Science and Technology News

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

A Gripping Simulator at Monroe College Signals Talk on Police Shootings
Norwood News, (06/16/2016)

Members of the local community board's Public Safety Committee recently participated in an exercise at Monroe College in Fordham, N.Y., designed to show them the dangers and split-second decisions faced by police officers in the line of duty. Committee members used the School of Criminal Justice's Law Enforcement Training Simulator to participate in realistic shoot/don't shoot scenarios, as well as follow-up discussions about whether their decisions to shoot were justified.
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Facial Recognition Technology Comes Out of the Shadows
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, (06/14/2016), David Chanen

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the only one in Minnesota using facial recognition technology, recently posted information about its use of the technology to aid in investigations on its Facebook page, prompted by a local writer's blog entry. The Image Recognition Technology system takes about 30 minutes to search for a match and has aided several recent investigations.
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New Technology Enhances Campus Security
UConn Today, (06/16/2016), Grace Merritt

A University of Connecticut alumnus has donated a pilot installation of a new gunshot detection technology to the campus. Developed by New Haven-based security company Verbi Inc., which is owned by the alumnus, the technology detects gunshots and explosions, notifies campus police, maps a shooter's location and sends a live video feed to officers' handheld devices, all in less than two seconds. Officers receive notifications via text messages, iPad notifications and/or text-to-speech automated phone calls.
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Milwaukee Police See Promise in High-tech 'GPS Bullets'
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, (06/21/2016), Ashley Luthern

The Milwaukee Police Department has launched a pilot program to test a device that fires GPS units onto suspect vehicles for tracking purposes. In early phases, officers have deployed the devices successfully 50 percent of the time, but that is expected to improve to 75 percent as officers become comfortable with the technology. The technology was created by StarChase LLC.
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Virginia Tech Continues Campus Safety Efforts With Indoor Emergency Phones
WSLS 10, (06/21/2016)

Virginia Tech has installed more than 100 indoor emergency phones in locations throughout the campus, with plans calling for a total installation of 145 units. A press of button connects users to emergency dispatch within seconds.
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Corrections News

State Prisons to Get Body Scanners to Keep Drugs Out
Concord Monitor, (06/17/2016), Allie Morris

New Hampshire's Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan, recently signed a bill that places six scanners in each of the state's three prisons and provides for grant funds to help place scanners in county jails that want the devices. The bill makes $740,000 available in grant funding and provides for $1.1 million to purchase the scanners. It stipulates that the machines only detect contraband, and do not display or record private body parts.
Link to Article

Keeping the Drugs Out: Jails, Prisons Find a Steep Challenge
Virginian-Pilot, (06/19/2016), Kathleen Ronayne for the Associated Press

As visitors and inmates get more inventive in their attempts to smuggle drugs into prisons, corrections officials and lawmakers try to be equally inventive in finding ways to stop illegal drug smuggling. This article profiles a number of preventive measures in place in various locations across the United States.
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Probation Key to Prison Reform
Bismarck Tribune, (06/07/2016), Carolyn Grueskin

A 16-person committee charged with reviewing potential reforms to the North Dakota corrections system recently heard testimony about the state's rate of probation revocation, which may indicate a need for changes in the way that parolees are supervised. Improved access to treatment and increased access to jails for short-term incarceration, as well as additional resources for probation and parole officers, all could lead to improvements in the success of community supervision. North Dakota uses probation for felony offenses less frequently than many other states, and increasing probation for low-level felonies could improve overcrowding in the state's correctional facilities.
Link to Article

GPS Tracker Was Attached to Suspect's Leg. But Leg Wasn't Attached to the Suspect
Washington Post, (06/21/2016), Peter Hermann

A suspect in a District of Columbia homicide case apparently removed his prosthetic leg and the GPS tracking device attached to it, left it in a closet, put on a spare leg and moved freely about the city, believing he had established an unbreakable alibi. Apparently the technician who placed the device put it on over a sock and did not realize he was attaching it to a prosthetic leg; both actions are against protocol.
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Union: Escape Shows Need for More Staff, Better Technology
Press-Republican, (06/04/2016), Joe LoTemplio

New York Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott recently released a 150-page report on the investigation into the escape of convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat from Clinton Correctional Facility on June 6, 2015. An initial response from the union representing correctional officers indicated a potential need for major changes in staffing and technology.
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The Senate's Popular Sentencing Reform Bill Would Sort Prisoners By 'Risk Score'
ProPublica, (06/14/2016), Lauren Kirchner

The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act has attracted 37 co-sponsors in the Senate from both sides of the aisle; not well-known to the public is a clause calling for the attorney general to adopt/develop a tool for predicting future criminal behavior. Inmates receiving a "low risk" rating could reduce their sentences, but those receiving "high risk" scores could not. Such policies are already in place in various states, but there is little evidence that these tools actually are accurate.
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