Science and Technology News

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Public Safety Technology in the News

St. Charles Sheriff's Office Goes Live With Crime Mapping
New Orleans Times-Picayune, (12/06/2011), Lori Lyons

In St. Charles Parish, La., the Sheriff's Department has joined the growing ranks of law enforcement agencies nationwide participating in The free service uses current (although not real-time) crime information to permit residents to track crimes that occur near specific addresses such as their homes, their workplaces or their childrens schools. Data is posted to a map on the Internet and is updated daily. Residents can search the system, sign up to receive alerts or both. The department also encourages residents to sign up for free e-mail and text message alerts that will notify them about emergency road closures, serious accidents, dangerous weather and some crimes.
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Jacksonville PD Introduces Anonymous Texting Tip Service, (12/07/2011), Lindsey Tugman

TIPSOFT, a new service provided by the Jacksonville (Fla.) Police Department, lets citizens provide tips anonymously. With more than 700 law enforcement agencies participating nationwide, TIPSOFT encrypts messages and routes them through secure servers to protect the sender's anonymity. Local law enforcement officers can reply and engage in a dialog but never know the sender's identity. To provide a tip, submit a message to "CRIMES" (274637) with the keyword JAXPD. Jacksonville also participates in the crime mapping service; links to both services can be found on the department's Facebook page. Citizens should not use this service to provide information on crimes in progress; these should still be reported by calling 911.
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Joliet Police Join the Social Media World
TribLocal, (12/07/2011), Mary Owen

The Joliet (Ill.) Police Department Facebook page received 121 "likes" on its first 24 hours of operation from Dec. 6 to Dec. 7, and the department's new Twitter account, launched the same day, gained 19 followers. The Facebook page can be found at and the Twitter page is Joliet plans to provide real-time crime and traffic alerts via Tweet in addition to alerts already provided through The department uses Nixle to share missing person reports, safety tips, crime activity and other information. Nixle allows messages that are longer than Twitter's 140-character limit and can transmit pictures and maps as well. Standard text messaging rates do apply.
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Teens Experience Perils of Driving & Cell Phones Before Hitting the Road
Plainfield Patch, (12/11/2011), Michelle Mullins

A grant from the Canadian National Railway and funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation have allowed the Plainfield Police Department to purchase a driving simulator to be used at local high schools, and at special events and festivals, to teach students and other citizens about the dangers of calling or texting when driving. The stimulator can recreate daytime or night-time driving situations and varying weather. A computer verbally tells participants about driving mistakes as they happen.
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Youve Got Jail Mail
DealBook, (12/12/2011), Peter Lattman

Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System, or TruLincs, allows federal prisoners to have limited access to a computer that allows them to send messages to people outside the prison system. Developed by the Advanced Technologies Group of West Des Moines, Iowa, TruLincs stores messages for review by correctional staff. Approved e-mails are then forwarded to a website from which recipients can pick them up. Inmates pay a fee of five cents a minute to use the system.
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Police Turn to Technology to Map Crime
WFMZ-TV, (12/12/2011), John Craven

South Whitehall Township in Pennsylvania recently began using to display near real-time crime data on a map that is searchable by area residents. Neighborhood crime watch groups requested the adoption of the service, which has been in place for approximately one year. The service costs $2,000 a year; residents can sign up for alerts about crimes in their neighborhood as well as search six months worth of data on the site.
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Lemont Police Department Receives New Laser Radar Today, (12/12/2011), Janice Hoppe

Police officers in Lemont, Ill., recently began using a new laser radar system that can focus on a specific vehicle to obtain a reading of its speed. The department received the radar by winning a traffic safety competition sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. The competition involved coming up with a solution to a particular traffic safety problem that the agency faces; Lemont's entry focused on speeding and impaired driving.
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Now, You Can Like #JolietPolice
The HeraldNews, (12/14/2011), Brian Stanley

In Joliet, Ill., the local police department recently debuted a Facebook page, started tweeting and implemented a text message alert system, all on the same day. The Facebook page will be used to send notices about community programs, local emergencies and police events to anyone who "likes" the page; much of the same information will be shared in the shorter form of Tweets. Residents can sign up for any or all of the social media services online; text message fees apply.
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Boise Police Show Us How It Feels to 'Drink and Drive', (12/15/2011), Jennifer Auh

Simulation glasses, or "beer goggles," are a tool that the Boise (Idaho) Police Department is using try to discourage impaired driving during the holiday season. The goggles provide users with a similar type of visual impairment to the legal blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. Police are using the goggles in demonstrations on closed courses throughout the community to show participants how driving while intoxicated impacts their skill levels.
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Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Gets Eye In The Sky Thanks To Reserve Deputy, (12/15/2011), Emory Bryan

A donation of the use of an prototype aircraft has allowed the Tulsa County (Okla.) Sheriff's Office to start an aviation unit headed by the reserve deputy who developed the aircraft. Roger Crow says the aircraft was built specifically to meet law enforcement needs, and he is donating his time and the use of the aircraft in hopes of being able to sell additional copies of the model to other law enforcement agencies. The aircraft, which seats two persons, costs about $40 per hour to fly. It can operate as close as 500 feet to the ground.
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