Science and Technology News

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Cincinnati Police Deploy First Officer Body Cameras
WLWT5, (08/10/2016)

Cincinnati has begun rollout of body-worn cameras for police officers. Officials expect to distribute 700 cameras by the end of the year. City officials have said officers don't have to tell citizens that they're being recorded. Officers will be required to activate the cameras in various emergency situations.
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Eaton County Sheriff Deputies Now Using Mobile Fingerprint Scanners
WILX10, (08/10/2016)

A Michigan sheriff's office is using mobile fingerprint scanners to accelerate identification of wanted persons. The Eaton County Sheriff's Office is among the first law enforcement agencies in mid-Michigan to implement the scanners, which are linked to the police in-car computers that transmit a scanned fingerprint to the Michigan Automated Fingerprint Identification System and to the FBI National Fingerprint database. In minutes, deputies can know if there is a record on file that positively identifies the person.
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Mo. Ambulance Agency to Purchase Body Armor, (08/11/2016)

The Marion County Ambulance District in Missouri will outfit its paramedics and EMTs with body armor. The agency won't require its employees to wear the vests, but will give them the option to do so. The total cost for the gear is estimated at $18,000.
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Corrections News

Prisons Chief Orders Sweeping Accuracy Check of Inmate Sentences
The Seattle Times, (08/10/2016), Joseph O'Sullivan

The Washington state Department of Corrections has directed staff to verify sentencing information before anyone is released from prison or community supervision to ensure offenders serve the correct amount of time. Staff are checking whether forms used by the courts are clear on whether sentences are consecutive or concurrent, according to a DOC spokesman. The review follows revelations of sentence-calculation problems. For example, in December it was announced that between 2002 and 2015, some offenders convicted of violent crimes had been mistakenly released early, an error that may have freed as many as 3,100 prisoners overall.
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California Inmates Help Train Puppies to Become Service Dogs
ABC News, (08/11/2016), Avianne Tan

Inmates at two California prisons are helping train puppies to become service dogs for wounded veterans and people with autism. The Prisoners Overcoming Obstacles and Creating Hope (POOCH) program is in place at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego and the Mule Creek State Prison in the city of Ione.
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Lawsuit Prompts California to Reduce Some Cellphone Prison Penalties
The Sacramento Bee, (08/12/2016), Jim Miller

A lawsuit filed by an inmate has prompted the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to change its interpretation of a 2011 law and take steps to roll back the penalty for inmates caught with cellphone accessories such as chargers. Under the planned change, inmates found with cellphone accessories will face the loss of up to 30 days of good time credit, one-third of the current maximum penalty. Officials concluded that lawmakers were unclear about who the maximum penalty in the law applied to: inmates with cellphones or those with any cellphone-related items. An inmate sued the department over the penalty.
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Judge Rejects ACLU Challenge to Sex Offender GPS Monitoring
WMDT47abc, (08/12/2016)

A Delaware judge has rejected a challenge to a state law requiring GPS monitoring of certain convicted sex offenders who have been released from custody and are on probation. The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three high-risk sex offenders, who complained that wearing GPS monitors was embarrassing, sometimes painful and an invasion of privacy.
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Adult Probation & Parole Making Changes to Enhance Parolee Monitoring, Keep Public Safe
KSL TV, (08/10/2016), Nicole Vowell

The Utah Department of Corrections is taking steps to keep better track of offenders. The Adult Probation and Parole Division has expanded its partnership with the Utah Division of the U.S. Marshals Service's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team to apprehend more than 50 high-priority fugitives. Other improvements include the implementation of a statewide broadcast system to law enforcement agencies to notify them of high-profile fugitives, and the authorization of enhanced GPS monitoring in all community correctional centers.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Obama Signs Active Shooter Training Expansion Bill, (07/27/2016), Chris Eger

The Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion (POLICE) Act, signed by President Obama without comment on July 22, amends the Safe Streets Act of 1968 to allow the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to use federal funds for active shooter training programs. Such programs are typically funded using local resources.
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NCSU Faculty Teaches Law Enforcement to Find Where Bodies Are Buried
The News Observer, (08/04/2016), Stephen Ginley

Members of various local law enforcement agencies brushed up on forensic field investigation techniques such as how to catalog evidence at a clandestine burial site at a recent workshop at North Carolina State University, sponsored by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, a contract program of the National Institute of Justice. Participants, some of whom came from as far away as Hawaii, learned how to process a site where the victim was buried far afield in an attempt to keep the body from being found.        
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Man Shoots Glendale Security Guard, Vest Saves Him
12News, (08/05/2016)

