Thursday, December 28, 2006

Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, December 28, 2006

"More Surveillance Cameras Planned for City Next Year"
Los Banos Enterprise (CA) (12/22/06); Pride, Corey

The Los Banos, Calif.,
police department hopes to purchase and install 20 wireless surveillance cameras before next year comes to an end. If won, a $275,000 grant will pay for the cameras, which will be placed outside 10 schools above speed radar signs to monitor traffic conditions. Two other cameras may be used at key intersections. The police department already monitors around 45 cameras at various sites. The surveillance system "definitely helps with traffic accident investigations," says Police Chief Chris Gallagher, noting its deterrent effect as well. Each camera will cost about $2,500. "It cuts cost for safety," says Mayor Tommy Jones of the system. "It's cheaper than hiring another police officer."

"Tasers Under the Gun"
New Haven Register (12/24/06); Helsel, Phil

The Milford, Conn.
Police Department's decision to allow its patrol officers as well as its supervisors to use Taser stun guns has resulted in an 850 percent increase in the number of times the devices have been used so far this year compared with 2003. The dramatic increase in the number of incidents involving the use of Tasers, as well as the circumstances surrounding some of those incidents, is causing a controversy in Milford. Of the 34 incidents in which Milford police used Tasers this year, four involved an armed subject, according to a review of the city's police records. In two incidents, people were shocked with Taser stun guns after they had already been handcuffed. And in one incident, 24-year-old Nicholas Brown, a Bridgeport, Conn. man who had been shocked three times by a Taser stun gun, died while in custody of Milford police of what a medical examiner has ruled "cocaine toxicity." For its part, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International, the company that manufactures most of the stun guns used by police departments around the country, says its products are safe--though it does warn law enforcement to be particularly careful when using the stun guns on people who appear to be high on drugs, are exhibiting delirium, extreme agitation, or other conditions of what it calls "sudden in-custody death syndrome." Although more police departments in Connecticut are planning to purchase Taser stun guns, the Hartford Police Department says the deaths of Brown and others have convinced it to hold off on buying the devices.

"Helicopter Takes to Sky for Training"
St. Petersburg Times (FL) (12/22/06) P. CT1; Frank, John

Citrus County has purchased a new $2.4 million American Eurocopter equipped with a rescue hoist, becoming the only county in the state to have a hoist on its police chopper. The county has always been on the cutting edge of
law enforcement technology. In 1990, it and Jacksonville were the only ones to employ thermal imaging technology with their helicopters. The hoist will be especially useful in this flood-prone region.

"Jail Docket Coming Back Online"
Biloxi Sun Herald (MS) (12/21/06); Fitzgerald, Robin

The Harrison County Sheriff's Department in Mississippi will soon have access to its online jail docket as it migrates to a new records-management system. The
technology will let the department access the dockets of Jackson and Hancock counties as well, and other counties in the state will soon be added in the future. The online docket has been offline since Nov. 7 because of the changeover. The situation "has made it difficult because we had to call the front desk to get the information," says D&D Bail Bond owner Wayne Dowdle. Once the new system is viewable, mug shots of prisoners will be posted; this is likely to be finalized after January 2007. Officials with the Sheriff's Department say the new technology will enhance information as well as assist them in knowing who and where prisoners are. A 1983 state law mandated that jail dockets and certain other types of information about incarcerations be made public.

"County Steps Up Monitoring After Predator Cluster Found"
Modesto Bee (CA) (12/22/06) P. B3; Jason, Scott

Law enforcement in Merced County, Calif., will track parolees' release and housing more closely after the recent eviction of six convicted sex offenders from a home, according to county sheriff's officials. They were evicted because they were residing illegally on agricultural property in a secondary home, also known as a granny house, meant for farm workers or family members. The state of California had moved the group to the house in November amid several changes--a school bus route was alerted, and surveillance gear was added to the home. Windows were also blacked out. A town meeting at a citizen's home was held on Dec. 15, attended by sheriff deputies, Supervisor Deidre Kelsey, and other officials. More than 50 residents attended to oppose the felons' occupancy of the house.

"Asking the Right Questions"
Baltimore Sun (12/22/06) P. 1D; Hobby, Susan Thornton

Columbia, Md., firm SIMmersion has devised numerous interactive computer simulation games employing real actors to instruct new
police officers, physicians, and social workers on how to handle witnesses, patients, or clients without causing explosive incidents or initiating malpractice lawsuits. When they are finished, interviewers receive a numeric score for how well they conducted their interview, and an in-depth analysis of their performance, as well as chance to repeatedly play the game. SIMmersion's Dale Olsen, who has a statistics doctorate and a polygraph background, worked for over three decades at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physicians Laboratory, where he helped create simulations software that instructed sailors on how to drive nuclear submarines. Simulator designers explain that while interviewers select their lines from all the potential scenarios shown on the screen and read them to a computer, the responses are written in a conversational manner, so that communication is natural. One of Olsen's simulations has trial witnesses receive interrogation on the witness stand by a pair of hostile attorneys. SIMmersion is now moving in multiple directions, while its foundation is in law enforcement. Former FBI office of information and learning resources unit chief Garland Phillips, who urged his agency to finance SIMmersion's initial simulation for the FBI Training Academy, explained that instructors discovered that enrollees would frequently spend their personal time operating the simulations. After the FBI was convinced, the academy introduced the simulations to its 56 field offices, and then the 16,000 state and local police groups it helps instruct, as well as additional federal agencies and foreign institutions.


"Dallas Courthouse to Increase Security"
Des Moines Register (IA) (12/20/06) P. 1B; Walker, Melissa

The Dallas County Courthouse in Iowa will soon have metal detectors and a $28,075 X-ray machine, the cost of which was covered by a grant from the Department of
Homeland Security, to screen visitors. A security council comprising courthouse employees, law enforcement officials, and judges also proposed a security staff of 10 full- and part-time deputies at a cost of as much as $520,000, security cameras, employee access cards, and a building alarm system, among other things. County officials are expected to review the requests early in the new year. The sheriff's department will likely provide two full-time employees and part-time, off-duty police officers to monitor security systems and patrol the courthouse, according to Sheriff's Deputy Doug Lande. Lande notes, "We're going to make this as least intrusive as possible but protect the building and the people who work there." Metal detectors and a gated parking lot are among the security measures already put in place at the federal courthouse in Polk County.

"Fresno Cracks Down on DUI"
Associated Press (12/21/06); Burke, Garance

Fresno, Calif., police are erecting roadblocks, performing stakeouts, and utilizing night-vision goggles, satellite tracking devices, and video cameras in a crackdown intended to stop drunken drivers. These strategies have made the city one of the nation's toughest regarding drunk driving. Although
police claim the four-year-old initiative has resulted in a significant decrease in fatal car accidents, restaurants and bars contend it is harming business and placing a damper on city's nightlife, while defense attorneys and civil liberties activists caution that Fresno has gone too far. Fresno police are placing undercover police close to bars to look out for drunken individuals heading to their vehicles. They are also erecting numerous drunk-driving checkpoints, and are discreetly placing Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on the vehicles of convicted drunken drivers to track whether they are going to liquor stores or bars, which would violate their parole or probation. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has listed Fresno's initiative as the best in the country. Four years ago, more individuals in Fresno were killed in car accidents than by murder, a figure that caused Police Chief Jerry Dyer to expand the traffic division from 22 officers to 76, to have the department make greater use of checkpoints, and to start utilizing GPS devices. The level of alcohol-related accidents that have caused injuries has dropped from 125 four years ago to 105 in 2006, while the level of DUI arrests has increased from 2,169 in 2002 to a predicted 3,000 for 2006, police stated.

