Science and Technology News

Friday, November 27, 2015

Public Safety Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News
Bullet-Resistant Vests Credited With Saving Officers' Lives
WBRC Fox 6 News, (11/19/2015), Nancy Amons

On Wednesday, November 18, a Sumner County, Tenn., sheriff's deputy survived a hit directly above his heart thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest. Phillip Douglas took shelter behind his patrol car, but was still hit by one of at least 10 shots taken by the suspect, James Cummins, who was holding his mother hostage. Cummins was taken into custody. 
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Pennsylvania to Use $814k Grant for Police Fingerprint Systems
Planet Biometrics, (11/13/2015)

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency plans to use federal grant funds to upgrade fingerprint systems in 10 state police substations. The Commission will use part of an $814,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to supply substations in six counties with Live Scan Plus devices, which take fingerprints and input information into a statewide database, which is expected to improve background checks.
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Vacaville Police Department Launches Surveillance Camera Program
The Reporter, (11/18/2015), Sally Schilling

The police department in Vacaville, Calif. is among the latest law enforcement agencies to ask residents and businesses to volunteer to share security camera footage. The department's Citizen's View program is a voluntary security camera registry for residents and businesses. Registrants will only be contacted when an incident occurs in the vicinity of the camera. The department may then request footage from a period of time surrounding the incident.
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Hamden Police Using App, Eyeing Software to Help Fight Crime
New Haven Register, (11/15/2015), Kate Ramunni

The Hamden Police Department in Connecticut is using the free CrimeReports app to map where crime has occurred. The app also allows residents to view where crime is occurring in their neighborhoods. The town also is considering investing in a software program called Predictive Policing, which uses analytics to help predict where and when crimes are likely to happen. The software uses variables to predict future events and helps departments plan where to place resources.
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Atlanta Gets $7.5 Million Grant to Improve School Safety
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (11/23/2015)

A $7.5 million grant from the National Institute of Justice will be used to improve safety in the Atlanta school system. The research will be led by WestEd, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve education for children and adults. Georgia State University researchers will also be involved in the work, officials said. The research is expected to address issues such as student behavior improvements, emergency preparedness, school policing and community engagement.
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Corrections News
State's Prison Industries Generate $52.6 Million Worth of Business
The Southern Illinoisan, (11/16/2015), Stephanie Esters

Prisoners in the Illinois Department of Corrections facilities produced products and supplied services that generated $52.6 million this past fiscal year as part of Illinois Correctional Industries, a business created to help people earn skills and a small wage while incarcerated. Products include clothing, brooms, wax, soap and furniture. Inmates are also involved in recycling services. Most of the products and services are purchased by Illinois state agencies, local governments and not-for-profit organizations. The Illinois Correctional Industries is located in 17 of the state's 24 prisons.
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Marion County Using New Technology to Track Offenders
Indianapolis Business Journal, (11/19/2015), Hayleigh Colombo

Technology being used by correctional employees in Marion County, Ind., helps track the activity of offenders who are monitored using electronic ankle bracelets. The technology, called Analytics, analyzes GPS data points produced by offenders. The technology was developed by Track Group, which acts as the case manager for about 900 of the county's offenders who are being monitored, while Marion County staff manages about 2,300 clients, a portion of which are on GPS monitoring. The county has been using the platform on a pilot basis, with two case managers able to access the program. The state Department of Corrections recently approved a $200,000 addition to the county's grant that will allow access for all 31 case managers and supervisors.
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More Jails Considering Body Scans to Find or Deter Contraband
The Columbus Dispatch, (11/23/2015), Holly Zachariah

The Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, may soon receive body-scanning technology to screen prisoners for contraband. The commission that runs the jail is expected to vote in January on a proposal to buy a $190,000 body-scanning, low-dose X-ray machine to check inmates being booked in. This year the jail has logged nearly 90 incidents of contraband being found either at intake or in a cell. Jailers have found syringes, heroin, pills, marijuana and four weapons.
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Authorities: 'Catfishing' Robber Was Wearing GPS at Crime Scenes
Boston Herald, (11/23/2015), Antonio Planas

A prosecutor says a man accused of robbing men at gunpoint after exchanging messages with them on a social-media dating application was on court-ordered GPS monitoring at the time, and his GPS monitor places him at the scenes of the crimes. The string of attacks occurred since early October in two Boston neighborhoods. The suspect has appeared in court on five charges of armed robbery with assault by means of a dangerous weapon and was ordered held on $75,000 bail.
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Apps for Inmates
BuzzFeed, (11/18/2015), Charlie Warzel

The company JPay has launched a new tablet education program with Ashland University and six state prisons across Ohio. Previously, a pilot program had enrolled 442 inmates in six county prisons. Inmates who enroll in the program are issued secure tablets by the university, or the tablets can be purchased by inmates' families through JPay. The tablets allow access to Lantern, a two-way education platform that allows access to coursework, lesson plans, instructional videos, learning apps and a suite of Microsoft Office programs. The curriculum includes college introductory courses.
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Inmate Uses Smuggled Cell Phone to Scam Prisoner Families
MS News Now, (11/18/2015)

Authorities say an inmate in Jefferson County, Miss. has been arrested for a fraudulent prison scam that involved the use of a contraband cell phone. The scam preyed on families of incarcerated people. The inmate is charged with offering inmates' families a chance to secure early release for their loved ones by paying money into a fraudulent State of Mississippi program. He allegedly contacted inmates' families by using a smuggled cell phone.
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