Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Public Safety Technology in the News

Cop Trainees to Use Laser Simulator
DailyAdvance.com, (10/16/2009), Kristin Pitts

The Basic Law Enforcement Training program at North Carolina’s College of The Albemarle has begun using the Laser Shot Firearm Simulator, a training tool that allows students to participate in video scenarios and decide whether to fire their laser weapon. Law enforcement agencies have used similar simulators for many years, but this particular simulator represents some of the latest advances in the technology. It includes more than 200 scenarios, ranging from traffic stops to school shootings, with potential branches depending on how a trainee responds. Playback allows the instructor to rate a student’s performance. The college purchased the equipment through a grant and it will be used primarily during class periods.
www.dailyadvance.com/news/cop-trainees-to-use-laser-simulator-903623.html

TPD to Deploy 2nd Speed-Cam Van Soon
Arizona Daily Star, (10/18/2009), Brian J. Pedersen

The Tucson Police Department will place a second photo radar van into operation later this fall, using it to both spot speeders and conduct a two-year study sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study will examine eight one-mile segments in Tucson, comparing photo radar enforcement efforts to traditional hand-held radar guns. Through the first eight months of 2009, motor officers issued 17,712 speeding citations, nearly triple the 6,314 that resulted from photo radar. The van can be parked in hard-to-reach locations; however, it can only catch speeders while motor officers can issue citations for a variety of moving violations.
www.azstarnet.com/metro/313719

Taser Advises Police Not to Aim at Chest
The Arizona Republic, (10/21/2009), Robert Anglen

The manufacturer of the Taser stun gun has advised law enforcement officers to avoid shooting suspects in the chest. The advisory issued in October by Taser International cited an "extremely low" risk of "an adverse cardiac event," especially if a subject is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "Should sudden cardiac arrest occur in a scenario involving a Taser discharge to the chest area, it would place the law enforcement agency, the officer and Taser International in the difficult situation of trying to ascertain what role, if any, the Taser. . . could have played," the bulletin said. Tasers are used in more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. Groups such as Amnesty International have questioned the safety of Tasers and criticized their use.
www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2009/10/21/20091021taser1021.html

Annapolis Debuts Online Interactive Crime Map
The Baltimore Sun, (10/18/2009), Andrea F. Siegel

The Annapolis (Md.) Police Department has launched a new interactive crime map that provides the date, nature and approximate location of a number of crimes, including assaults (although not sexual assaults), burglaries, homicides, motor vehicle crimes, robberies and thefts. The city ended a contract with crimereports.com; its own site is tailored specifically to this community. Searches can be done by either location or type of crime. Crime types are color coded, and clicking on a colored dot brings up more detailed information. The site is updated daily and ongoing refinements are planned based on user feedback. The site is located at http://annacw.annapolis.gov/crimemapping.
www.baltimoresun.com/business/technology/bal-ar.crimemap18oct18,0,4646553.story

FBI: Police Officer Deaths Fell Sharply in 2008
Associated Press, (10/19/2009), Devlin Barrett

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty fell in 2008, thanks in part to the use of body armor. Recently released FBI statistics show that 41 law enforcement officers were killed in 2008, down from 58 in 2007. That’s the lowest number since 1999, when 42 officers were killed, the FBI said. Kevin Morison, a spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said increased use of bullet-resistant body armor has greatly contributed to the drop in fatalities. Suzie Sawyer, executive director of Concerns of Police Survivors, said medical advances and better training have also contributed to the reduction in fatalities.
www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hnusu4Eyi2uTbLu0y5gqKLCNLyDgD9BEBJ680

Car Thefts Drop to 20-Year Low
Automobile Magazine, (10/20/2009), Steve Diehlman

Vehicle thefts have dropped by 50 percent over the past 20 years, due to stepped up police enforcement and vehicle tracking and disabling devices, according to the FBI. Approximately 315 of every 100,000 vehicles are stolen today, compared with 669 out of 100,000 in 1991. The technology in new cars makes them harder to steal; eighty-six percent of new cars have built-in ignition immobilizers. GPS tracking also helps deter theft. Also, law enforcement agencies have targeted car theft rings, which has helped bring the number of thefts down.
rumors.automobilemag.com/6568798/news/car-thefts-drop-to-20-year-low/index.html

North Carolina Receives Funds for Testing in Postconviction Cases
Office of Justice Programs, (10/22/2009)

North Carolina has received $566,000 in U.S. Department of Justice grants for postconviction DNA testing. The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will administer the grant. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission will use the funds to review felony convictions in which the person claims innocence and credible evidence exists that was not presented either during trial or during postconviction proceedings. DNA testing makes it possible to obtain conclusive results in cases in which previous testing had been inconclusive or nonexistent. The grant money will boost the number of postconviction case reviews.
www2.wspa.com/spa/news/local/article/north_carolina_receives_funds_for_testing_in_postconviction_cases/28424/#

Secret Service to Revamp Ailing IT Systems
Information Week, (10/21/2009), J. Nicholas Hoover

The U.S. Secret Service will soon commence a major overall of its IT infrastructure after describing its aging network in its budget request to Congress as “vulnerable and at risk.” The agency plans to deploy new storage systems, modernized databases, and expand mobile and wireless capabilities. The Secret Service plans to issue a request for proposals in the next few months and award a contract in March 2010. Improvements include updating its network bandwidth and server structure. The upgrades will support the agency’s 175 field offices and temporary locations worldwide. Future plans included improving interoperability with White House systems and upgrading law enforcement capabilities such as threat management and electronic crimes investigation.
www.informationweek.com/news/government/enterprise-architecture/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=220800150

Mesa Gets $2.7 Million to Fight Crime, Terrorism
The Arizona Republic, (10/20/2009), Gary Nelson

Mesa, Ariz., is receiving in $2.7 million in federal grants to help its first responders deal with crime, terrorism and disasters. The city will use the funds for investigation of cold cases involving rape or homicide, including purchase of new DNA lab equipment; purchase of a bomb robot and a vehicle to house the bomb squad’s response equipment; a mobile police communications system; purchase of hand-held police radios for use during large-scale incidents; tools, equipment and training for the police and fire departments’ rapid response teams; and for participation in the Metropolitan Medical Response System, which is designed to handle mass casualties.
www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/10/20/20091020mr-policegrants1021.html

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