"State Lawmaker Calls for Limits on Taser Use"
Associated Press (12/22/06)

In Texas, Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth) has introduced legislation that would allow
police officers to use Tasers only when the use of deadly force is justified under the state penal code. Burnam's bill is in response to incidents in which suspects have been subdued by Tasers and later died. Burnam has also raised concerns that Tasers are used more often on minorities. Houston police used Tasers in 892 instances since 2004, but city Police Chief Harold Hurtt says only 39 justified deadly force.

"Most Back Cameras to Battle Crime"
Stamford Advocate (CT) (12/20/06); Lee, Natasha

At a recent hearing in Stamford, Conn., local citizens said they endorse the use of cameras to increase safety, but want safeguards in place that would prevent officials from abusing the
technology. The hearing was arranged by the Public Safety and Health Committee of Stamford's Board of Representatives Office. At present, the city is allowed to use its 16 closed-circuit cameras only for monitoring traffic in accordance with a 1999 ordinance. However, members of the Public Safety and Health Committee as well as if the Legislative and Rules Committee have voted to alter the ordinance to lessen the restrictions; the changes need to be approved by the Board of Representatives in January, said Richard Lyons, chairman of the Public Safety and Health Committee. The majority of residents said the cameras would help reduce crimes such as vandalism and improper dumping, but some residents advocated boosting the number of police officers rather than initiating camera surveillance. Others asserted that surveillance cameras fail to successfully deter crime.

"UMass Checks Data to Identify Rioters"
Boston Globe (12/20/06) P. B7; Simpson, April

University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass)
police are employing photos, Web sites, videos, and students to locate students who set items on fire and heaved bike tires, beer bottles, and other dangerous materials at police following the football team's loss on Dec. 15 in the Division 1-AA championship game. Campus police authorities informed students on Dec. 18 that they will post photos of rioters on the school's Web site each day. Of the 11 individuals recently arrested, 10 were students. At their Dec. 18 and Dec. 19 arraignments, the students pleaded not guilty. On Dec. 17, however, university vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life Michael Gargano stated in an a email letter to students' parents that around 200 students actively partook in "the violence and destruction on December 15," and noted they could be expelled, face criminal charges, or lose academic credit for the fall semester. Around 1,800 students rushed a residential section of the school at 11 p.m. on Dec. 15, after the UMass football team lost to Appalachian State. A pair of police officers were hurt by thrown rocks, and several have reported bruises. Police stated they are seeking the worst offenders, especially those who threw things at them.


"Invention: Taser Gets Tougher"
New Scientist Tech (12/18/06); Fox, Barry

In a project funded by the U.S. government, Arizona's Taser International is developing a stun gun capable of shocking recipients insulated by clothing as well as animals with thick fur. The projectiles fired by current stun guns can lose their effectiveness if they become stuck in clothing or fur because the recipient is protected from the shock delivered by the projectile's barbed electrodes. However, the new stun guns will have an additional electrode that faces away from the target on the rear of the projectile capable of providing a shock that instinctively compels the target to grab or bite the projectile. Once the target's bare skin makes good electrical contact with the electrode, a disabling shock is delivered.

"City to Hold Annual Vehicle Safety 'Roadeo' on Dec. 1"
US States News (11/28/06)

On Dec. 1, the City of Corpus Christi's Risk Management Office and Safety Advisory Board held the annual Vehicle Safety "Roadeo" Contest. There were nine different testing categories involving full-size sedans, police sedans, VIP sedans, pickup trucks, dump trucks, and many other vehicle types. The best city employee driver in each category was given an award or prize for their efforts. City employees with good driving records navigated six different obstacle-course layouts and demonstrated their safe-driving skills.

"Justice Dept. Database Stirs Privacy Fears"
Washington Post (12/26/06) P. A7; Eggen, Dan

A huge database being constructed by the
Justice Department intended to allow local investigators around the country to access information held by federal law enforcement agencies is receiving widespread disapproval from privacy groups. There are currently one million records, from both open and closed cases, in the database known as "OneDOJ," which can only be accessed by 150 police departments at this time, but in three years the number of case records is expected to triple, and the number of regional authorities with access is expected to jump to 750. Privacy and civil rights advocates see the database as a dangerous source of unfounded details, particularly concerning people who have not been arrested or charged with a crime. The ACLU's Technology and Liberty Project director Barry Steinhardt says that, " Raw police files or FBI reports can never be verified and can never be corrected. That is a problem with even more formal and controlled systems. The idea that they're creating another whole system that is going to be full of inaccurate information is just chilling." He cites the 2003 statement by the FBI that it would no longer recognize the Privacy Act's requirements for accuracy in the National Crime Information Center, the main criminal-background-check database that is utilized by 80,000 law enforcement agencies in the country. Others express fear that the information disseminated by this system could make its way into realms outside of law enforcement. Despite calls for a halt to the project, the DOJ remains confident that OneDOJ will provide invaluable assistance to local authorities by "essentially hooking them up to a pipe that will take them into [the DOJ's] records."

"1 Police Force, 1 Lesson Plan"
Indianapolis Star (11/13/06) P. 1; O'Neal, Kevin

The Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department (IPD) and the Marion County Sheriff's Department continue to merge their departments into one, and as part of the merger plans, the departments will rely on a single training center--the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Training Academy. Police department officials claim that the single training center will foster consistency among officers and improve the efficiency levels of the entire police force. Moreover, the merged departments are expected to reduce duplication in procedures, policies, and training, though deadly-force policies will remain in effect. The academy is equipped with a shoot-or-don't-shoot simulator in the firearms range and a program to teach officers basic Spanish language skills to better serve the growing Hispanic population. However, one difference under the new training academy will be the elimination of the precision immobilization technique (PIT), in which officers learn how to hit fleeing cars in order to spin them and shorten pursuits. Other skills updates for veteran officers will also be offered.

Article sponsored by
Criminal Justice Leadership; and, police and military personnel who have become writers.

Screaming Eagle Poker Raised over $180,000 for America’s wounded Veterans

Screaming Eagle Poker has a saying, “you have to be willing to die in order to live.” For America’s service members and members of the Screaming Eagle Poker (SEP) Association, is not just a saying, but a reality. These veterans, in addition to their daily commitment to America, are committed to helping their fellow Americans and veterans by sponsoring poker tournaments. According to the Army Soldier and president of SEP, Felix Gutierrez, “In 2006, in addition to the morale boosting competitions, Screaming Eagle Poker raised $180,000 for wounded veterans.”

During 2006, SEP sponsored poker tournaments throughout Iraq. As an example, SEP sponsored has sponsored tournaments in Contingency Operating Base (COB) Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq. According to SEP, “The events build Esprit De Corp and help soldiers get a mental escape from the anguish of living in a combat zone.” The growing popularity of SEP tournaments is reflected in the growth and direction of the organization. SEP envisions building a tournament pitting the various branches of service into an all out poker slugfest to find out which branch has the best poker players.

Taking a step toward the ultimate slugfest, in partnership with OffTheRail, the Screaming Eagle Poker Association is providing online poker events for all current and former Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, Fire personnel as well as their friends and family members. You can visit their website at for more information.

