement front. The robot is a crime-fighting tool used to protect officers from potentially hazardous chemicals or explosives, entering about 30 percent of the Tucson Police Department's bomb squad crime scenes. Technology that allows license plate scanning will soon be launched in the form of a $24,000 scanning device enabling officers to track license plates of stolen vehicles in one swooping motion. James Wysocki, administrator of information services at the TPD, says the tool will save officers hours of time in addition to maximizing the amount of vehicle plates they can scan. COPLINK, used from coast to coast, is another device that departments largely depend on. The system is accessible from a police car's Mobile Tactical Computer (MTC), enabling officers to view mug shots and maps, among other information. The convenient E-Citation program also allows officers to automatically fill out citations with license information due to a separate high-tech scanning device. Though technology has made strides within the department, Wysocki said the TPD has not eliminated any employees, and has reassigned them instead. He adds, "There seems to be an elastic demand for law enforcement services. Our problem is one of growth, not of shrinking." http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/ss/local/63619.php
"Big Bro's Coming to Transport Hubs"
Boston Herald (09/24/07); Underwood, Mike
In an effort to buffer against future possible threats, the Massachusetts state government revealed its plan to expand surveillance to all major transportation facilities, including metro stations, ports, and airports. Homeland Security Undersecretary Julliette Kayyem says the initiative is in response to the July 7, 2005, bombing attack in London, and believes video security will enable authorities to respond quickly if a similar attack occurs in Boston. Sen. James Timilty (D-Walpole), the state Legislature's Homeland Security committee chairman, says the new strategy is an important step but there are still other vulnerable public areas. "My biggest fear is that our softest targets are places like schools. I'm very scared about what could happen so we ought to have cameras in certain places," Timilty says. Along with public surveillance, the state government will organize a statewide emergency response program as part of it's heightened focus on transportation, while plans to build an Internet-based alert system and to coordinate evacuation and relocation are also being discussed.
"Police Get a New Weapon in Arsenal to Detect Hazardous Radiation"
Buffalo News (09/19/07) P. B3; Michel, Lou
New York state troopers and members of the Erie County sheriff's bomb squad are regularly carrying radiological detection units on their patrols. The devices, which cost $1,500 and are the size of a paper bag, are so sensitive that they start emitting beeps if a patrol car traveling at 55 mph or higher comes close to another car transporting even a tiny amount of radioactive substances. After radioactivity is located, another unit is sent to the scene to determine what the material is. Police can then decide whether the radiation being given off from a person or a vehicle's cargo is of real concern. The hand-held "identiFINDER" machine obtains a reading and then deciphers the substance. It also informs police as to whether the radiation is at a satisfactory level. If the portable database in the device cannot provide an answer, the officer can instantly email the data to a government facility. The 450 detection units were purchased with money from the U.S. Homeland Security Department. http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/otherwny/story/165974.html
"St. Louis Police Will Get Help Locating Gunfire"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (09/20/07) P. B5; Bryan, Bill
St. Louis law enforcement have received a Department of Justice grant for installing an "urban gunshot detection monitoring system" that can identify the sound of gunfire and its location. The $500,000 grant will be split between financing the new system and the Police Executive Research Forum thinktank, committed to creating strategies to reduce gun-violence. "We believe this joint venture will help us understand and examine the root causes of violent crime, especially those involving firearms," Police Chief Joe Mokwa said. Officers also say the technology will assist in the process of making arrests and lead to confiscation of more weapons. The monitoring system contains microphones that have a range of roughly one mile used to pinpoint the location of a shot. Similar technology is employed by the military, and other police departments in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland, California.
"Cameras Provide Extra Eyes for Police"
Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN) (09/21/07) P. B2; Harris, Ryan
The Fort Oglethorpe, Tenn., Police Department is testing a license-plate recognition system outfitted on patrol vehicles. The system is run by eight cameras erected on the light-bar of a police car, and a processor in back of the cruiser interprets the license-plate number and compares it to area and national databases. In addition, a GPS system lists the site of every vehicle, as well as stores a time and date stamp. During three hours of testing, Fort Oglethorpe police were able to take 1,467 license-plate photos with the system and were informed about 14 suspects. Numerous citations were given, and an arrest was made. Implementing the system would cost $30,000 to $35,000 for each patrol vehicle. Though there are not any immediate plans to buy the equipment, Police Chief Larry Black noted he will write a report based on the police department's tests to show to the Fort Oglethorpe City Council, which would have to sanction such a purchase. Black pointed out that money obtained from drug busts could help finance the equipment.
"Machine Aims to ID Liquids at Airport"
USA Today (09/20/07); Hall, Mimi
Scientists working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are developing a machine that is able to identify liquid explosives, which could be used to screen baggage at airports. The project, named SENSIT, uses magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] to identify the molecular structure of chemicals in a liquid. If the technology is implemented in airports, it could result in the end of the restriction on the size of liquids in carry-on baggage that has been in place since last September. Currently only bottles up to three ounces in weight and smaller than a quart-sized plastic bag are allowed, because current X-ray scanners can't "differentiate between a sports drink and a material somebody could use for a bomb," according to scientist Bob Kraus. The SENSIT machine currently can identify a total of 50 safe and unsafe liquids, with safe liquids showing up as a green dot on a monitor and dangerous liquids being labeled with a red dot. SENSIT is scheduled to be tested next summer at Albuquerque International to determine if the scanner can be effective in a crowded airport environment.
