Science and Technology News

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Public Safety Technology in the News (March 14, 2012)

Police Test Secure, Interoperable App for Smart Phones
Government Computer News, (02/14/2012), Henry Kenyon


The Foothill-DeAnza Community College District (CCD) Police Department, located near San Francisco, recently began using software that uses mobile devices to provide its officers with military-grade secure communications. The department recently performed beta testing of the new system during a visit by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, using it to coordinate security and crowd control. The software allowed FBI and U.S. Department of State security traveling with Blair to communicate with the CCD.
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Pressure Builds for Civilian Drone Flights at Home
Yahoo! News, (02/27/2012), Joan Lowy


Unmanned drone aircraft, formerly used exclusively by the military, may soon be in use by law enforcement agencies, the news media, utility companies and others. At present, less than 300 government agencies have received waivers for limited use of drones in the United States, but the Federal Aviation Administration has received a Congressional mandate that civilian and military drones must be permitted to fly in civilian airspace in less than four years (by September 2015). The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is one of the agencies that have received a waiver, flying drones along the U.S.-Mexico Border where they have assisted in the seizure of more than 20 tons of illegal drugs in the past six years. The U.S. Department of Justice has four drones available for loan to law enforcement agencies. "We look at this as a low-cost alternative to buying a helicopter or fixed-wing plane," said Michael O'Shea, National Institute of Justice Aviation Technology Program Manager.
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New Simulation System for Jeff. Co. Law Enforcement Takes Training to a New Level
MyABC50, (02/29/2012), Holly Boname


The Jefferson County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Office recently used a $60,000 Homeland Security grant to implement use of a Fire Arm Training System (FATS), a virtual training system that allows officer to work their way through realistic scenarios with simulated weapons. The scenarios include situations officers could routinely face on the streets such as robberies, hold-ups and domestic disputes.
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Bay City PD Gets New Software to Fight Crime, Save Money
WNEM.com, (03/02/2012), Bill Walsh


CrimeView Dashboard, a software package recently put into practice by the Bay City (Mich.) Police Department, automates a process department staff previously performed manually and should help continue to reduce serious crimes and traffic incidents in the city - even though the police force has gotten smaller. CrimeView Dashboard presents information about incidents in near real-time and uses charts, graphs and maps to show its analysis of the data. The department is the first in the state to implement its use.
Link to Article


Mock Riot Gets New Warden
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, (03/03/2012), J.W. Johnson Jr.


The West Virginia Division of Corrections has announced it will assume fiscal and planning responsibility for the 16th annual Mock Prison Riot™ set for the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville in early May. Earlier this year, the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation had stated it had been unable to find funding for the event, previously sponsored by the National Institute of Justice. The West Virginia DOC plans to make the event self-sustaining by charging booth fees that will range between $500 and $1,000 per vendor, depending on space requested. The event remains free of charge to corrections and law enforcement participants.
Link to Article


Agencies Using Facebook as a Law Enforcement Tool
The Independent.com, (03/03/2012), Sarah Schulz


Incidents as varied as identifying a woman who drove off without paying for gasoline and locating a sex offender who failed to register have been resolved thanks to the use of Facebook® by the Hastings and Grand Island police departments and the Hall County Sheriff's Department. All three agencies launched their social media sites during 2011 and have been very pleased by their success.
Link to Article


South Bend, Notre Dame Join Crime-Mapping System
Chicago Tribune.com, (03/05/2012), Tom Moor


The South Bend Police Department (January 1) and the Notre Dame Security Police Department (April 1) are the two latest Indiana law enforcement agencies to sign up with CrimeReports.com, an online crime-mapping system. Citizens can view local information by visiting www.CrimeReports.com and keying in South Bend or Notre Dame in the address search box. The result will be a "pin" map showing incidents in their area. Users can also further refine their searches by data and incident type. Publicly available information is updated every three days; officers can view similar data that is updated on a daily basis.
Link to Article


Police Now Accepting Anonymous Text Tips From the Public
Hastings Star Gazette, (03/12/2012)


In Hastings, Min.., the police department recently began using tip411, an Internet-based service that area residents can use to submit tips and become involved in a two-way chat with police, all while remaining anonymous. Citizens can use any cell phone to text information to the agency and need not become involved in two-way messaging unless they wish to do so. Tips sent within area schools will go directly to the school resource officer. The department reminds area residents that emergency information should still be reported to 911.
Link to Article


Medford Police Take Crime Tips Via Smartphone App
Associated Press, (03/09/2012), Jeff Barnard


The smartphone app TipSoft.com now allows residents in the Medford, Ore., area to provide information and even photos to the local police department anonymously. The informative e-mails go to a crime analyst, who in turns forward them to one of several participating local law enforcement agencies. Although the service went live only recently, several reports have already been received. Residents are reminded to still use 911 to report emergency information.
Link to Article


Barbour County Law Enforcement Enables Text Alert Service
WBOY12.com, (03/09/2012), Jamie Stover


The Barbour County (W.Va.) Sheriff's Office and Phillippi Police Department recently signed up to provide text alerts to area residents using the Internet-based service, Nixle. The service, available free to any public safety agency, can be used to send out mass e-mail and text alerts about emergencies and community events.
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