Article sponsored by
Criminal Justice Leadership; and, police and military personnel who have become writers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Free Webhosting

MSN introduced a new service that allows small business owners to build their own websites. The free part of the beta test allows you to register a domain and build a site. Pretty simple and cool. You can see the service at and take a look at the site I built at college education.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, December 21, 2006

"New Roadblocks to Drunk Driving"
Los Angeles Times (12/18/06) P. F1; Roan, Shari

Although alcohol-related driving fatalities in the United States plummeted between 1982 and 1994, largely as a result of the efforts of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), they have since plateaued around 17,000 a year. The stalling of the downward trend in alcohol-related driving fatalities has prompted MADD to launch what it calls an "audacious" campaign to end drunk driving largely by using technology that may someday make it impossible to start a car when the driver is drunk. One example of this technology, ignition interlocks, are often ordered by judges for repeated DUI offenders as a condition of their probation after their driver's license has been reinstated. But now MADD is pushing for the use of interlocks for all convicted first-time offenders, a move that it says could save 1,600 lives a year. The increased use of interlocks could eventually pave the way for devices that could be installed in all new cars to help prevent drunk driving. Experts say devices that do not have Breathalyzers or require any action on the driver's part hold the most promise. One such device is a touch-based alcohol monitoring system that measures alcohol through the skin using infrared spectroscopy. The technology, developed by New Mexico-based TruTouch Technologies, would include a touchpad placed on a steering wheel or keychain that would measure the driver's alcohol level and transmit the information to the ignition system.

Police Increasingly Watching Internet"
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) (12/18/06); Kridel, Kristen

law enforcement agencies are increasingly obtaining funding to seek out criminals on the Internet, especially through social networking Web sites such as As the offline world becomes more concerned with security, criminals often turn to the Internet to commit financial fraud, set up sales of illegal drugs, or seek victims of sexual abuse. Police evaluating these suspects' most likely forums for arranging these illegal activities have a powerful weapon in preventing their plans from becoming reality. Many users of online social-networking sites, especially teenagers, have an expectation that the personal information they publish on their sites will remain private, but it remains publicly accessible information that police have a responsibility to investigate when they come across it. The majority of online investigation goes toward tracking down sexual predators, with grants being dispersed by the Florida Department of Children & Families to fund computers and training programs for officers using the Internet to identify potential abusers. Because several Web sites are known forums for encouraging this type of activity, the search efforts are more efficient and more quickly target criminals than offline investigation would be.

Police Receiving Crucial Technology Upgrades"
Sherman Denison Herald Democrat (12/17/06); Farmer, Mary Jane

The Denison, Texas,
police force has been transforming itself with the latest radio, computing, and patrol car technology under a plan that has been well researched, says Denison Police Chief Jim Lovell. The Denison police force has 45 certified officers and 13 civilian staff members, and currently the force is replacing its Ford Crown Victoria cars with new 2006 Dodge Chargers. These new police cars have high-capacity radios that can pick up analog and digital transmission, tune into Homeland Security channels and other national channels, and use an encrypted SecureNet channel. Denison also is purchasing handheld radios for all its officers on a slow acquisition basis, because these handhelds cost the department $3,000 per device. The new patrol cars also have built-in computers for suspect research information and other communication and information needs. At the police station, almost every officer has their own computing work station as well.

"Law's Eyes in the Sky"
Orlando Sentinel (FL) (12/17/06) P. J1; Reed, Kristen

The Volusia County, Fla., Sheriff's Office's fleet of three helicopters is indispensable to the large and growing county, because it allows law enforcement to respond to the farthest points in the county in a matter of minutes, said sheriff's representative Gary Davidson. The helicopters--which come equipped with a GPS systems and a street tracker to help crews determine where they are and where they need to go--are used for several reasons: Aerial surveillance, searching for suspects, narcotics investigations, medical emergencies, and fighting fires. In addition, crews fly across the county looking for things that seem out of place, such as abandoned cars or oil streaks in lakes, said flight paramedic Larry Higgins. So far, the use of the helicopters seems to be paying off. Last year, the helicopter assisted in 233 arrests, including the arrests of accused gang members trying to flee South Florida after a bank robbery in DeLand. However, the copters are aging and will soon be replaced. The new helicopters, the first of which will arrive in December 2008, will be equipped with night vision and video equipment that will allow the crews on board to transmit video to a mobile command center or a law-enforcement facility.

"Booking Goes High-Tech"
Telegram & Gazette (12/15/06) P. B1; Lee, Brian

Police no longer have to worry about fingerprinting errors or suspects who purposely try and disrupt the fingerprinting process with the new Electronic Fingerprinting Submission Device. The live fingerprinting scanner was purchased with a Cops More grant for less than $20,000. The device is equipped with a fingerprinting reader that has a low margin of error. "This thing will yell at you if you're not doing it right," says Lt. Carl G. Ekman. "You have to try to goof. And it doesn't get your hands dirty. It's a nice setup, and a long time coming." The department fingerprints between 800 and 1,000 people every year, according to Ekman. Police can now quickly determine a suspect's identity with the device. The device also allows local law enforcement to send images to the FBI's state police fingerprinting ID unit.

"Eye On Crime Getting Sharper"
Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN) (12/14/06) P. A1; Jones, Yolanda

Police Director Larry Godwin and his department are following in the footsteps of New York City and implementing their own video surveillance system to monitor the city's crime. Earlier this month, Godwin took a trip to New York to observe how the city used its Real Time Crime Center to decrease crime by 20 percent since 2001. Godwin's own department will launch the Memphis Real Time Crime Center, which will place cameras around the city. The center's computer database will connect Memphis to other local law enforcement agencies across the country in an effort to share information. The video equipment was purchased with a $6.5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security, according to Lt. Jim Harvey at the Memphis police. He says officers and crime analysts will work together at the center. "It's the perfect marriage of investigation, response, and prevention," says University of Memphis professor Dr. Richard Janikowski. Memphis is currently ranked second in the nation in violent crime, according to the FBI.

"New Gunshot Sensors Help
Police Get to Scene Faster"
Minneapolis Star Tribune (12/14/06) P. 4B; Chanen, David; Lonetree, Anthony

The Minneapolis
Police Department has a new way to fight crime with the launch of the ShotSpotter, a sensor system that can locate gunshots. The $325,000-plus system is already used in several cities and will be used in Minneapolis' South side in about a week and the North side in a month. ShotSpotter will notify dispatch right away when a gun is fired and give officers nearly the exact address, says Lt. Greg Reinhardt at the Minneapolis Police Department. The system is comprised of 80 sensors that can reach about four square miles of the city that account for half of the calls police receive about shots fired.

"Presque Isle: SAD 1 Tightening Security"
Bangor Daily News (ME) (12/13/06); Rice, Rachel

Maine's School Administrative District 1 is working to improve security at Presque Isle High School, which has recently been subject to three bomb threats. Among the proposed improvements are an email notification system that informs parents of emergencies and which can evade spam filters programmed to block out messages sent to multiple addresses, and better camera surveillance of the school's entrances and restrooms. In addition, the school will be introducing a photo ID badge system that ensures personnel at the high school are those who are supposed to be there. The district is continuing to investigate who is behind the recent bomb threats.

"Congress Accelerates $1 Billion in Interoperability Funds"
Mobile Radio Technology (12/11/06); Jackson, Donny

Congress approved a measure that will make $1 billion in interoperability funds available to public-safety agencies before the auction of the 700MHz band, the funding source, takes place beginning in January 2008. Introduced by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the Call Home Act is primarily concerned about ensuring that U.S. troops deployed abroad can call home at reduced rates. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will administer allocation of funding, but it is not clear by what criteria. Thus far only one qualification has been clarified-- that deployments seeking funding be interoperable with the 700 MHz band. "From the way I read the bill, they have to parcel it out by Sept. 30 [of 2007], says APCO legislative director Yucel Ors. "It has to be allocated, but who they allocate it t -- and how it gets allocate -- is still to be determined."

