Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Recovery Act: Research and Evaluation of Recovery Act State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance

The Recovery Act provides funding for various competitive grant programs administered by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice. Subject to the availability of funds, OJP's National Institute of Justice, seeks applications that promote the goals of the Recovery Act through research and evaluation that supports the purposes of three Recovery Act Competitive Grant Announcements issued by the OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance:

Recovery Act: Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program.
Recovery Act: Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement to Combat Crime and Drugs.
Recovery Act: Combating Criminal Narcotics Activity Stemming from the Southern Border of the United States.

Targeted areas include: increasing the capacity of State and local criminal justice systems; learning more about the impact of preserving and creating positions in the criminal justice workforce; developing data-driven strategies that provide information to law enforcement to help prevent and combat rural crime; and improving efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement in combating criminal narcotics activity along or stemming from the Southern border.

For more information on this grant go to www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/sl000876.pdf.

For more information on other Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice funding opportunities go to www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/funding/current.htm.

Friday, March 20, 2009

High-Priority Criminal Justice Technology Needs Publication Available

The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice has just released the publication "High-Priority Criminal Justice Technology Needs." This newly released publication is a description of the research, development, evaluation, and testing process that NIJ goes through to ensure their research portfolios are aligned with the needs of the criminal justice community. The publication also summarizes the high-priority needs for the criminal justice field in the area of technology. These needs are organized into five functional areas:

Protecting the Public.
Ensuring Officer Safety.
Confirming the Guilty and Protecting the Innocent.
Improving the Efficiency of Justice.
Enabling Informed Decision-Making.
To view this new publication go to www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/225375.pdf

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2009 Rosemary Award for Worst FOIA Performance Goes to FBI

National Security Archive Cites FBI for Record-Setting "No Records" Responses

FBI Can't Find Records 66% of the Time (Rest of Government Averages 13%)

For more information contact the National Security Archive staff:
Thomas Blanton, Kristin Adair


Washington, DC, March 13, 2009 - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today won the fifth annual Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency. The FBI's reports to Congress show that the Bureau is unable to find any records in response to two-thirds of its incoming FOIA requests on average over the past four years, when the other major government agencies averaged only a 13% "no records" response to public requests.

Given annually during Sunshine Week by the Emmy- and George Polk Award-winning National Security Archive at George Washington University, the Rosemary Award recognizes outstandingly bad responsiveness to the public that flouts the letter and spirit of the Freedom of Information Act. The Award is named after President Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods and the backwards-leaning stretch with which she erased an eighteen-and-a-half minute section of a key Watergate conversation on the White House tapes.

"The FBI knowingly uses a search process that doesn't find relevant records," commented Tom Blanton, the director of the Archive. "Not only does this woeful performance lead to unnecessary litigation, but the Bureau apparently uses the same searches in its criminal investigations as well."

During fiscal year 2008, the FBI gave "no records" responses to 57% of the requests it processed, more than any other major agency. The Bureau only provided documents (most redacted) in less than 14% of cases -- the lowest percentage of requests granted among the major agencies in the federal government. In 2007, the FBI responded with "no records" in 70% of its FOIA requests. In 2006, "no records" peaked at 74%; and in 2005, at 66% -- the four-year average.

"Modern information processing uses search algorithms and full-text retrieval to find and rank search results," said Blanton. "The FBI's process in contrast is designed to send FOIA requesters away frustrated, and no doubt has the same effect on the FBI's own agents."

The Archive has tracked FBI and other federal agency FOIA performance for the last eight years through a series of government-wide audits supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Open Government Surveys produced a series of recommendations that Congress adopted in the OPEN Government Act of 2007, which requires more accurate reporting by agencies and more responsive FOIA processing.

Visit the Web site of the National Security Archive for more information.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bombs, Bullets and Fast Talk

On March 27, 2009, Conversations with Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a
discussion Special
James Botting, FBI (ret.) the author of Bullets, Bombs, and Fast
Talk: Twenty-Five Years of
FBI War Stories.

Program Date: March 27, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Bullets, Bombs, and Fast Talk: Twenty-Five Years of
FBI War Stories.
Listen Live:

About the Guest
Special Agent
James Botting (ret.) served in the FBI for twenty-five years, sixteen as a crisis/hostage negotiator. He served as the team leader of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) from 1981 to 1995 and a supervisory member of its international Critical Incident Negotiation Team since its inception in 1985 until his retirement. He has personally negotiated numerous hostage/barricade incidents and responded to several high-profile events. He lives in California. James Botting is the author of Bullets, Bombs, and Fast Talk: Twenty-Five Years of FBI War Stories.

According to the book description of Bullets, Bombs, and Fast Talk: Twenty-Five Years of
FBI War Stories, “A desperate gunman holds a planeload of innocent passengers hostage. A heavily armed cult leader refuses to leave his compound, threatening mass suicide by a hundred of his brainwashed followers. A neo-Nazi militant in a cabin hideout keeps federal agents at bay with gunfire. A baby disappears; his only trace is an ominous ransom call to his parents. Prisoners riot, threatening the lives of prison officers and hundreds of other inmates. How do you react? What do you do? What do you say? Your words, your actions can save lives--or lose them.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is
police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the
Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Law Enforcement Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Public Safety Technology in the News

Study Finds Serious Injuries From Taser Use Rare
NonPareil Online, (02/15/2009), Chad Nation

This article outlines one department's experiences with the use of electro-muscular disruption weapons, more commonly referred to by the brand name "Taser," and explains why they have become an effective tool for law enforcement officers. In addition to profiling the training required by the Council Bluffs (Iowa) Police Department, it also addresses some of the concerns about the use of conducted electrical weapons and presents details on a study on their use published out of Wake Forest University in January 2009.

