Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Public Safety Technology in the News

Safe and Sound: Police Keep an Eye on Fitchburg High School, (10/02/2009), Caroline Keras

The Fitchburg (Mass.) Police Department and Emergency Surveillance Systems have partnered to test a new type of security camera system in Fitchburg High School. The free installation, which provides a connection between an existing camera system and a local police cruiser, allows the company to field test the product and receive feedback from the department. The system consists of a DVR in the high school connected to eight previously installed surveillance cameras. The DVR links to video equipment inside a cruiser and allows officers to monitor the school from approximately 1,000 feet away. A new antenna soon to be added on school grounds will extend that distance. The vendor also supplied training to the department's 48 officers on how to use the system.

Pinpoint Crime in Your Neighborhood
MonroeNews.Com, (10/02/2009), Ray Kisonas

The Monroe County Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff's Office have become the first law enforcement agencies in Michigan to offer access to neighborhood crime reports through the online service, Users can log onto the site to see what types of incidents have been reported and where they occurred. Citizens are able to view all police activity in the past six months in any Monroe County area or participating community. In all, agencies from 46 states use the mapping program, which costs $199 per month per participating agency. The program does not provide specific address or names. Users can also sign up for criminal activity notifications by e-mail and crime reports can also be viewed through

New York to Fight Terrorism With More Street-Corner Cameras
The Christian Science Monitor, (10/05/2009), Ron Scherer

New York City has announced plans to deploy high-tech security cameras, license plate readers and weapons sensors throughout midtown Manhattan. Paid for by $24 million-plus in U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding, the new cameras will expand on installation already going on in lower Manhattan, including the Brooklyn Bridge. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the cameras may detect and/or deter terrorism threats and surveillance, and the sensors will be set up to detect chemical, biological and radiological threats. Civil rights organizations have expressed concern.

FBI Scans All Driver's Licenses in North Carolina in Search for Fugitives
Associated Press, (10/12/2009), Mike Baker

An FBI project in North Carolina uses facial-recognition technology to compare millions of driver's license photos with pictures of convicts, with plans to possibly expand the project nationwide. The project has already resulted in one significant arrest, of a double-homicide suspect who had moved to North Carolina from California and started a new life under an assumed name. The FBI is studying how best to increase use of the software and there is no timetable to implement the program nationwide. The FBI is not authorized to collect and store photos, performing all analysis at the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

County School Zones Getting Speed Cameras
The Baltimore Sun, (10/10/2009), Nick Madigan

Baltimore County, Md., has announced plans to join the ranks of other cities and counties across the nation installing digital speed cameras with an installation near 15 local schools. Police have released a list of school zones, but no specific locations. Drivers going more than 12 mph over the speed limit will receive warning during the first month of operation, after which the penalty escalates to a $40 fine.,0,1723731.story

Browsers Can Now Follow Crime Stats in St. Louis County
South County Times, (10/09/2009)

The St. Louis County (Mo.) Police Department recently launched a Web-based crime mapping system developed in-house and providing citizens with the capability to locate information about where crime has occurred in their neighborhoods. The application covers unincorporated areas and municipalities served by the county police, but not incorporated areas that have their own police departments. The system can be accessed at Users can view 90 days worth of crime data by crime type, address or date.

Fingerprinting on the Fly
Herald-Tribune.Com, (10/06/2009), Doug Sword

The Sarasota County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office recently began using a new hand-held device to scan scan fingerprints in the field and provide reports to officers. Use of Motorola's PrintSearchMobile has already resulted in several arrests. Sarasota County is the first law enforcement agency in the nation to use the devices, paid for with money from a drug forfeiture fund, in the field. The scanners cost approximately $4,100 apiece.

County Gets $160,000 for CAD Upgrade
News-Leader.Com, (10/13/2009), Tara Muck

Christian County, Mo., will use part of a $1.7 million federal grant given to the state to upgrade its computer aided dispatch system. The upgrade includes the capability of pinpointing the exact location of a cell phone call. Technology presently in use only notifies Christian County Emergency Services of the name of the owner of a cell phone, with no information on the phone's current location. The new technology will help officers locate disoriented or injured individuals who cannot provide information on their location. The advanced software mapping system will also provide driving directions to emergency responders and offer the ability to instantly replay recorded 911 calls to extract additional information. Approximately three-quarters of all 911 calls received in the county come from cell phones.

MATC Law Enforcement Program Targets Training, (10/13/2009)

Madison Area Technical College offers use of simulation training wherein actual firearms have been modified to work with a video training system. A recoil kit provides simulated recoil every time a student presses the trigger of the Glock 17 used in the Ti Training simulator. Trainees using the system face life-sized video scenarios featuring robberies, active shooters and domestic dispute. A tape of a trainee's performance allows the instructor to review the performance with the student.

Microsoft and National White Collar Crime Center Make Digital Forensics Tool Available to U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies
Reuters, (10/13/2009)

Microsoft Corp. and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) have reached an agreement to allow NW3C to become the first U.S.-based distributor of the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) software. COFEE uses digital forensic technologies to enable non-expert officers to collect computer forensics evidence at the scene of a crime, thus preventing loss of important information when the computer has to be powered off and taken elsewhere for a thorough forensics investigation. Officers can learn to use COFEE in less than 10 minutes. Under the agreement, law enforcement agencies can obtain COFEE free of charge through a link at An April 2009 distribution agreement with INTERPOL already makes COFEE available to law enforcement in the agency's 187 member countries.

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