Science and Technology News

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Public Safety Technology in the News

County Police Using Microchips, Barcodes to Track Seized Evidence
Gazette.Net, (06/07/2012), Daniel J. Gross
Using a $500,000 federal stimulus package, the police department in Prince George's County, Md., has instituted the Smart Tracking of Evidence and Property Program, which will tag every item recovered from a crime with a barcode and a microchip. This replaces a system wherein officers had to manually enter information into a computer database. All items of evidence have a specified retention period and are held until no longer needed.
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Maryland Unveils Comprehensive Police Radio System
Gazette.Net, (06/08/2012), Danielle E. Gaines
Maryland FiRST, a planned $349 million interoperable radio system, recently underwent its first test as the Maryland Transportation Authority, Maryland State Police and Kent County went live on the system. The first phase will be fully operational by the end of this year, and will provide coverage in central Maryland and the Interstate 95 corridor. First-phase territory covers one-third of the state's population and two-thirds of the state's critical infrastructure. The second phase will bring agencies on Maryland's Eastern Shore online, and the project will be fully implemented by 2016.
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Abilene Neighborhood Watch Members Learn About Tech Tools for Reporting, Tracking Crime, (06/12/2012), Greg Kendall-Ball
Volunteers interested in helping the efforts of the local police department learned about two technology tools that can help their efforts at a recent meeting in Abilene, Texas. The volunteers received a demonstration of the TipSoft Alert system, an e-mail and text-message system used by the Abilene Police Department to send out crime alerts that can be either citywide or targeted to specific neighborhoods. Neighborhood Watch volunteers also learned how to access the Regional Analysis & Information Data Sharing (RAIDS) database, an Internet crime-mapping resource available through By using RAIDS, the volunteers can see crime "hot spots" anywhere in the city as well as specific incidents reported in their neighborhoods.
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Kirkland Police Department Introduces Online Crime Mapping, (06/13/2012)
Using a grant from the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority, the Kirkland Police Department has joined the growing number of agencies nationwide that provide near real-time crime data to area residents via Updated Tuesday through Friday, the system lets users view information about various crimes that have occurred in their neighborhoods within the past 180 days. Residents can also receive free targeted crime alerts via e-mail by signing up for the service.
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See Antioch Crime Happening? Text the Police
Contra Costa Times, (06/13/2012), Paul Burgarino
In Antioch, Calif., the police department has become the first in the area to begin using TipSoft technology to offer a service whereby citizens can anonymously provide crime tips via text message. TipSoft sends the text to a secure server that codes the caller's identity so that tips remain anonymous. A user can opt to provide contact information in the body of the text. Approximately 850 law enforcement agencies use the service nationwide. It also works in reverse, enabling law enforcement to provide text or e-mail alerts to residents who sign up for the service.
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New Mexico State Police Rolling Out Smartphone Project
Network World, (06/14/2012), Ellen Messner
State police in New Mexico will soon begin using
custom-designed iPhone and Android apps that will provide secure access to local and federal databases previously accessible only through Windows-based computers. The apps comply with the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) security policy, which requires FIPS 140-2 encryption. A digital certificate-issuance procedure will ensure only authorized individuals receive the app.
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‘RoboCop' Gives Police a Second Set of Eyes on the Street, (06/17/2012), Jonathan Edwards
The Lincoln (Neb.) Police Department has closed approximately 20 cases in the past six months due to use of the city's new automated license plate recognition system. The four cameras mounted on one of the department's SUV vehicles scan 2,000 to 3,000 license plates every shift and match the numbers to database information on stolen vehicles, missing persons, parking ticket scofflaws and cars linked to crimes, including reportedly stolen vehicles, missing persons cases and unpaid tickets.
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Home Security Cameras New Crime-Fighting Tool
Tulsa World, (06/18/2012), Zack Stycoff
With the average price of a home security camera system dropping drastically while storage capacity increases, such systems are becoming more common, a good trend for law enforcement. Home surveillance video often plays a key role in identifying suspects, sometimes being used to solicit tips from the public.
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Police Upgrade Their Tasers
The Daily Commercial, (06/18/2012), William Koch
The police departments in Leesburg and Umatilla, Fla., recently upgraded from one-cartridge M26 Tasers to the X2 models, which can fire two shots in quick succession. The departments opted for the upgrade because Taser International no longer provides service for the older model. The X2 is supposedly more durable and more weather-resistant. All six full-time officers in Umatilla received X2s, while Leesburg purchased 36 units for its 72-officer agency.
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Michigan Police Use Facebook, Twitter to Catch Crooks
Detroit Free Press, (06/19/2012), Cecil Angel
Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have become a routine part of the investigation of many crimes, according to officers with the Detroit Police Department, who routinely scan social media sites as part of an investigation. For example, individuals may discuss plans about an illegal drag race on social media sites, effectively tipping off law enforcement as to who participated in an event or even allowing them to stop an activity before it starts. Also in the area, a task force run by the Michigan State Police includes sheriff's deputies, a Secret Service agent, a state Attorney General's Office investigator and local law enforcement officers and uses the Internet to investigate numerous types of crimes. Other local law enforcement agencies use their own Facebook sites to solicit tips and information.
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New Red Light Cameras Being Installed in Toledo, (06/19/2012), Christine Long
Toledo, Ohio, plans to install 11 additional red light and speed cameras at six intersections within the next two weeks. The city's camera total will increase to 44 with the new additions. Some cameras catch red light violations, some record speeding incidents and some do both. In 2010 and 2011 combined, the city collected nearly $2 million in fines from the cameras, and in the first five months of 2012, revenue generated has reached $348,000.
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