"San Jose Cops Unveil Interactive Crime Map"
San Jose Mercury News (CA) (09/18/07); Skipitares, Connie
San Jose, Calif.'s police department has launched new crime-tracking software on its Web site that lists the precise location of crime reports. Created by the Salt Lake City firm Public Engines, the software replaces a service that was much less exact. Residents can now look at a report's status, including where an arrest was conducted or if an investigation is still going on or was terminated. In addition, with much more in-depth mapping, they can focus on a region as small as a one-mile radius of their school or house. Map icons reveal where robberies, car thefts, sexual attacks, and additional crimes are being reported. San Jose is only one of a few cities in the country to provide this kind of in-depth and simple to access data. The software enables residents to obtain automatic notification through email when crimes are reported close to their houses or schools. The database is updated each morning at 1 a.m. with the approximately 1,500 crime reports produced daily across San Jose. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_6925367
"$6 Million Grant to Improve Cape Police Response"
Fort Myers News-Press (09/18/07)
The Cape Coral, Fla., Police Department has received a $6 million grant from the federal Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Cape Coral will work in tandem with other public-safety groups in Lee County and the county government to utilize the grant to buy and install a highly-advanced digital radio communications system, which will enable each public-safety group in Lee County to communicate with one another. Presently, Southwest Florida public-safety agencies employ radio systems that are not compatible with one another and cannot swap information, which makes it hard for agencies to work jointly to improve crime-fighting and public safety. In remote sections of Lee County, the existing analog system also witnesses drop zones. Changing over to a digital system will result in faster response times for first responders, greater officer safety, and more access to emergency services for local residents, police claim. In addition, the new system will be more dependable and will have broadened channels to accommodate more users. The Lee County Board of Commissioners has earmarked $2 million for the project, meaning that $8 million overall will be utilized to improve the radio communications system.
"Bay Area Leaders to Build Disaster Communications System"
Insurance Journal (09/14/07)
With grant funding, the Bay Area Public Safety Interoperable Communications Initiative will link communication channels for public agencies in a number of urban counties in California, including San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Cost, Alameda, and Santa Clara. The public agencies' interoperable communications system will enable greater disaster response efficiency and disaster relief coordination in the event of earthquake or other catastrophic events. The $200 million project also will connect these counties' communication systems to Sacramento. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2007/09/14/83487.htm
"SAPD Secures $6 Million From Justice Department"
San Antonio Business Journal (09/13/07)
The San Antonio Police Department will receive a $6 million federal grant through the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), part of a U.S. Department of Justice effort to improve communications technology and fight crime. "This funding will help San Antonio first responders fight crime and keep our communities safe," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said. "It's critical that we provide our law enforcement officials the resources necessary for emergency preparedness and other homeland security efforts to protect homes and families." The funding can be used to purchase technology that allows for increasing communications and data interoperability between law enforcement agencies and other first responders in the area. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/stories/2007/09/10/daily26.html
Governing (08/07) Vol. 20, No. 11, P. 56; Walters, Jonathan
Chicago's Citizen and Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting (CLEAR) database is changing the way members of its police force do business. CLEAR has a number of capabilities designed to better connect the area's law enforcement agencies to each other and to their communities. The system is accessible to squad-car laptops, mobile devices, and community members with an online subscription. All the typical data needed to catch a criminal is made available, including warrants, fingerprints, rap sheets, identifying marks, aliases, license plates, and firearms information. High-tech equipment also monitors video and sound in areas of potential criminal activity, or can be taken on the go to track stolen vehicles or suspects in transit. CLEAR can even screen crime-rates by district or neighborhood, allowing officers to alert communities to potential dangers, ratchet up the heat on suspects, and make sure police presence is felt where it is most needed. The system has proved extremely successful, improving community relations and bringing down crime-rates in and around Chicago. In fact, CLEAR has proven itself so many times, even the federal government has taken notice, ordering similar systems for military use in Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.governing.com/manage/pm/perf0807.htm
"Medical Remedies Prevent Death by TASER"
Police and Security News (08/07) Vol. 23, No. 4, P. 27
For the past seven months, emergency medical technicians in Miami have been participating in a pilot program that aims to prevent TASER-related deaths. The program calls for EMTs to spray the sedative midazolam in the noses of subjects who have been TASERed if the first electroshock does not control them. EMTs then inject the subject with iced saline solution to cool their body and sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the toxic acids released by their tense muscles. The treatment, which is the first of its kind in the country, has been used at least 12 times by Miami EMTs to reduce TASERed subjects' body temperatures and calm them down. Government officials and TASER International are hoping the treatment will help to restore public confidence in TASERs. http://www.policeandsecuritynews.com