Science and Technology News

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Sheriff Announces Citizen Police Academy/Law Enforcement Mini Academy
Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, (03/13/2018)
The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office in New Jersey is holding a Citizen Police Academy/ Law Enforcement Mini Academy, which offers county residents ages 14 and above an opportunity to learn about the complex roles of modern-day law enforcement agencies. Speakers from municipal, county, state and federal agencies provide insight into their roles in law enforcement, and the role of citizens in assisting agencies in deterring crime. Enrollment in the course involves a six-week commitment to attend weekly classes. Sample topics include Internet Dangers and Safety Measures, Distracted Driving and the Importance of Fitness in Public Safety.
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Pittsburgh Council Backs Expanding Gunshot Detection System
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (03/14/2019), Adam Smeltz
The Pittsburgh City Council has endorsed expanding the city's gunshot-detection system to reach all six police zones. Pittsburgh began a pilot with the technology in January 2015 in one zone, and the system has pointed to more than 2,200 gunfire incidents, according to the Department of Public Safety. Police have made 48 arrests and responders have located 83 shooting victims. Under the planned expansion, the detection technology coverage would include about 18 square miles citywide, targeting areas that account for the majority of gun-related incidents.
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Delaware Pilot Program Will Replace Driver's License With a Smartphone App
BGR, (03/14/2018), Chris Mills
The Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles has launched a pilot program to test use of electronic driver's licenses. The program will include about 200 DMV employees and stakeholders using the technology for the next six months. According to DMV, features of the mobile driver's license will allow, for example, enhanced privacy for age verification, ease of use and secure access.
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Long-Awaited 911 CAD System Goes Live
The Greenville Sun, (03/15/2018), Ken Little
A new 911 computer-aided dispatch system has been activated in Greenville, Tenn. Emergency call login information such as times and addresses will now automatically be shared with the Greeneville Police Department. Dispatchers from 911 are learning how to input new types of information such as how to run driver's license and vehicle tag inquiries. The information will then be relayed to police officers, eliminating an extra step involving a police dispatcher's communicating with 911.
Link to Article

Analysis of Arkansas School Security Kicks Off
Arkansas Online, (03/19/2018), Cynthia Howell
The new Arkansas School Safety Commission formed to make recommendations on school safety held its first meeting in March. The panel is to identify gaps in school safety and how to make schools safer. It is to submit its preliminary report by July 1 and a final report by Nov. 1. The panel includes educators, members of law enforcement and mental health professionals.
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Medford Police Report Increase in Use of Overdose Reversal Medication
News10, (03/18/2018), Genevieve Grippo
The police department in Medford, Ore., has seen an uptick in the need to administer naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses. The police department began administering naloxone in 2015, and since then, has deployed it 39 times, saving 37 lives. By this time in 2017, police officers had administered naloxone three times. So far this year, the drug has been used eight times by the department.
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State Police Roll Out System for Real-Time Sharing of OD Data
The Tribune-Democrat, (03/20/2018) John Finnerty
The Pennsylvania State Police have launched an online tool for local police and troopers to submit information about drug overdoses. The Pennsylvania Overdose Information Network is a centralized repository to track overdoses, naloxone administrations and investigative drug information that may be used by police, public safety and health care professionals to better track and share information related to opioid abuse. The tool will help police coordinate efforts to combat drug trafficking and help identify hot spots of dangerous drug activity.
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Area Police Participating in Aggressive Driving Initiative
The Tribune-Democrat, (03/20/2018), Ronald Fisher
Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies are participating in the Aggressive Driving Enforcement Initiative, a partnership comprised of municipal police departments, Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT, Highway Safety Network and Buckle Up PA. State police and 235 municipal agencies will conduct a targeted aggressive driving enforcement wave from now through April 29. The effort is an attempt to reduce vehicle accidents with a focus on speeding, work zones safety violations and lane changes.
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Corrections News

Nebraska Prison Unit for Veterans Helps Men Rediscover Honor and Respect
Lincoln Journal Star, (03/18/2018), JoAnne Young
This article describes a 40-bed unit in the Nebraska State Penitentiary that is solely for military veterans, and how it is helping them.
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Drones Used to Deliver Drugs, Cellphones and Other Contraband to Delano Prison, Documents Say
The Bakersfield Californian, (03/19/2018), Jason Kotowski
Authorities have documented incidents where drones carrying contraband have flown inside the perimeter of Delano's Kern Valley State Prison, according to court documents. Prison staff found a crashed drone in September and cellphones in a bag attached to the drone. In February, a prison staffer heard a noise that sounded like a drone and the sound of something hitting the dirt. Staff found bags containing cellphones, drugs and hacksaw blades.
Link to Article