"Coroner Reporting Goes Live"
eWeek (12/11/06) Vol. 23, No. 49, P. C3; McKeefry, Hailey Lynne

The Kane County, Ill., coroner's office decided to implement a computer-based data system to meet the increasing demands of a growing Kane County, knowing that budget restrictions prevented the hiring of new staff. When the coroner's office could not find a packaged solution, they hired CDW-Government and partner company Ta-Kenset to design a custom data system. Under the old system using paper forms and outdated computers, each cause of death investigation and conclusion required 60 different forms. CDW-Government and its partner built a system in nine months that streamlined data-entry across forms, protected private information, created a tiered-access system for staff, and provided exclusive data privileges to the corner. It went live on Jan. 1, 2004. The office would now like to expand the system by accepting requests for birth and death certificates online, for instance. "Because of what we've done in here, the county has begun to look at other departments in the county to see how they can use the technology to implement similar programs in all of our departments," says Kane County Coroner Chuck West.

"Two-Thirds of First Responders Have Interoperable Communications"
Federal Times (12/08/06); Losey, Stephen

A report from the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) indicates that about two-thirds of the nation's first responders can talk to at least some of their colleagues in other agencies. The report focused on more than 6,800 law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical agencies, showing that at all levels of the government interoperability varies, DHS said Dec. 8. The report revealed that first responders are moderately successful in coordinating equipment with technology, but need more assistance in establishing standardized usage procedures and exercises for use across agencies. The report also indicated that local agencies have achieved more interoperable capabilities compared to states. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff estimates that all first responders will be able to speak to each other by the end of 2008.

"DHS Passenger Scoring Illegal?"
Wired News (12/07/06); Singel, Ryan

Privacy advocates charge that the Department of
Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System (ATS), which assigns terrorism scores to people traveling in and out of the United States, is a violation of the limits that have been placed on the department by federal lawmakers. Pointing to a provision in the 2007 Homeland Security funding bill, Identity Project members Edward Hasbrouck and James Harrison wrote, "By cloaking this prohibited action in a border issue...the Department of Homeland Security directly and openly contravenes Congress' clear intent. A DHS spokesperson said the appropriations bill's language--which bars government agencies from using appropriations funding to "develop or test algorithms assigning risk to passengers whose names are not on government watch lists"--does not cover the ATS, which harvests passenger data from international flights and scores each passenger's risk based on watchlists, criminal databases, and other government systems. High scorers are targeted by Customs and Border Protection for extra screening at deplaning time, and the data and scores can be kept for 40 years, broadly shared, and be used for hiring decisions; in addition, travelers are not able to see or contest their scores. According to congressional testimony by DHS official Paul Rosenzweig, the system had "encountered 4,801 positive matches for known or suspected terrorists," although it was not clear how many were correct matches. Critics who say the ATS program is illegal under the law include Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Jim Harper of the Cato Institute. DHS spokesman Jarrod Agen argues that the appropriations bill's language refers specifically to a program called Secure Flight, a planned successor to the CAPPS II screening system, but Rotenberg and Harper disagree with that interpretation.

"New Cameras Nab Toll Scofflaws"
Houston Chronicle (12/18/06); Grant, Alexis

The Harris County (Texas) Toll Road Authority is successfully using four high-tech surveillance cameras to catch drivers who repeatedly evade paying tolls while using the county's EZ Tag toll lanes. The camera system uses special software that has been programmed to react when it identifies the license plates of any of the top 500 non-paying drivers, some of whom have evaded paying as much as $30,000 in tolls. The surveillance cameras used by most toll roads simply take pictures of vehicles that fail to pay when entering a toll lane, allowing local officials to mail tickets to the offenders. But the Harris County system also sends real-time alerts to a police dispatcher when it recognizes the license plates of any of the top 500 non-paying drivers. The dispatcher then calls a nearby police officer who pulls over the offending car, arrests the driver, and tows his vehicle. A spokesman for the
police force that patrols the toll roads explains, "We put them in jail. If they owe a lot of money, we don't write them a ticket." The toll authority, which has used the system to catch eight of the top 500 scofflaws since August, plans to have a total of 24 of the $28,000 surveillance cameras in place by the beginning of the new year.

"Turning Cellphones Into Lifelines"
USA Today (12/05/06); Reardon, Marguerite

The recent rescue of a mother and her two daughters from a remote region in Oregon highlights the benefits of cellular technology over standalone GPS navigation products in rescue operations. "Navigation tools may help someone if they need to understand where they are to get to safety," says Kiyoshi Hamai, director of sales and product management with Mio Technology, a vendor of portable navigation devices using GPS technology. "But in order for someone to find you, you really need a device, like a cellphone, that can provide two-way communication." Cellphones are practically a staple in U.S. households today, with 230 million Americans subscribing to a service. The infrastructure supporting the technology is spreading to even the remotest of locations, and the technology's very nature ensures constant communications between cellphone and cell tower to update locations. With the FCC pushing operators to provide E911 service, pinpoint capabilities will only be improved. The service depends on GPS chips embedded in phones that allow rescue personnel to send pings to mobile devices to track approximate locations. New phones sold by Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and Alltel have the chips included to comply with the federal mandate. Operators like Helio, Disney Mobile, and Boost Wireless already provide tracking services using GPS-embedded phones.

Technology Helps Identify the Dead"
Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week (12/24/06) P. 122

Researchers at Britain's University of Leicester, working with Leicestershire Constabulary and Hamburg University's Institute of Legal Medicine, have found that handheld devices used to fingerprint drivers can also be used to identify the dead. The capability to fingerprint the dead using a handheld, mobile wireless device in conjunction with a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device would be of particular benefit in catastrophic events that result in mass casualties. "In mass fatality investigations there is a shift of emphasis of the investigative process towards gathering information for the identification of the deceased," said Professor Guy Rutty of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester. "Fingerprinting is usually undertaken by scene of crime or fingerprint officers at the mortuary and although the recovery of fingerprints is possible at the scene of death, as with mortuary recovery, to date handheld real-time on-site analysis [near-patient testing] is not available to investigators."

"Nashville Metro
Police Seek Public Help by Posting Surveillance Images On-Line"

Police and Security News (12/06) Vol. 22, No. 6, P. 68

The Nashville Metro
Police Department has begun sharing surveillance video with the public in hopes of generating tips. Formerly relegated for use only with other police agencies, the video, showing suspects in the act of committing a crime, is posted online in small slide shows accompanied by requests for tips. Since going live last November, the site has generated over 16,000 visits.

Article sponsored by
Criminal Justice Leadership; and police and military personnel who have become writers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, December 14, 2006

Police Get Assist From Eyes in the Sky"
Quad-City Times (12/11/06); Brecht, Tory

The Davenport
Police Department plans to install portable and mobile cameras that will provide police with live streaming video. Police Chief Mike Bladel indicated that the cameras will enable the identification of people from "a long distance," but did not provide more details. A few aldermen expressed concerns about the technology encroaching on privacy rights. Bladel indicated that the cameras will only require about $10,000 of the department's $100,000 budget for purchasing camera equipment for the monitoring of local communities.

"Device that Helps Dogs Sniff Out Suspects May Not be Up to Snuff"
Los Angeles Times (12/07/06) P. B1; Reza, H.G.

