Science and Technology News

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Trafficked: How the Opioid Epidemic Drives Sexual Exploitation in Vermont
Seven Days, (04/10/2019), Kate O'Neil
This article takes an in-depth look at several cases of sex trafficking in Vermont, new laws, and the ways in which law enforcement and prosecutors have been trained to look at the connection between opioid addiction and sex trafficking differently.
Link to Article

Kentucky Says It Will Be First to Use 'Rapid DNA' to Identify Rape Suspects Within Hours
Louisville Courier-Journal, (04/10/2019), Matthew Glowicki
Kentucky will become the first state in the country to begin using cutting-edge Rapid DNA technology to analyze DNA from sexual assault cases. The technology produces a DNA profile within approximately two hours, and should help more rapidly identify suspects and exonerate innocent individuals. The samples will also undergo a "traditional" DNA analysis for verific

Link to Article

Houston Pilot Program Will Let Victims Track Their Rape Kits Electronically
Houston Chronicle, (04/11/2019), Robert Downen
A pilot program set to launch in Houston and Harris County in May will allow sexual assault victims to track their rape kits from evidence collection to prosecution. The pilot, which will launch statewide in September, includes evidence collected in the Harris Health System and the Houston Forensic Science Center.
Link to Article

Mississippi Sheriff's Deputy Who 'Played Dead' Saved by Vest, (04/15/2019)
A sheriff's deputy in Marshall County, Miss., survived a Friday evening shooting thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest. After a traffic stop turned into a high-speed chase that ended with suspects taking refuge in a home, the deputy confronted the suspect who shot him multiple times in the chest and torso even though he "played dead" after he was struck for the first time. The suspect ultimately shot himself in the head.
Link to Article

Jacksonville Hopes 'Watch For Me NC' Will Reduce Bicycle and Pedestrian Crashes
WNCT, (04/13/2019), Loyd Price
The Jacksonville Police Department is participating in the "Watch for Me NC" program, which trains law enforcement officers on ways to improve road safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Participating jurisdictions receive technical assistance, materials and media assistance with raising public awareness. Nearly 30 communities in the state participate in the program.
Link to Article

Corrections News

Mich. County Gets Grant to Treat Inmates With Disorders, (04/12/2019), Dean Cousino for the Monroe News
The Michigan Re-Entry Project (MI-REP) effort recently received a $450,000 two-year grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to provide mental health and opioid use treatment to jail inmates. The funding will help integrate inmates back into the local community. The project is a joint effort of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and the Monroe Community Mental Health Authority.
Link to Article

Cellphone Jamming Tested at South Carolina State Prison
Associated Press, (04/12/2019)
South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling recently became a special deputy U.S. marshal, allowing the state to conduct a five-day test of cellphone jamming technology at Broad River Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Columbia. Federal Communications Commission regulations prohibit the use of jamming technology, but South Carolina and other states continue to lobby for the ability to use it to stop the use of contraband cell phones in correctional facilities.
Link to Article

MetroHealth WRAP Program Decreases Recidivism Among People With Mental Health Diagnoses, (04/15/2019), Mary Kilpatrick
The Wellness Reentry Assistance Program (WRAP) identifies Cuyahoga County, Ohio, jail inmates with serious mental health conditions and substance abuse/addiction issues, and helps them find the resources they need on release. The free program helps inmates make plans for life outside the jail, providing assistance with food stamp and Social Security paperwork, job applications, and finding housing and transportation.
Link to Article

Register Now for DVI Rapid DNA Response Operations Workshop at ASCLD

On May 19, 2019, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Central, take part in a Disaster Victim Identification Rapid DNA Response workshop at the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Annual Symposium in St. Louis.
The workshop includes short lectures, a tabletop exercise and an opportunity for participants to proceed through seven interactive workstations focused on Rapid DNA's role in the Family Assistance Center, Incident Morgue and Identification Operations. After completing the workshop, participants will understand:
  • How Rapid DNA can be used in DVI operations.
  • Who the mass fatality response stakeholders are.
  • FAC, Incident Morgue and Identification Operations, specifically focused on the use of DNA, with hands-on experience.
  • ASCLD's Rapid DNA Mass Fatality Task Force deliverables.
  • How a Rapid DNA mass fatality response can be a cooperative endeavor to support the local jurisdiction impacted by the mass fatality.
Learn more about the workshop and preview the agenda at and register at

JTIC Releases Two Reports on Law Enforcement Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Justice Technology Information Center recently released two new reports related to the ways in which law enforcement agencies use UAS to fulfill their missions. As both are considered law enforcement-sensitive, please send an email to from a legitimate government agency/law enforcement agency email address (no Yahoo, Gmail, etc.) to get your copies.

The Testing of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Law Enforcement Use in Indoor Tactical Missions
summarizes testing done by three law enforcement agencies on using small unmanned aircraft systems for indoor tactical missions. As law enforcement continues to explore uses for sUAS technology, available information on the use of sUAS to support law enforcement operations indoors is limited. Information on the effects and potential limitations imposed by maneuvering in tight, confined spaces and in environments where GPS, video and command/control coverage may or may not be ideal could help agencies considering use of sUAS indoors. The report summarizes general testing observations and findings for each agency.

Selection and Implementation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technology for Law Enforcement
highlights some basic insights/lessons learned from focus group members on implementing a UAS program and choosing and operating UAS technology. As UAS technology continues to evolve, identifying and implementing the best UAS technology to meet the particular needs of law enforcement can be challenging. In late 2017, a National Institute of Justice law enforcement focus group on UAS met to discuss and exchange information on their agencies' use or desired use of UAS, lessons learned by agencies with established UAS programs, and trends and issues surrounding the technology.