Science and Technology News

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Toledo Police May Drop Use of Helicopter
Toledo Blade, (05/19/2016), Ignazio Messina

The Toledo Police Department is seeking grant money to cover the $300,000 cost of an upcoming mandatory factory overhaul of its 15-year-old helicopter. Chief George Kral said without grant money the helicopter could be grounded. Toledo bought the Robinson R44 helicopter in 2001 for the department's aviation unit for about $504,000 and has used it over the years for surveillance, search and rescue, night patrols, to oversee chases, and in other emergency situations. City spokesman Janet Schroeder said the $300,000 overhaul may not be cost effective due to the helicopter's age.
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New Simulator Helps Officers Practice Use-of-Force Judgment
WLS TV ABC7, (05/18/2016)

Officers in Cook County, Ill., can train with a judgment-based use-of-force simulator. The simulator provided by Cook County Homeland Security provides near real-life experience in which the action is altered by the officer's behavior and situations can be modified by instructors. One simulation is an active shooter situation at a movie theatre. Cook County Homeland Security has trained 150 officers and is adding two more simulators to the area.
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Illinois Will Use Facial-Recognition Technology to Create New Driver's Licenses, Raising Privacy Concerns
Illinois Policy, (05/18/2016)

Illinois will begin creating driver's licenses with enhanced security features to protect citizens from identity theft and to comply with the federal Real ID Act. A person applying for or renewing a driver's license or state ID will have his or her photograph processed at a Springfield site, which will use facial-recognition technology to compare the photograph to millions of others in a central digital database. The applicant will receive a paper license or ID immediately, and a permanent card with laser technology embedded in it later. In addition to the use of facial-recognition technology to screen photos for fraud before issuing licenses, the cards will come with secure features and be harder to counterfeit. However, critics have voiced concerns about information security and privacy.
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Corrections News

Re-Entry Training Simulation Gives Judicial Officers 'Ex-Offender' Experience
Herald-Mail Media, (05/21/2016), Matthew Umstead

State and local probation officers, court personnel, law enforcement and other community members in West Virginia recently took on the roles of various ex-offenders in a training event that aimed to simulate the challenges faced by individuals attempting to transition from incarceration into society. The re-entry simulation exercise was hosted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in collaboration with the probation office for the Northern District of West Virginia, and showed how difficult it can be for ex-offenders to find housing, employment and other key resources upon release from prison.
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NH Prisons Struggle With Staff Shortages
Seacoastonline, (05/22/2016), Elizabeth Dinan

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections has shifted money in its budget to cover a $1.8 million shortfall in its overtime budget this year, which officials attributed to staffing shortages. The department is shifting $2.1 million from various parts of its budget to cover the overtime shortage through the end of the fiscal year. Corrections officials said the state corrections department averages about 60 vacancies a month.
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NORCO: Man Caught Flying Drone Over Prison
The Press Enterprise, (05/17/2016), Ali Tadayon

A man flew a drone over the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, according to authorities. The prison borders the Naval Surface Warfare Center, where it is illegal to fly a drone without permission. All military installations are designated drone no-fly zones according to Federal Aviation Administration laws. Prison personnel spotted the device the evening of May 15, and found the drone's pilot nearby, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman. Riverside County Sheriff's deputies talked with the man, who was not arrested. Deputies from the Sheriff's Department's Norco station are investigating the incident further.
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Prosecutor: Accused Arsonist Forged Doctor's Note
Stamford Advocate, (05/19/2016), John Nickerson

A Connecticut woman accused of setting her former boyfriend's apartment on fire had her bail increased after allegedly forging a doctor's note claiming her electronic-monitoring ankle bracelet was setting off her pacemaker. Gina Clemente, 33, of Wilton was charged in April with first-degree arson for the May 2015 fire in Greenwich. In May 2016 a judge granted the prosecutor's request to have her put on electronic monitoring. The woman's attorney subsequently submitted a letter to the court from her doctor, which claimed the monitoring bracelet was causing her pacemaker to malfunction. The doctor said he never wrote the letter.
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Indictment: Georgia Gang Leader Ordered Hit on Baby From Jail
KLFY News/CBS News, (05/20/2016)

A Georgia gang leader is charged with ordering a retaliation hit from prison that killed a baby boy, officials said. Kenneth Eric Jackson was indicted on murder and gang charges for his alleged role in the May 2014 shooting death of 9-month-old KenDarious Edwards Jr. Allegedly acting on Jackson's orders, officials said masked gang members forced their way into a Decatur home and opened fire on the child, his mother, his grandmother and a family friend. The three women were shot and wounded. The infant was killed. The District Attorney's office said Jackson used a contraband mobile phone while incarcerated at Autry State Prison to order the hit in retaliation for the death of another gang member, allegedly killed by the child's uncle. Jackson and two alleged gunmen are charged with malice murder, felony murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault and violation of Georgia's Street Gang and Terrorism Act. A third alleged gunman pleaded guilty to murder, the District Attorney's Office said.
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County Commissioners Agree to Support New Adult Probation Assessment Tool
The Sentinel, (05/18/2016), Jake Austin

The Cumberland County (Pa.) Board of Commissioners has agreed to support a proposed actuarial tool to be used for adult probation assessments. The Ohio Risk Assessment System is a 35-question tool administered by a trained probation officer, and would provide officers with an assessment of an offender's chances of re-offending in the future. The 2016 statewide strategic plan for expanding the use of evidence-based practices in adult probation departments across the state entails the routine use of an actuarial assessment for purposes of pre-trial and post-conviction placement and supervision.
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Treating Opioid Addiction With a Drug Raises Hope and Controversy
NPR, (05/17/2016), Andrea Hsu

In his 2017 proposed budget, President Obama has asked Congress for $1.1 billion in new funding to address the nation's opioid epidemic, with much of it focused on treatment assisted by medication. Scientists and doctors say the best way to tackle the opioid epidemic is to get more people on medications that have been proven in studies to reduce relapses. But some drugs used for treatment are opioids themselves, and some people in recovery circles say medication-assisted treatment is simply replacing one drug with another. Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, said patients should consider the evidence for medication-assisted treatment and together with their doctors make a decision about what's best for them.
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