A $900 scent-collecting device that
law enforcement uses as a tool to help detect the scent of humans at crime scenes is at the center of a controversy that has resulted in the dismissal of at least five cases. Proponents of the STU-100 device claim that it can collect human scents from objects as small as bullet fragments. Once collected, the scents are supposedly transferred to a small gauze pad that a bloodhound sniffs, with the idea that the dog then uses the scent to track the suspect, all without jeopardizing the integrity of physical evidence. But critics such as Auburn University's Larry Myers, a professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, say the device is unreliable and amounts to "quackery." The device has been used to help convict at least five men who have since had their cases overturned and been released from jail. There is no hard data on how many convictions or arrests the device is responsible for, but one dog handler says he has used the technology in most of the 2,000 cases he has handled.

"Sheriff, Jail Seek Immigration Law Powers"
Beaufort Gazette (12/10/06); Hsieh, Jeremy

The Beaufort County, S.C., Sheriff's Office Deputies and Detention Center officers could begin fulfilling some of the prerequisites for obtaining some of the authority normally limited to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner. Under current law, local law enforcement officers are not authorized to identify someone as an illegal immigrant and must refer immigration status inquiries to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. However, if local
law enforcement officers pass a five-week training and certification process, they can then identify illegal immigrants with federal databases, enter information in those databases, and charge immigrants with violations of immigration law. Ten deputies and two supervising sergeants in the Mecklenburg County, S.C., Sheriff's office have passed this certification program since February. These officers ask every arrestee in the county jail what country they were born in and of what country they are a citizen. If the arrestee's answer to either question is not the United States, the officers use special technology and federal databases to help them ascertain the arrestee's immigration status. This technology, which will also be used in Beaufort County, is called the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Biometric Identification System, or IDENT. The technology, which costs $25,000, checks non-U.S. native arrestees' fingerprint scans and photos against the same federal database the U.S. Border patrol uses.

"Technology Brings
Police Up to Speed"
Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise (MA) (12/06/06); Graham, Jonathan

In Massachusetts' north-central region, police departments will soon be able to instantly swap data about suspects as a result of technology secured via grants totaling $875,000, according to
police and state leaders on Dec. 5. Analyst Carol Fitzgerald with the Fitchburg Police Department said the new systems will let law enforcement officers view suspects' complete data within seconds. The new technology now connects the computer systems of Fitchburg and Gardner, and Leominster's system is anticipated to be operational in about two months, said Leominster's police chief Peter Roddy. A grant of $375,000 obtained in 2005 by U.S. Rep. John Olver (D-Amherst) will be used to connect the cities of Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner, while the $500,000 grant obtained in 2006 will be used to broaden the program to include the cities of Ashburnham, Lunenburg, Shirley, Westminster, and Winchendon. Officials noted that suspects can cross multiple borders, so it will be crucial for officers to see the regional collection of information. This includes such things as vehicle stops, traffic tickets, parking tickets, arrests, victim information, and photos, said Fitzgerald and other law enforcement officials.

Law Enforcement Agencies Ganging Up on Gangs"
Asbury Park Press (NJ) (12/10/06); Bonafide, Margaret F.

The New Jersey State
Police have implemented a strategy of Intelligence-Led Policing, which has allowed the state to better deal with criminals--particularly gang members--who are highly proficient in technology. Traditionally, information that law enforcement took in every day was kept in "silos" or databanks in each of the federal, state, and local agencies combating gang violence. But with Intelligence-Led Policing, those agencies are linked. This allows them to share information and add it to a central database currently under construction at the State Police Regional Operations Center. In addition, evidence from unrelated cases can be compared, allowing police to increase their rate of crime solving. This capability was particularly helpful in the State Police's efforts to dismantle a gang called "9 Trey," a subset of the Bloods gang that was terrorizing people near the Irvington, N.J.-Newark boundary. By looking at the intelligence collected during traffic stops, State Police were able to make connections between unsolved old crimes and new crimes, said Lt. Col. Frank E. Rodgers, deputy superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

"Officers On Camera"
Register-Guard (12/09/06); Nolan, Rebecca

The Eugene
Police Department in Oregon is installing in-car digital video systems in all patrol vehicles by the end of the year in order to reduce court time and citizen complaints, expedite internal affairs investigations, and provide training material. Although $620,000 in telecommunications tax revenue was earmarked by the city for such a recording system in March 2005, it took the department until last June to sign a contract with the Texas-based Coban Research and Technologies. So far, the approximately $6,500 units have been installed in 90 percent of the force's vehicles, and training has occurred for both supervisors and officers over the past several weeks. The user-friendly units consist of a mounted digital video camera, a hard drive capable of holding up to 40 hours of footage, a touch-screen monitor, and a mobile hard-drive unit and microphone that the officer carries. The system, which may be started from outside the car, can capture still images and records on a one-minute buffer until activated when the overhead lights come on, though the officer can also control the process using the touch-screen monitor. The footage is uploaded to a server at the end of each officer's shift and can be accessed by the officer who recorded it, supervisors, and the defendants.

"All County Schools Are Getting Radios"
Baltimore Sun (12/10/06); Williams IV, John-John

Howard County schools are receiving radios in January that can connect with
police in emergency situations. The radios, which share some of the same functions as those employed by police agencies, will give school officials immediate access to a 911 dispatcher. Capt. Glenn Hansen of the Howard County Police Department said Howard County schools many be the only school system to have the high-tech radio system. Hansen, who is the department's information technology expert, emphasized that the distribution of the radio systems to the schools is not the result of any incident, but is intended to improve communication between the department and the schools. The federal Education and Homeland Security departments helped cover the $180,000 cost of the purchase.

"Cops Warn of DWI Crisis Ahead"
Bergen Record (NJ) (12/06/06) P. A1; Salazar, Carolyn

Police departments in New Jersey warn that a lack of technology could hinder their ability to catch drunk drivers this holiday season. Specifically, the replacement components for Breathalyzer devices are not being manufactured anymore. In addition, the New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered counties to wait before buying new devices such as Alcotest, which prints out blood alcohol results on paper. The state high court wants to make sure the new machines are scientifically reliable, in response to lawyers' challenges. The high court's ruling has affected the counties of Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, and Essex. Officers in these counties will still be required to perform DWI checkpoints. But once the aging devices malfunction, new parts for them cannot be obtained, and the ampules necessary to conduct readings are also dwindling. Draeger Safety Diagnostic says only police departments in New Jersey are still using Breathalyzers. Some are suggesting the counties merge their ampule holdings or conduct regional breath tests.

"Communication Key In Tracking Offenders"
Vallejo Times Herald (CA) (12/06/06); Pursell, Erin

Various measures need to be taken to protect the residents of California's Solano County from registered sex offenders, according to statements made by Sheriff Gary Stanton on Dec. 5 to the Board of Supervisors. Provisions for a global positioning system to monitor the location of sex offenders were included in the recently-passed Proposition 83, which is also referred to as Jessica's Law, but the board rebuffed Stanton's proposal for the county to join a potential statewide pilot program because of feasibility and jurisdiction issues. Stanton also said that communication between state parole and local law enforcement is continuing to improve, as are parole list reviews and parole check compliance. Additionally, Stanton said that due to recent modifications to Megan's Law and state legislation that prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a public park or school, the offenders have begun migrating to Solano County and other more rural areas. Many residents are angry that the law does not require the state to personally notify them if a sex offender moves into their neighborhood, and though Stanton urged the public to check the national registry for such information, only 655 of the county's 948 registered sex offenders are listed in the database. There will be a statewide summit on the issue early next year.

