Science and Technology News

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Fort Bend ISD Police Officers to Wear Body Cameras in Schools
Chron, (11/22/2016), Shelby Webb

Officers with the Fort Bend (Texas) Independent School District Police Department will begin wearing body cameras after the Thanksgiving holidays. The department's chief said the decision to order the cameras was made a year ago because of reports of disturbing use of force at the national and state levels. Several other Houston area school districts have already begun using the devices.
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Aerial Speed Monitoring Grounded in Md. and Va.
WTOP, (11/28/2016), Mike Murillo

Although signs remain in place in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area warning motorists that speed may be monitored by aircraft, law enforcement in both Virginia and Maryland say it has been several years since that type of enforcement has taken place. Budgetary constraints have limited such missions, but the signs themselves act as a deterrent.
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LAPD Could Roll Out 'Less-lethal' Weapon Citywide to Curb Escalation
Los Angeles Daily News, (11/28/2016), Brenda Gazzar

A Los Angeles Police Department review committee will determine whether a three-month pilot project expanding the use of less-lethal guns that fire 40-mm sponge rounds will continue as a citywide deployment of the devices. The guns are intended to incapacitate, but not kill, a subject. Sponge rounds generally hit harder and can be used at a farther distance than beanbag rounds.
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K-9 Dogs Are Overdosing During Drug Raids on the Very Opioids They're Investigating
Miami Herald, (11/28/2016), Elizabeth Koh

Three drug detection dogs used by the Broward County (Fla.) Police Department during an October drug raid suffered symptoms of a severe drug overdose due to exposure to fentanyl. Rushed to a veterinary hospital, the dogs recovered after being treated with naloxone. The department's dog handlers now carry naloxone when on patrol.
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INDIANA EXCHANGE: Conservation Officer OK'd to Fly Drones
NWI Times, (11/29/2016), Carson Gerber for the Kokomo Tribune

Five Indiana Department of Natural Resources officers, including one who covers Howard and Tipton counties, has been authorized to fly drones to assist with search and rescue operations. The DNR owns two drones, and has received official permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to use the craft. The drones can fly well over a mile from the pilot and fly as high as a low-flying helicopter. They also are equipped to drop ropes to people during water-rescue missions and can map obstacles to the search and rescue mission.
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Campbell Police Fight Package Thieves With 'Bait Packages'
KTVU Fox 2, (11/29/2016)

In a program similar to better-known bait bike programs put in place across the country, the police department in Campbell, Calif., has begun placing "bait packages" containing GPS units on porches in areas known to have been impacted by so-called "porch pirates." During the holiday season, the prevalence of thefts of packages from residents' front porches and steps increases dramatically, and the department hopes the program will enable them to decrease the incidence of such thefts.
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University of Maryland to Begin Using Gunshot Detection Technology on Campus
Fox 5, (11/29/2016), Lindsay Watts

The University of Maryland recently began using the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system as a potential deterrent to active shooter situations on campus. ShotSpotter has previously been deployed in a number of major U.S. cities.
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Corrections News

Pennsylvania Does Away With 'Food Loaf' Prison Punishment
PhillyVoice, (11/27/2016), Michael Tanenbaum

Pennsylvania has ended a policy of serving food loaf as a disciplinary meal. Known under various names, food loaf consists of a baked paste made by mashing meat, potatoes, margarine, syrup, vegetables, eggs and seasoning together. The state joins New York in having recently eliminated the meal.
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Decades of Neglect Underpins $1.65 Billion Prisons Request
Associated Press, (11/28/2016)

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has tripled its annual budget request to around $1.65 billion, as the department seeks to address the problem of chronically overcrowded and deteriorating prisons. The request includes $10 million for a 5-percent salary increase for corrections workers and more than $123 million for repairs at 17 state prisons and six community corrections centers.
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Missouri Seeks Way to Cut Cost of Burying Prisoners
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (11/28/2016), Kurt Erickson

The Missouri Department of Corrections is seeking bids from the state's funeral homes to cut down on the expenses associated with burying prisoners whose bodies are not claimed by friends or relatives. Presently, each correctional facility works with local funeral homes; the state seeks to lower expenses by negotiating a statewide contract.
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Community Corrections Helps to Keep People Out of Jail
News-Review, (11/28/2016), Matt MIkus

The Emmet County Community Corrections Department has adopted a number of strategies aimed at keeping low-risk offenders out of jail and reducing their risk of re-offending. Programs include cognitive rehabilitation therapy, support groups and electronic monitoring devices for location tracking and alcohol consumption. The department claims an 80-percent success rate for its monitoring programs.
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Behind the Bars: Phones in SC Prisons Putting Public at Risk
WACHFox57, (11/23/2016), Brian McConchie

South Carolina Department of Corrections officials say contraband, especially cell phones, is an ongoing problem in every facility in the state in spite of a number of proactive countermeasures. Inmates often use cell phones to maintain their criminal activities from inside prison. South Carolina is one of a number of states that have been lobbying the Federal Communications Commission for the capability to jam cell phone signals from inside correctional facilities.
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DOC Revamps Training for Youth Prison Guards, (11/24/2016), Molly Beck

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections has initiated a new training program for guards/youth counselors working at the state's only youth facilities, Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls. The overhaul is a consequence of nearly every DOC official responsible for the youth prison either losing their jobs or quitting, and training emphasizes effective communication, proper handling of volatile situations and appropriate use of force.
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Vivitrol Emerging as a Drug Treatment Option, (11/27/2016), Judi Currie

Officials at the New Hampshire State Prison are using Vivitrol, a new drug that fights opioid addiction, with individuals who have completed their sentences and are being released. A single shot of Vivitrol given in the buttocks every four weeks blocks the effects of opioid drugs, and combined with behavioral therapy, may help halt the nation's opioid use epidemic. However, the drug is still new and unproven, and some agencies are reluctant to use it.
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Video: Texas Jail Teams Up With Animal Shelter to Launch Dog Program, (11/22/2016)

In Texas, the Travis County Correctional Complex and the Austin Animal Shelter collaborate on a program where inmates who have met certain criteria train shelter dogs once a week for 90 minutes. The inmates house-train the dogs and teach them obedience commands, learning a marketable skill and how to take responsibility.
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