Science and Technology News

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Public Safety Technology in the News

Palmer Township Police to Get Tasers
Allentown Morning Call, (04/26/2012), Tony Nauroth

Township supervisors in Palmer Township, Pa., recently voted 4-0 to allocate $25,000 toward the purchase of Tasers™ for the local police force. Police Chief Larry Palmer said maintenance for the devices will be paid for through the Northampton County Anti-Drug Task Force and money forfeited by criminals involved in illegal drugs.
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Gunshot Detection System to be Deployed in KC
Associated Press, (04/27/2012)

A $720,000 federal grant will go to fund installation of a ShotSpotter gunshot detection system in Kansas City. In the first four months of 2012, the city experienced 39 homicides and Police Chief Darryl Forte says that gunfire has become such an everyday occurrence that residents in some areas no longer call 911 to report shots. Nearly 70 other law enforcement jurisdictions across the country also use ShotSpotter, which uses a network of sensors to determine the location of gunshots.
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Calif. City's Camera Surveillance System Complete, (05/02/2012), Jessica A. York, Source: Vallejo Times Herald

Volunteer Citizens on Patrol will be monitoring the Vallejo Police Department’s camera surveillance system, which recently became fully operational. Department emergency dispatchers have three overhead widescreen monitors constantly running footage from the cameras, and can pull up footage for specific addresses in response to emergency calls. The volunteer monitoring station needs to be set up and volunteers trained on camera-viewing protocols. Training will include that despite the cameras’ zoom abilities, surveillance should be limited to public streets and rights of way. The camera’s footage is recorded for later review as needed. Establishing of cameras in the city was initially in response to citizen complaints about street prostitution.
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PPD Turns to Social Media to Ease Recruitment Process
Portland Daily Sun, (05/01/2012), Craig Lyons

The Portland Police Department is using social media to help recruit new officers. The department has posted recruiting public service announcements on Facebook and YouTube in an effort to fill six vacancies. The videos explain the benefits of the police department and what it offers. The department is competing against other police departments for the best applicants, and hopes using social media sites will expand its outreach. Assistant Chief Vernon Malloch said the department is selective and only 3 percent of applicants move forward in the interviewing and selection process.
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UI Police Use Social Media to Catch Criminals
The Daily Iowan, (05/07/2012), Jordyn Reiland

University of Iowa police are among the growing number of police departments using social media to aid investigations. University police began using Facebook in 2010 for informational purposes, but after a 2011 alleged attack on a police officer, police found social media could be used to apprehend suspects. Police recently uploaded six surveillance photos on the department Facebook page of two males stealing a bike on campus. Iowa City police have a Facebook page and Des Moines police are also using social media. The Des Moines department’s Facebook page recently helped police identify a burglary suspect.
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Pennsylvania’s No-Texting Law is Difficult to Enforce, Police Say
The Patriot News, (05/08/2012) Matthew Kemeny

Some Pennsylvania police departments are finding the state’s new no texting law tricky to enforce. In March, Pennsylvania became the 35th state to ban texting while driving. Police can stop drivers for texting behind the wheel and no other violation. The penalty is $50. But police say it’s sometimes hard to tell what a driver is doing. State police have issued 42 citations under the law as of April 27. In Lebanon County, Palmyra police have issued one citation for texting, and that driver pleaded guilty. Upper Allen, Lower Allen, East Pennsboro, Susquehanna and Lower Paxton townships have not yet issued any citations or warnings for texting while driving.
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Verizon Grants $33,000 to Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police
The, (05/03/2012)

The Verizon Foundation has awarded $33,000 to the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police for technology-based training. The funds are to be used to train officers and educate the public on Internet and cell phone safety. The funds will help support the association’s Delete Online Predators project, a public education and awareness campaign to promote safe and proper use of technology. The Verizon grant will contribute more than $23,000 for Internet safety education and $10,000 to aid in law enforcement technology training. TACP will continue to take its Delete Online Predators program to schools, churches, community events and conferences to speak on safe practices for using the Internet and chat rooms, while also emphasizing the proper use and safety of cell phone technology. To extend its efforts throughout the state, the association partners with organizations such as the Tennessee Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the Tennessee Attorney General, the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces statewide, and various education systems.
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Tampa Police Launch Crime Mapping Website
NewTampaPatch, (05/03/12), Jason Bartolone

Tracking crime in Tampa just got easier for citizens. The Tampa Police Department is using RAIDS Online to provide crime maps and analysis to Tampa residents. The software displays crime data using Google Maps’ mapping interface. Users can type in their address and choose the date and crimes they would like to monitor, and the information is provided on the map. Users can customize the interactive maps for their neighborhood or view the entire city. The website also includes a crime tip program through which citizens can send anonymous tips to police.
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