Law Enforcement Develop Crime Scene Investigation Unit"
Associated Press (12/11/06); Leifer, Rachel

Law enforcement agencies in the Hattiesburg, Miss., area have partnered with the University of Southern Mississippi to establish the Metro Area Crime Scene and Identification Unit, which will build on the work of Hattiesburg's two crime scene investigators in order to improve evidence collection from crime scenes and identify and prosecute suspects more quickly. As part of the coordinated effort, which will likely get started in February or March pending approval from the state College Board, new crime scene technicians would be hired and at least one fully-furnished crime scene van and other equipment would be purchased. In addition, the project would give USM students hands-on training investigating crime scenes, taking and storing physical evidence, and using relevant technologies. One of those technologies is a machine called an Affix Tracker, which will be used to collect and store the fingerprints of each person arrested in Mississippi's Lamar and Forrest Counties. According to Jon Mark Weathers, the district attorney for Forrest and Perry Counties, the technology could dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to match prints from a crime scene to a suspect.

"Sheriff's Got a Top 10 List"
Chicago Sun-Times (12/07/06) P. 10; Hussain, Rummana

Tom Dart, the new sheriff of Cook County, has composed a list of what he wants to accomplish during his term. One of the goals is to decrease both drug and gang activity in the community. Other goals include establishing an internal hotline for employees to report any violations of the code of conduct.. Dart also wants to equip the Cook County Jail with a video surveillance system and set up a "video visitation" system at the facility. He also wants to equip court rooms with closed-circuit television for use during preliminary court hearings.

Police Alter Tactics, Targets"
Philadelphia Inquirer (12/07/06) P. A1; Moroz, Jennifer

Last year,
New Jersey State Police were the first in the country to launch a comprehensive intelligence-led policing initiative using information gathering, analysis, and sharing to identify the most important threats to public safety. The strategy, which has been used primarily for counterterrorism in the past, addresses all types of crimes and represents a shift from previous policy wherein officers went after whatever criminals they could, regardless of the severity of the crime. The program's focal point is the Regional Operations and Intelligence Center that opened last month in West Trenton, which houses such databases as New Jersey's Statewide Intelligence Management System and will soon be home to representatives from various state and federal agencies that include the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the New York and Philadelphia police departments. Since the center was already being constructed as an emergency operations facility, costs to the police were minimal, and the initiative has thus far helped to improve investigation quality and prevent crime through the use of risk-management techniques. "It's about surveying the organization to get as much information as you can to weigh the risks and decide where to put your resources," said Jerry Ratcliffe, an associate criminal justice professor at Temple. "In the end, you're still going to run informants and do surveillance, but hopefully on your most direct threats."

"Public Safety Experts Call 2007 "Most Important Year""
News Blaze (12/06/06)

Several top public safety experts recently participated in a panel discussion about communications interoperability for first responders at the National Press Club. "The Post Election Landscape for Public Safety Communications: 2007 Predictions and Recommendations" panel, which was sponsored by the First Response Coalition (FRC), concluded that 2007 would be a key year for communications interoperability for first responders. The panelists included representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Transportation, and influential Senate committees. The panelists agreed that reaching a consensus definition for interoperability is key and that efforts to win funding and spectrum for first responders must be better organized. Another key to interoperability is the 24 MHz that was allocated to first responders from the digital television transition. The panelists also noted that public safety has bipartisan support, meaning there is a good chance that Congress will pass "comprehensive national interoperability legislation" in 2007. Steven Jones, executive director of the FRC, summarized the panel's conclusions thusly: "Public safety experts agree that adequate funding, sufficient spectrum, and a coordinated effort are needed to achieve interoperable emergency communications."

"Video Cameras Urged to Monitor the Police"
Los Angeles Times (12/09/06) P. B1; McGreevy, Patrick; Winton, Richard

Civil rights groups are requesting that the
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) place surveillance cameras in all police stations in order to protect suspects in custody from potential police abuse and to protect police from false allegations of abuse. Groups supporting the idea include the ACLU of Southern California, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and local community groups. The groups also urged police to speed up the process of installing surveillance cameras in police cruisers. The LAPD already has a four-year, phased plan for implementing surveillance cameras in all of the department's 1,200 patrol cars, at a cost of $25 million. The Police Protective League, which represents police officers, has not said what its position is on placing cameras inside stations, but the group does favor cameras in patrol cars to protect officers from false allegations.

"Mission Possible:
Forensics for Small to Mid-Size Departments"
Law Enforcement Technology (11/06) Vol. 33, No. 11, P. 96; Moore, Carole

Small- to mid-sized
police departments can improve their rate of case resolution by spending the resources to create forensic units and train crime scene processors. One of the simplest and cheapest ways of accomplishing this is by training officers to perform very basic forensics tasks, such as fingerprint and simple evidence collection. Constructing a crime scene collection kit can also be accomplished simply and inexpensively by purchasing basic equipment such as rulers, bags, tape, and digital cameras at local or discount stores. The number of officers to be trained in this manner depends upon the jurisdiction, the number of officers, and the crime rate. Candidates for training should be chosen according to their career interests and ability to meet the challenges of the job. Local departments can collaborate with larger nearby departments and agencies to create regional response teams that reduce the amount of expense and manpower required.

"Body Armor"
Police (11/06) Vol. 30, No. 11, P. 34; Griffith, David

Body armor is calibrated to meet specific threats, a feature that has been true since medieval days. Concealable ballistic vests are used to protect
police from handgun fire and can be worn underneath clothing. Tactical body armor can protect someone from more sustained fire such as rifle fire, and can include inserted ceramic plates. Yet if "tac" armor is worn every day, it will impede an officer's ability to move, be energetic, and do his job. Some new tactical armor designs are attempting to make donning and wearing this heavier armor easier, such as Wolverine DM from Armor Express. Gator Hawk's Tac 30 can be customized for specific purchaser needs. Other new tactical body armor models include Predator OTV by Diamondback Tactical, S Street Vest by Bodyguard, and Grizzly by Armorshield.

Military Writers adds first three, a website listing current, former and active United States Military personnel who have authored books, added its first three military writers: Richard Huffman, Chuck Chambers and Raymond Foster.

Richard Neal Huffman was born the son of a sharecropper. At the age of two his parents migrated to southwest Michigan. At 20, Richard was drafted into the United States Army where he served as a medic. He completed a tour of duty in the Panama Canal Zone where he was assigned as an ambulance driver for the 601st Medical Detachment of the United States Southern Command. In the regular Army, Richard was an E-4. After discharge, he joined the Michigan Army National Guard and later the Army Reserves. In the guard he was both a medic and tank crewmen. Richard joined the Bangor Police Department and throughout his career he would serve as a patrol officer, training officer, sergeant, detective and assistant chief of police. Richard’s first book, “Dreams in Blue: The Real Police,” is an autobiographical journey that takes the reader inside the world of the small town cop. He introduces the reader to people, situations, and a culture that is both interesting and unique. Richard’s second book, “Rubal,” is a fictional account of a Union soldier during the Civil War.

A former
police officer for the city of Palmetto (Florida), Chuck Chambers is the Chief investigator and owner of Chambers Investigations. In 1965, Chuck Chambers joined the United States Marine Corps and held a position in the Anti Tank Battalion. In his book, The Private Investigator Handbook: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Protect Yourself, Get Justice, or Get Even, he shares his insider expertise, with true case histories from his files, tricks of the trade, and step-by-step advice to help readers be able to: Catch a cheating spouse; Uncover hidden assets, monetary malfeasance, and fraud; Tail and track a mark; Use the Internet to get information on anything and anyone; Protect one's privacy; Prepare an intelligence file on anyone-on and off line; and, Find and preserve legal evidence.