Missouri Prisoners to Receive Smart Tablets
News-Press Now, (03/17/2018), Alex Flippin
Missouri plans to provide smart tablets to prison inmates. About 33,000 tablets will be donated to the Missouri Department of Corrections and distributed to every inmate in the state. Inmates will have access to email that will be monitored. They will not have access to the internet. The tablets will be loaded with rehabilitative lessons and programs.
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Alarming Spike in Panhandle Prison Deaths Reaches 'Point of Crisis'
Pensacola News Journal, (03/17/2018), Emma Kennedy
This article discusses inmate deaths and possible contributing factors in some Florida prisons. The three major prisons in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties - Century Correctional Institution, Santa Rosa Correctional Institution and Blackwater River Correctional Institution - investigated a total of six inmate deaths in 2016. That number rose to 23 in 2017, and so far in 2018, there have been seven deaths at those three facilities.
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Introducing Inmates to Real Life via Virtual Reality
U.S. News & World Report, (03/15/2018), Catherine Kim
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is using virtual reality to try to prepare some inmates for release from prison. The program is for people convicted as juveniles and serving life sentences. The department implemented programs such as classes, training and virtual reality, which has been used to give inmates a glimpse of where they will live after release, such as a halfway house.
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8 Surprising Reasons People Have Gotten Arrested on Purpose
SFGate, (03/19/2018), Mark Abadi for Business Insider
This article discusses reasons why some people purposely get arrested in order to go to jail, such as to obtain access to healthcare, smuggle in drugs to sell to inmates and to quit smoking.
Link to Article

Screening Wastewater Could Help Cities Track Opioid Use
Government Technology, (03/16/2018), J.B. Wogan
A startup company has devised a tool to measure the concentration of opioids in sewage to estimate levels of drug use in different neighborhoods. Biobot Analytics was the winning startup in a pitch competition judged by mayors at the South by Southwest conference in Austin. Company officials say cities can collect wastewater samples and analyze the data every two weeks, and so pinpoint where residents are abusing drugs and whether consumption declines after policy interventions.
Link to Article

FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Online Vehicle Sale Frauds

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against frauds involving the online sale of vehicles and equipment.

This fraud can involve the sale of anything from cars and trucks to RV’s, boats, and outdoor gear. Since 2014, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has recorded about 27,000 reports of this kind of scam costing victims more than $54 million in losses.

Here’s how it works. You are online—perhaps searching for a new car. You come across an ad for something you really like, and the price listed is really good. You e-mail or text back and forth with the supposed seller—getting photos and information about the purchase. You question why the price is so much below market value, and the scam artist has an easy answer. Perhaps he received it in a divorce settlement or inherited it from a deceased relative. In some cases, he may say that he is moving soon or is in the military and is getting deployed quickly.

The fraudster may also appear legitimate by claiming a relationship with a reputable company, such as eBay, or a third party, which provides a “buyer protection program.” He will send you an e-mail—purportedly from this third party who is managing the transaction. This is all designed to make you feel good about this deal, when in reality this cyber thief is setting you up. The e-mail tells you to call a toll free number, and the call taker will walk you through how you will transfer the money. In many cases, the call taker tells you to purchase prepaid gift cards, provide those card codes to the middle man, and then simply wait for delivery of your item.

Of course, the car, RV, or boat never shows up—and the alleged seller is long gone, not answering phone calls, e-mails, or texts.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  •     If the price is well below market value—take that as a warning.
  •     Research the item and the seller thoroughly, including the seller’s name, e-mail address, and phone numbers.    Research any third party businesses that the seller recommends and confirm that that business is legit. Remember that the fraudster will attempt to make himself and these third parties look real by spoofing names, websites, and e-mail addresses.
  •     Always verify eBay and PayPal purchases directly through the Web sites, as many scammers send fake e-mail invoices to falsify payment or shipment of items.
  •     Avoid sellers who refuse to meet in person or who will not allow you to physically inspect the car or item ahead of time.
  •     Ask for the vehicle’s VIN and license plate number as well as the name of the person who is the current registered owner. Research that information through your state licensing agency or online databases if possible.

Bottom line: Always remember that if the deal appears too good to be true, it probably is.

If you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to also report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at or call your local FBI office.

Anoka-Hennepin 8th Graders Win National FBI Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge

Eighth-grade students from four Anoka-Hennepin School District middle schools won the National FBI Safe Online Surfing (FBI-SOS) award for schools with more than 100 participants. The eighth graders in Steven Burrill’s computer explorations classes at Jackson, Northdale, Oak View, and Roosevelt Middle Schools scored a composite score of 92.75 percent to win the December 2017 award.

Open to all public, private, and home schools nationwide, the FBI-SOS initiative is a free, age-appropriate, competitive, and fun online program that promotes cyber citizenship and teaches students in third through eighth grades how to recognize and respond to online dangers—like Internet predators and cyberbullying—and covers topics such as social networking and gaming safety. Every month during the school year, the FBI recognizes the top-scoring schools in each of its three size categories, based on the number of students participating from each school.

For the month of December 2017, a total of 291,657 students in 12,201 classes at 4,768 schools in 51 states and U.S. territories participated in the FBI-SOS Program. In December, when the 267 eighth graders at four Anoka-Hennepin middle schools posted their composite national-winning score, a total of 96,718 students took the exam nationwide to compete for the three awards.

FBI Minneapolis Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert C. Bone II will present a certificate to Mr. Burrill and some of his students during an “awards celebration” at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 26, 2018, at the start of the Anoka-Hennepin School Board meeting. The board meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Sandburg Education Center, 1902 Second Avenue, Anoka, Minnesota.

The FBI-SOS Internet Challenge was developed with the assistance of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and with the input of teachers and schools. Anyone—young or old, in the U.S. or worldwide—can complete the activities on the FBI-SOS website. The testing and competition, however, are only open to students in grades 3-8 at public, private, or home schools in the United States or its territories.