In Glendale, Ariz., a man approached a private security guard Friday morning at the San Remo Apartments and after an argument, pulled out a handgun and shot him. The suspect fled; the security guard was saved by his ballistic-resistant vest. Link to Article

Simulator Mim
ics Stressful Calls Police May Get
Cape May Herald, (08/09/2016), Vince Conti

The police department in Cape May, N.J., is addressing the stressful situations faced by today's law enforcement officers by implementing the latest in virtual reality technology. The equipment, consisting of a freeware advanced audio coder (FAAC) and the Milo firearms simulator, allow trainers at the agency's training academy to take an officer from the moment of receiving a call in a patrol car through the completion of an incident involving use-of-force decisions.
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Police Use App to Locate Stolen Phones Before Arresting Suspects 4, (08/09/2016), Evan Anstey

Police in Buffalo, N.Y., recently used the "Find iPhone" app to help apprehend three persons suspected of an armed robbery that included theft of two cellphones. The three were charged with numerous offenses, including armed robbery.
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Corrections News

Data Analytics Helps Bexar County, Texas, Reduce Inmate Population, Save Millions
Government Technology, (08/03/2016), Jessica Renee Napier

In the past seven years, the jail in Bexar County, Texas, has achieved a 25-percent reduction in inmate population and eliminated an overcrowding problem thanks to the use of data analytics. Using Microsoft's SQL Server Reporting Services, staff can better manage cases and identify inmates who are candidates for drug court, those who are ready for transfer and those who could potentially be released. Reducing the jail's population also saves the county money.
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Data-Sharing Efforts Aim to Improve Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Government Technology, (08/04/2016), Leah Binkovitz for the Urban Edge

Charles Rotramel of Houston reVision, a nonprofit agency that works with at-risk youth, is leading an effort to get agencies at both the local and state government levels and from various nonprofits to share data and enable the development of a better picture of how many youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system are also involved in the child welfare system. Such data can prove vital in developing accurate case management pictures.
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An Inmate Streamed on Facebook Live from Rikers Island
The Verge, (08/03/2016), Joseph Lovinger

An inmate in New York City's Rikers Island Jail achieved 7,000 views on July 22 as he used Facebook Live and a contraband cell phone to show conditions from inside his cell. The inmate said he made the video to call attention to conditions in the jail.
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DOC Investigates After Inmate Allegedly Caught FaceTiming in Prison Cell, (08/03/2016), Crystal Price

An inmate in Oklahoma's Dick Conner Correctional Center lost his contraband cellphone after a local television station received a tip that he had used it to FaceTime and to post photos to Facebook. The phone joined some 8,000 contraband cellphones confiscated in the past year.
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Protecting GPS From Spoofers Is Critical to the Future of Navigation
IEEE Spectrum, (07/29/2016), Mark L. Psiaki and Todd E. Humphreys

GPS spoofing poses a dangerous but poorly understood threat to the trustworthiness of critical navigation systems. The need to develop ways to send out alerts about false GPS signals is crucial. This article examines the issue and ways to combat the problem.
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Licking County to Buy Body Scanner for Jail
Newark Advocate, (08/04/2016), Kent Mallett

County commissioners and the sheriff's office in Licking County, Ohio, recently agreed to share the purchase of a body scanner for the Licking County Justice Center at a purchase price of $108,000. The scanner potentially could be in operation by October. The device will be used to supplement, not replace, manual pat-downs of incoming prisoners.
Link to Article

'The Worst Way to Address Mental Illness'
The Crime Report, (08/09/2016), Christopher Moraff

The mental health reforms of the 1960s and 1970s, which included an end to involuntary commitment, have resulted in tens of thousands of mentally ill persons becoming incarcerated in the nation's prisons and jails. A recent panel discussion at the National Criminal Justice Association Conference in Philadelphia focused on innovative strategies for addressing the issue, which could be termed a public health crisis. An estimated 1.5 million people with severe psychiatric conditions are arrested each year, and more than 350,000 remain incarcerated at a given point in time.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Chattanooga Police Consider Creating Central-Intelligence Center
News Channel 9, (07/26/2016), Kelsey Bagwell

The Chattanooga Police Department plans to use the Watson Field Reporting suite to develop a central intelligence unit that would give field officers immediate access to information about ongoing cases and suspects. The information, including access to surveillance cameras, would be stored in this central database and monitored by officers in a newly created section of the department.
Link to Article