Raymond E. Foster retired at the rank of lieutenant from the Los Angeles Police Department after 24 years of service. He served in the United States Coast Guard as a radioman from 1976 to 1982. He has a BA in criminal justice, masters in public administration and is currently working on his PhD. Raymond’s first book, Police Technology, has been adopted by over 100 colleges and universities. His second book, Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style, is schedule to be published next year. His current writing projects include an introduction to policing text book and a book on marketing.

In addition to hosting current, former and retired
military personnel who have written books, is building and extensive web-based directory of military personnel who own businesses.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

First Writer to be listed as both Police and Military

December 10, 2006 (San Dimas, CA), a website dedicated to police officers turned authors added Chuck Chambers to the list of local police officers who have published a book. Additionally, Chuck was the first writer to be added to a new website that lists all U.S. Military personnel who have ever written a book – Chuck’s status as a former Marine and police officer landed him on both lists.

A former
police officer for the city of Palmetto (Florida), Chuck Chambers is the Chief investigator and owner of Chambers Investigations. In his book, “The Private Investigator Handbook: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Protect Yourself, Get Justice, or Get Even,” he shares his insider expertise, with true case histories from his files, tricks of the trade, and step-by-step advice to help readers be able to: catch a cheating spouse; uncover hidden assets, monetary malfeasance, and fraud; tail and track a mark; use the Internet to get information on anything and anyone; protect one's privacy; prepare an intelligence file on anyone-on and off line; and, find and preserve legal evidence.

NYPD alum also joined the list on Police-Writers. James Wagner retired from the New York Police Department in 1990 with the rank of Sergeant. He worked as a private detective for ten years. He has published two books, “My Life in the NYPD: Jimmy the Wags” and “Jimmy the Wags: Street Stories of a Private Eye.” Of Wagner’s first book, Linda Ligunvic, of New York City, Wrote, “James Wagner, nicknamed "Jimmy the Wags" is a retired New York City street cop who, with the help of writer Patrick Picciarelli, also a retired cop, describes his police experiences in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 60s, 70s and 80s. It's an authentic voice that rings with the cadence of the city and the job he worked day after day, dealing with the dregs of society and everyday crime, as well as some of the major social issues of the time.”

His second book was reviewed by James Madison, who said, “A tough former New York City cop turned private eye now turns himself into an author in this gritty (but often humorous) account of the armed and dangerous life. James Wagner ("Wags" to just about everybody, it appears) spent 22 years at the
NYPD, but apparently felt like he hadn't had enough adventure in his life. After putting out word that "Wags is for hire," he gets his first job shepherding some jet-setting Arab princes around New York for a few days, and finds himself hooked as the money and perks start to roll in. The rest of the book details Wags's rise and fall as a big-time "security consultant," from voyaging to Denmark to return a kidnapped child to his father to his entanglement with the Mob at a fancy strip club. Not all of Wags's adventures are a matter of life or death: in one memorable passage, he plays bodyguard-valet to an eccentric woman ("heir to a computer software fortune") who travels everywhere with her pet parrot perched on her shoulder and has a penchant for disengaging her prosthetic hand at inopportune moments during meals.”

In another first, added the first Australian
police author, Catherine Prattico, to the growing list of international police authors. “Into the Blue” is based on Catherine Prattico’s own early experiences in the Victorian Police Force. Catherine joined in 1997 at the age of twenty, she has worked at Brunswick and Moorabbin Police Stations and fulfilled temporary duties with the Behavioral Analysis Unit and Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Unit. She is currently a Leading Senior Constable at Moorabbin Police Station, working closely with recently graduated police officers. "Into The Blue" is her first novel.

According to the book description, "Natalie Winters is eighteen years old when she quits university and secretly applies to join the police force. She surprises everyone, including herself, when she's accepted into recruit training. Graduating from the police academy five months later, Natalie struggles to cope with the realities of life out on the beat and the inevitable change of lifestyle. An attraction to a co-worker creates more problems for Natalie, and after the events of a bad week add to her concerns, she questions her future in the police force.”

While hosts 221 police officers (representing over 70 police departments) and their 593 books in six categories,, a recently launched website only lists two U.S. Military personnel: one from the United States Marine Corps, and the other from the United States Coast Guard.

Friday, December 08, 2006

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, December 7, 2006

"Cops Add Web Tools as a Way to Connect"
Sacramento Bee (CA) (12/03/06) P. B1; Lillis, Ryan

The Sacramento
Police Department has developed a blog that is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The blog expands how the department uses the Internet, for example by responding to queries from citizens, launching podcasts to attract new hires, and making online crime reports more accessible. The blog was initially released in August, and now boasts almost 100 user accounts. Users can post questions through a feature called "Ask Officer Michelle," which is handled by Officer Michelle Lazark. One person, for example, recently posted a question about how to handle a witnessed crime. SPD Police Chief Albert Najera is now mulling the creation of an internal blog to help him communicate with the police force's 1,200 employees. "Anything you can do to make a police officer seem less threatening and more like a real person is very positive," Wayne Barte with the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization. "And it gives people a vehicle for finding out information that they flat out don't know."

"Eye on Crime"
Indianapolis Star (12/01/06) P. 1; Ryckaert, Vic

The city of Indianapolis will use 27 monitoring cameras at high crime areas to discourage drug dealing and other criminal activities. The first camera was scheduled to begin operating late last week, while the rest of the cameras will go into service during the next three months. Fourteen or more cameras will be placed in the city's metropolitan areas and close to important infrastructure. Placement of the cameras, which is largely being paid for through a $1 million federal grant, was determined by crime figures. Installation of individual cameras will require an investment of roughly $14,000.
Police agencies in a number of cities, such as Boston and Dallas, have used cameras to monitor areas and deter crime. Cameras installed in some areas of Chicago have contributed to a 30 percent drop in criminal activity.

"New Radio System Links Macomb Law Enforcers"
Detroit News (12/01/06) P. 4B; Ramirez, Charles E.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Office recently launched a public safety radio network that connects local police and fire departments to other
law enforcement and emergency agencies in the state. The new system replaces communication technology that the Sheriff's Office relied on for roughly three decades. Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel projects that the system will be used by nearly all police, fire, and emergency agencies in the country within the next 24 months. The new system allows dispatchers to respond more quickly to more than one call.

"Cops' Use of Cell Phones Scrutinized"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (12/01/06) P. A1; Ratcliffe, Heather

The St. Louis
police department in June 2006 issued a rule preventing police officers from using earpiece cell phones on patrol. Some special units and police commanders still will have official cell phones, but officers are expected to communicate via police radio, says St. Louis Sgt. Sam Dotson. Alton Police Chief Chris Sullivan does not believe cell phones are a problem for his police force, and likens cell phone abuse to any other device overuse to be handled through normal channels. The St. Louis County Police currently are re-examining their cell phone policy in light of the city's move. Some police instructors argue that cell phones distract officers from their surroundings. Others contend cell phones can help an officer communicate during an emergency, or when police lines are busy, broken, or jammed.

"Little Proof That Cameras Are Effective"
Chicago Tribune (12/03/06) P. C2; Schachter, Jonathan M.

Chicago has been placing more surveillance cameras in high-crime and "sensitive" locations, typically with significant support from the public and amid much publicity. But Jonathan Schachter, a lecturer in public policy and administration at Northwestern University, says municipal data indicates that the city's overall crime rate has remained even. This implies that crime may have moved to areas without cameras. But city officials such as Monique Bond with the
police department say cameras have helped slash crime at the sites where cameras have been installed. In Baltimore, however, video cameras have not helped solve any violent crimes there, says the state's attorney's office. Moreover, 40 percent of the more than 500 camera-based cases involving non-violent crimes submitted to prosecutors have been shelved. Schachter asserts that more investments should be made in appointing more police officers rather than in camera systems. He also believes it is important to invest in specialized crime-fighting units and make citizens more involved in crime prevention.