Authorities Unveil Statewide SC Gang Database
CharlotteObserver.com, (2/24/2009), Associated Press

On Feb. 24, 2009, officials from South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division released SCGangNET, a Web-based statewide gang database aimed at tracking gangs, their associates and the crimes they commit across South Carolina. The database also gives law enforcement a tool to more easily share information on gangs. SLED statistics indicate there are more than 100 gangs in South Carolina. At least 12 other states already use similar programs.

Cell Phones to Be Added to Reverse-911 System in Woodbridge
MyCentralJersey.com, (2/1/2009), Erica Harbatkin

Woodbridge Township has added cellular phone capability to its reverse-911 system, an innovation prompted by a resident's returning home to see a reverse-911 message left on his answering machine. In adding this capability, Woodbridge acknowledged that cell phones often are the fastest way to be certain of reaching individuals. The township makes about 10 reverse-911 calls per year, which run the gamut from information about new garbage pickup procedures to news of a small train derailment to an explanation that emergency vehicles filling the streets were there for an Office of Emergency Management drill. Some calls go the entire area while others target specific neighborhoods.

Honolulu May Use Car Clamps to Crack Down on Parking Scofflaws
HonoluluAdverstiser.com (03/02/2009), Michael Tsai

Drivers who rack up outstanding parking violations could find their vehicles clamped down at the curb if a proposal to use "smart boots" on O'ahu passes. Drivers who have three or more parking tickets overdue by 90 days or more would be subject to having their car immobilized by a metal "boot" locked to a wheel until they clear their obligations. The smart boot program, developed by New Jersey-based PayLock Inc., is in use in a dozen cities and municipalities elsewhere in the nation. The state of Hawaii collects the parking fines and the drivers also owe a fee to PayLock. After paying up, the driver would be given a pass code that would unlock the boot and then would also be responsible for returning the boot to avoid an additional charge. Vans equipped with advanced license plate recognition technology would identify vehicles with outstanding fines.

New Online Crime Mapping System: Police Department
EPA.net (February 2009)

The East Palo Alto (Calif.) Police Department has launched an free online crime mapping system that allows community members to receive automatic daily, weekly or monthly e-mail alerts related to crimes that have occurred near their homes, offices or schools. Community members can also view reported crime activity on an easy-to-use map for any location within neighborhood boundaries. Crime incident data is updated nightly.

U.Va. Engineering Students Designing New Body Armor
Richmond Times-Dispatch (02/17/2009), Carlos Santos

A team of four University of Virginia second-year engineering students is working on a new type of body armor that is lighter, more flexible and better able to withstand armor-piercing bullets than the 30-pound vest now used by the U.S. Army. For proprietary reasons, the team did not immediately plan to release specifics of how the armor works, but did state the invention is in part is a new configuration of ceramic plates. The U.Va.-designed vest may be able to withstand as many as 32 rounds of armor-piercing bullets per plate. The new armor also will deflect less when struck by steel-core bullets.

Urbandale Residents Can Map Crime Stats
DesMoines Register (02/17/2009), Tom Barton

Urbandale, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb, has begun providing a crime-mapping tool to community residents, using software from CrimeReports.com. Crime reports filed with the Urbandale Police Department are mapped through a Google Maps interface, and residents can search reports by incident date, incident type and block (not specific) address. The software enables residents to see whether there are clusters of crimes reported in a particular area or neighborhood and the distance of the crime from a plotted location. The data on the site is updated within 24 hours of an incident report. The general public can also see whether an arrest has been made but not the name of the person arrested.

Chicago Links Street Cameras to Its 911 Network
New York Times ((02/20/2009), Karen Ann Cullotta

Thanks to a $6-million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the city of Chicago has a new computer-aided dispatch system that ties 911 calls into the city's security cameras and allows dispatchers to immediately see the scene if a call comes in within 150 feet of one of the city's cameras. It has been in use in a trial run since December 2008. The system can also link to private security cameras and 20 companies have agreed to participate in the program.

Fall 2009 Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute

Application Deadline: August 1, 2009

For the eighth year, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is sponsoring a Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute. This technology institute will be held October 25-29, 2009 in Coronado (San Diego), California and is targeted/designed for the command staff/supervisory personnel 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.

As part of the program, participants are required to give a brief (no more than 15 minutes) PowerPoint presentation on a technology issue that their department has encountered or is in the process of implementing (i.e. implementation of a crime mapping program, new communications system, automated booking station, etc.). The presentation can be either an "issues to be dealt with" or a "lessons learned" format, depending on whether the program has been completed, and must be submitted on CD-ROM with the application.

There is no registration cost and all travel, food, and lodging expenses are paid. However, only 35 individuals will be selected to attend. Previous attendees of the NIJ Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute or the NIJ Technology Institute for Law Enforcement or Corrections are not eligible to re-attend.

For a copy of the application form got to: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/training/rural-institute.htm

The deadline for submitting an application is August 1, 2009 and applications not received by that date and/or applications submitted without a CD-ROM containing the PowerPoint presentation will not be considered. The application and PowerPoint CD-ROM should be mailed to the following address:

Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center
ATTN: Rural LE Tech Institute
101 Bulldog Lane
Hazard, KY 41701
Please contact Scott Barker, Deputy Director-Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center, at 866-787-2553 or by email at ruletc1@aol.com. For additional information about the NIJ Rural Law Enforcement Technology Institute.