Police in Michigan Are Trying to 3D-Print a Murder Victim's Fingerprint to Unlock His Phone
Quartz, (07/26/2016), Marta Cooper

The Michigan State University Police Department is leveraging research conducted by a research lab at the university to try to unlock a homicide victim's Samsung Galaxy 6 mobile device. The lab has been experimenting with using 3-D printed fingerprints to spoof mobile phone sensors, and the police department hopes the technology may help them gain access to a lead that would solve the crime.
Link to Article

No More Ransom: Law Enforcement and IT Security Companies Join Forces to Fight Ransomware
BusinessWire, (07/25/2016)

The Dutch National Police, Europol, Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab have launched a joint initiative called No More Ransom (, an online portal that informs the public about the dangers of ransomware, offers information on recovering locked data without paying ransom to cybercriminals and explains steps individuals can take to protect themselves. The worldwide number of ransomware victims increased by more than 500 percent in the past year.
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Pekin, Ill., PD Offers Virtual Ride-Alongs via Facebook Livestream
Government Technology, (08/01/2016), Bill Lukitsch for the Peoria Journal Star

The Pekin (Ill.) Police Department offers monthly virtual ride-alongs via the Facebook Livestream application, offering residents a look at the daily duties of a police officer from the comforts of their own homes. The department uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis and has garnered more than 21,000 likes for its Facebook page. The public information officer calls social media one of the biggest assets the department has.
Link to Article

Police Shootings Drive Hunt for Better Armor
Washington Times, (08/01/2016), Andrea Noble

In the past five years, approximately one-fifth of all officers who were fatally shot on the job were killed with high-powered rifles. Because of this high incidence of rifle-related incidents, many police departments are looking to equip their departments with higher grade ballistic-resistant body armor and/or ballistic helmets.
Link to Article

Smithfield Police Capture Wanted Person With Help of 'Pokemon Go' Facebook Post
Daily Press, (08/02/2016), Josh Reyes

The Smithfield (Va.) Police Department posted a picture of Ditto, a Pokemon yet to be found on its Facebook page, and invited eight citizens to the police station for a chance of catching the Pokemon: the same eight individuals with outstanding warrants who were listed on the department's website. One of these individuals turned herself in after her sister saw the posting and encouraged her to give herself up.
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Women's Body Armor: Staying Ahead of the Curves
Taking Measure (NIST Blog), (08/01/2016), Jennifer Huergo

This blog post discusses ongoing research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology related to women's stab-resistant body armor; the research has been prompted by a growing national trend toward women's entering the corrections field and the realization that body armor designed for male corrections officers does not meet women's needs.
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Corrections News
Illinois Summer Camp Program Unites Jailed Moms With Their Children
CBS Chicago, (07/30/2016), Nancy Harty

This week, 47 children between the ages of 7 and 12 will participate in the "Mom and Me Summer Camp" held at women's prisons n Logan and Decatur, Ill. During the four-day camp, which helps mothers reconnect with their children, the youngsters spend time with their mothers during the day in special prison rooms, then go to a campground in Bloomington for the night.
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Fentanyl's Cachet Grows Thanks to Lack of Drug Testing for It
WCVB5, (07/28/2016), Karen Anderson

This 2:46 video looks at the prevalence of fentanyl on Massachusetts streets, and examines how it has become the drug of choice for some because many routine drug tests do not detect it.
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Crackdown on Prisoner Cell Phones Proves Difficult
Mississippi Today, (07/28/2016), Patsy R. Brumfield

In the past five years, officials at two Mississippi state prisons have intercepted more than 9 million texts and other attempted transmissions from contraband inmate cell phones. The state recovered more than 3,000 devices in 2015, but officials say that far from alleviated the problem, and the state has joined with others in a request to the Federal Communications Commission to permit jamming of cellular signals from inside correctional facilities.
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Could This Experimental Synthetic Opioid Break the Cycle of Addiction?
Miami Herald, (07/29/2016), Tony Pugh

Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, are developing a synthetic opioid that they say stops pain without causing physical dependence. Physical dependence and addiction related to opioids such as OxyContin is a growing problem in the United States; researchers caution the new drug is still years away from commercial production.
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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Wants Sex Offenders Off Pokemon Go
CNN Money, (08/01/2016), Sara Ashley O'Brien

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to forbid sex offenders on parole from playing Pokemon Go and other Internet games; at the same time, he asked the creator of the wildly popular game to help keep sex offenders from playing. The game allows players to purchase a "lure" to encourage people to visit a certain location for a mere 99 cents, which means registered sex offenders could place one near their homes.
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