Science and Technology News

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Public Safety Technology in the News

Law Enforcement Officers Gain Powerful Tool: Video Billboards
The Leaf Chronicle (Associated Press), (08/29/2009), Duncan Mansfield

After bank surveillance photos from a string of robberies dating back to May flashed on electronic billboards across the South, the FBI named a suspect in the manhunt. A four-month search using traditional investigation techniques failed to produce a suspect, but the man was identified within 24 hours of the photo’s appearance on highway signs. Major billboard companies and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America have organized a 40-state network that has led to the capture of at least 20 individuals in the past 18 months. In this case, the photo initially ran on electronic billboards in Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The billboard companies make the service available free of charge.

Md. Officials Test Cell Phone Detection at Prison
Houston Chronicle (Associated Press), (09/03/2009), Brian Witte

Recently, officials from Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware gathered to observe cell phone detection technology testing at a closed Maryland prison, along with representatives of the National Governors Association, the American Correctional Association and the American Jail Association. Six vendors put their technology to the test at the Maryland House of Correction, closed in March 2007 because of difficulty in controlling inmate violence. The technologies are designed to allow corrections officials to locate and root out contraband cell phones. Five of the six technologies would not require a change in laws related to cell-phone jamming, prohibited by federal law. One company required a special Federal Communications Commission license for the testing procedure. Using dog and security measures, Maryland officials confiscated 947 cell phones in 2008.

Electronic Ticketing Integration Saves Municipal Court Time and Resources
Reuters, (09/03/2009)

The Kansas City Municipal Court (KCMC) and the local law enforcement department have achieved integration between the court’s JustWare Municipal Court case management solution and the city’s Advanced Public Safety, Inc.’s (APS) electronic ticketing devices. Ticket information from an officer’s PocketCitation ticketing devices is entered automatically into JustWare, eliminating the need for paper copies and manual data entry. The transfer is not real-time, but occurs at the end of each shift when an officer docks a handheld unit into the system. KCMC serves a population of more than 144,000 and has used JustWare Municipal Court since 2007.

Power Management/Anti-Idling Technology Provides Law Enforcement Agencies With Efficient, Cost-Effective Way to Operate Vehicle Electrical Systems During Stops Without Engine Engaged
Reuters, (09/03/2009

Energy Xtreme’s Independence Package provides a unique power management system that operates a car’s electrical system with the engine turned off. This package helps law enforcement deal with the high demand that advanced electrical systems often take on engines. It installs in the trunk of an officer’s car and needs only minimal space, yet can power a car’s systems for up to four hours. It automatically recharges once the engine is turned back on. The Independence Package can also start an engine that has a dead battery.

Federal Funds Bring B.E.A.R. to Valley
The Brownsville Herald, (09/07/2009), Jared Taylor

Hidalgo County, Texas, has begun using “the B.E.A.R.,” a 12-foot high armor-plated vehicle that can transport up to three six-member SWAT teams or used to rescue up to 35 people. The vehicle includes a detachable battering ram on its front and has eight openings in its bulletproof walls and windows to enable law enforcement officers to return fire. The B.E.A.R. can withstand armor-piercing rounds, grenades and improvised explosive devices. It includes a turret suitable for mounting a machine gun and is the first of its kind being used by a law enforcement agency south of San Antonio. The vehicle also features an infrared camera that will allow officers to search for suspects in rough terrain at night. Its purchase was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Convicted Sex Offender Arrested for Child Porn in N. Arizona
Associated Press, (08/07/2009)

Field Search, a product developed by NLECTC-Rocky Mountain, played a role in the arrest of a convicted sex offender charged with possessing pornographic images of children on his computer in Yavapai County, Ariz. The sheriff’s office charged 57-year-old Larry Dick with 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Lehigh County and CODY Systems Go Live With Real-time Records Sharing Software for Police Officers and Investigators Countywide
MarketWatch, (09/08/2009)

In Lehigh County, Pa., 19 agencies have begun sharing data in real-time on the countywide real-time Records and Data Sharing Network, using an integrated solution from vendor CODY. The suite includes a records management system (RMS) module available to all law enforcement agencies, mobile field reporting for all users and a system that connects all agencies under one data sharing network. The cities of Bethlehem and Allentown and the district attorney’s office also participate.

U.S., Mexico to Build Cross-Border Network
InformationWeek, (09/04/2009), J. Nicholas Hoover

The United States-Mexico High-Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications has established a bilateral working group to oversee construction of a new $7 million public safety and law enforcement network that will extend between the two nations, using existing wireless infrastructure where possible. The working group plans to keep the technical architecture confidential to maximize cybersecurity. The network will be managed jointly by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican Secretariat of Public Security. No date for launch has been set.

Baton Uses Handcuff Tech to Detain Violent Suspects
Manteca Bulletin, (09/01/2009), Glenn Kahl

The Ripon (Calif.) Police Department is testing a police baton that doubles as a handcuff. Officers recently underwent manufacturer-supplied training on the use of the “Apprehender” police baton, which can be used as either a wrist or an ankle restraint. The length of the baton gives the officer leverage that can be used in putting suspects on the ground. It can also be used to lock up a car’s steering wheel. In initial testing, 10 officers will take the device into the field and provide evaluations. Promotional batons are also being tested in New Jersey, Utah, Florida and Canada.

Tasers’ Test Results Spark Invention
Richmond News, (09/09/2009), Nelson Bennett

Datrend Systems, a Richmond (Va.)-based company that manufactures instruments to test specialized medical equipment such as defibrillators, is working on development of TAZRTest, a portable device that law enforcement agencies could use in the field to determine if their conducted energy devices (CEDs) are working properly. The company recently applied for a patent, with approval expected in about 18 months. At present, law enforcement agencies must send their CEDs to one of the few labs that perform testing if they suspect that the weapons are not discharging at the proper rate.

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