"Computertask Force Is a High Priority"
Evansville Courier & Press (IN) (12/04/06); Nesbitt, Jimmy

Vanderburgh County is all set to have a new task force that will investigate
computer crimes such as child pornography, credit card fraud, and identity theft. Investigators will focus on crimes committed against children. The task force will consist of the Sheriff's Department, the prosecutor's office, and the Evansville Police Department. The joint effort will be established as soon as Eric Williams takes over as sheriff of Vanderburgh County. The proposal is not official yet, but Williams says he would like to start by the middle of next year. The number of computer crimes have gone up in the last five years, according to the Sheriff's Department. Detective Matt Hill at the Sheriff's Department says it can take up to six months to investigate a crime. The Evansville Police Department has three computer crimes investigators, but Hill says the task force needs at least five. Williams says state and federal authorities may possibly take part in the task force. "When you start talking about Internet-related crimes and computer-related crimes, jurisdictional boundaries become very, very faint at best," says Williams.

Police Get Communications Vehicle"
Lebanon Daily News (PA) (11/29/06); Sholly, Chris

The Hershey
Police Department has acquired a mobile-communications vehicle that can be used for conducting security operations. The vehicle, which will also be available for use by other local law enforcement agencies, is equipped with cell phones, Direct TV, a mapping system, and Internet-enabled SmartBoard Screen. The department used multiple grants to pay the $400,000 cost of purchasing the vehicle. The unit's technology enables it to serve during emergency operations, such as when major storms strike the area.


Police Cars Getting Digital Cameras"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (11/30/06); Bleed, Jake

The Little Rock
Police Department is getting a new fleet of police cruisers featuring new technologies. The vehicles will be equipped with digital cameras as well as computer equipment that stores digital files rather than VHS footage. The equipment will replace the department's existing system that comprises up to 1,000 videocassettes at any given time. The new digital cameras will have superior recording and sound capabilities and will also be easier to manage. Furthermore, they will eliminate the need to purchase, handle, and store videocassettes. Footage from the new cameras will be instantly transmitted via a wireless link from cruisers' computers to a server in the police garage. Officers will also be able to transfer footage via email. The upgrades are part of a two-year improvement effort of the department that is being funded by $1.2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Palm Reading Joins Ranks of the Crime-Fighting Tools"
Chicago Tribune (11/30/06) P. 6; Yang, Tony C.

Chicago Police Department has deployed electronic palm readers to process arrests by recording the entire palm. The Live Scan fingerprint scanners are high-tech gadgets that work like copy machines and allow state and federal authorities to share information, says Marikay Hegarty at the Chicago Police Department. The Illinois Criminal Justice Authority provided an $829,000 grant for the department to purchase 37 Motorola palm reading units. The new tools are faster than the old method of ink fingerprinting. Law enforcement officials can quickly find out if someone has a criminal record. The palm readers will replace the department's old fingerprinting system within the next two weeks.

"Mayor Backs Prompt Study of Taser Use"
Houston Chronicle (11/30/06) P. B1; Stiles, Matt; Glenn, Mike

Houston, Texas, Mayor Bill White has told the Houston City Council he wants an immediate, independent statistical study on how Tasers are being used on suspects of various ethnicities, and on whether Tasers are reducing injuries to
police officers and reducing fatalities to suspects. Houston's police have been using Tasers for two years now, and the mayor's request comes after an incident in which police officers used Tasers to subdue Houston Texan football player Fred Weary. According to Houston Police Department statistics for 2005, Tasers were used 64 percent of the time on African-Americans and 23 percent of the time on Hispanics, though African-Americans represent 23 percent of Houston's population, and Hispanics 43 percent. The Houston police department says Tasers have been well studied in the department, have reduced injuries, and have saved lives. In terms of Fred Weary, Weary denies he was combative, and a judge already has dismissed resisting arrest charges against him. Houston City Controller Annise Parker is beginning a separate review on Taser use in Houston.

"Fingerprint Machine Only New for U. Kentucky-Area Police"
University Wire (11/30/06)

The Lexington, Ky.,
police department received its first electronic fingerprinting device called Livescan in October 2006 and expects a second one for its forensics department before the year is over. Lexington police Sgt. James Decker expects training will be completed and the machines ready for use by January 2007. Livescan costs $24,000 for one machine and all accessories. The Lexington county jail has used a Livescan machine for the last 10 years. Electronic fingerprinting means not only faster processing of suspects and inmates, but the machine also automatically sends fingerprints to the FBI and other government agencies.

"Safety Vision, L.P. Expands PatrolRecorder Line of In-car Video"
Business Wire (11/22/06)

Safety Vision, a global provider of mobile digital video solutions, is expanding the PatrolRecorder line by introducing the PatrolRecorder CF and the PatrolRecorder RHD. Both mobile recorders provide
law enforcement personnel with high quality mobile video recording in a digital format. The PatrolRecoder CF is a solid state mobile digital recorder with no moving parts and can store up to 13 hours of data. The PatrolRecorder RHD is able to store several shifts' worth of data with its removable 2.5" mobile-rated hard drive. Both units power up in less than four seconds and provide pre-event recording time of up to 60 seconds. A standard feature includes integrated GPS positioning, which tracks vital information such as location and speed for each recorded event. Data is retrievable by removing the compact flash card or hard drive, or using wireless technology. To assist police departments in managing and archiving collected data, a software application that integrates with database technology was developed for these units. Video files and corresponding metadata are stored in a database allowing efficient information retrieval as needed.

"Bridging the Gap Between First Responder and Citizen Caller"
Law Enforcement Technology (11/06) Vol. 33, No. 11, P. 76; Lorello, Tim

On a daily basis, first responders such as
police officers and emergency medical personnel respond to incidents where they need to receive information as quickly as possible in order to make a difference. Over the past several decades, the flow of crucial data to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) has been streamlined to the point of near-perfection. However, the process of transmitting this data from the PSAP to first responders in the field has not gone as smoothly. New types of communications methods are evolving that could eventually make the exchange of this data automatic. One potential solution is the Next Generation 9-1-1 public safety infrastructure, which uses Internet Protocol interfaces that can support both data and voice. The FCC is examining the possibility of using text messaging and other types of data to accomplish the same goal, and the public safety industry has defined interfaces that support a range of data and voice services.

"Cities Find New Uses For Crime Fighting Tool"
American City & County (11/06) Vol. 121, No. 12, P. 20; Brock, Ed

Cities of all sizes have begun correlating daily crime report data using Computerized Statistics (CompStat) programs in order to ensure criminal hotspots receive adequate attention from law enforcement officers. According to detective Jeff Godown, CompStat director for the
Los Angeles Police Department, about 60 percent of U.S. cities utilize some variation of the program, which gives precinct commanders the power to direct law enforcement strategy and make the best of their often limited resources. "It allows you to put the cops where the crimes are occurring," said Godown. "There's a litany of different entities that we're starting to CompStat." The programs are also being implemented by local governments for other public services and can be used to file reports, track worker performance, gather 311 data, and generally improve efficiency and service. California's Long Beach Police Department has seen crime continually decrease in the three years it has used CompStat, and local officials are now considering using such a system in a citywide performance management initiative currently in the works. The programs can save money by reducing overtime and absenteeism in major cities such as Baltimore, which expects to save $350 million in the first five years of its Citistat public works program after an initial investment of just $20,000.

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