Science and Technology News

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Indiana Launches Predictive Crash Tool for Citizens, First Responders
Government Technology, (11/15/2016), Eyragon Eidam

Indiana has a new website to help drivers and first responders with predicting and avoiding traffic accidents. The Crash Prediction Website is an effort between the Indiana State Police and the Management and Performance Hub, which provides centralized data sharing, correlation and analysis. The website maps the probability of fatal and nonfatal traffic accidents based on a range of available data. The predictive portal shows the probability of accidents across the state within three-hour windows throughout the day. Risk decisions are based on the combination of weather, traffic, road conditions, time of day, historical information and census data.
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FWB Police to Start Wearing Body Cameras, (11/30/2016), Tony Judnich

Police in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will soon be wearing body cameras. The city will purchase 35 body cameras for its officers, and 35 vehicle cameras to replace outdated patrol car cameras. Police say the use of body cameras can improve policing practices and community relations.
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Several Universities Have Gunshot-Detection Technology. UMD Might Follow Suit
The Diamondback, (12/01/2016), Michael Brice-Saddler

University of Maryland police are piloting gunshot-detection technology on campus. The SecureCampus technology, developed by ShotSpotter, can pinpoint the location of gunfire using strategically placed sensors that would allow police to identify how many weapons are being fired and distinguish between multiple guns of the same model. For the six-month pilot period, 10 sensors were installed on the rooftops of various campus buildings. More than half a dozen U.S. universities currently use SecureCampus.
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Police Use Drunk Volunteers for Field Sobriety Training
WECT, (12/01/2016), Amanda Weston

Police from several North Carolina towns and cities recently used volunteers who had been drinking liquor to practice tests designed to spot impaired drivers. The tests included having the subject follow an officer's finger with their eyes, walk toe-to-heel in a straight line and stand on one foot for balance. Officers from Leland, Southport, Wrightsville Beach, Shallotte, Surf City and Oak Island participated in the training.
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WSU Researchers Create Bias Training Simulator for Officers
KREM, (12/01/2016), Matt Vergara

Researchers at the Washington State University Spokane campus have created simulation gear to help police train for situations requiring deadly force. Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory researchers combined video scenarios modeled after evidence and research from actual police-involved shootings to create the Counter Bias Training Simulation and test the implicit bias of officers. Most implicit bias trainings are taught in classes, but the simulation will put trainees in real-life, tense situations with actors of different races who portray people of various backgrounds and economic statuses.
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NIJ Awards Grant for Tool to Trace Counterfeit Bills
SecuringIndustry, (12/01/2016)

The National Institute of Justice has awarded a grant to a Sam Houston State University researcher to develop chemical signatures that can be used to identify fake currency and documents. Patrick Buzzini, an associate professor in the Department of Forensic Science, will use the grant to develop technology that will allow illicit copies produced with color inkjet printers to be traced back to the source. He is collaborating with the U.S. Secret Service on the project. More than 60 per cent of counterfeit bank notes classified by the Secret Service are made using inkjet printers because of their low cost and wide availability.
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Expanding Smart Car Fleet, New York Police Just Got More 'Adorable'
The New York Times, (12/01/2016), Rick Rojas

The New York Police Department is expanding its fleet of Smart cars to replace its three-wheeled scooters. The two-seater cars have red and blue lights and the insignia of the police department. The Smart cars are safer, cheaper and easier to operate than the scooters. In addition, they can serve as an icebreaker with the public. The department currently has 150 of the small cars in service and plans to add at least 75 more.
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Dog-Nose-Inspired Adapter Improves Trace Detection of Explosives
RTT News, (12/02/2016)

By mimicking how dogs sniff, a team of government and university researchers fitted a dog-inspired plastic nose to an explosives detector, and reported improved efficiency. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fitted a dog-nose-inspired adapter, made on a 3D printer, to the front end of a commercially available explosives detector. Adding the artificial dog nose to enable active sniffing improved odorant detection by up to 18 times, depending on the distance from the source. "Applying this bio-inspired design principle could lead to significantly improved vapor samplers for detecting explosives, narcotics, pathogens-even cancer," according to lead researcher Matthew Staymates.
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Courts News

County Will Upgrade Its Electronic Court System
Huron Daily Tribune, (12/05/2016), Bradley Massman

Courtrooms in Huron County, Mich., are getting an upgraded communications system. The existing system has saved taxpayers and authorities close to $3 million since 2010. The updated Polycom systems will be installed in early 2017. The system is used to conduct arraignments electronically and handle other proceedings, including video testimony.
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Corrections News

CDCR Launches Email Notification System for Victims of Violent Crimes
CBS Sacramento, (12/01/2016)

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has launched an email notification service to inform violent crime victims when their offenders are being released from custody. The new Automated Email Notification Service sends real-time alerts to digital devices to those who have signed up, providing a 90-day advance notice of the release of an offender. The CDCR currently delivers more than 20,000 notifications each year to victims. The new system streamlines the process.
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Sheriff's Office Rolls Out Inmate Search Database
Times-Herald, (12/01/2016), Kayla Galloway

The Solano County Sheriff's Office website has a new search feature to ease access to information about inmates in county detention centers. The feature will allow users to search for current inmates in all of the California county's detention centers. Users can schedule video visitations with inmates, purchase commissary goods for inmates and access inmates' personal information, including bail totals, birth dates, court dates and whether the individual has been sentenced in court.
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Ohio Senate Approves Bill Allowing Prisoner Transfer to Private Facilities
Nardonia Hills News-Leader, (12/02/2016), Marc Kovac and David Skolnick

The Ohio State Senate has approved legislation that would allow prisoners to be transferred to private facilities. The bill now goes to the Ohio House for consideration. Proponents say the measure would allow the state to take advantage of inmate beds left vacant when the federal government ended contracts to house federal prisoners at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown.
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How Connecticut Became a Model for Prison Reform
The Crime Report, (12/05/2016), Christopher Moraff

Connecticut has seen its prison population fall to a 20-year low due to reform measures. More than a decade ago, Connecticut embraced a justice reinvestment initiative, diverting $13 million into community supervision and re-entry programs. In 2015, the state began an aggressive set of reform measures that included a repeal of the state's strict drug laws, and made it easier for inmates to gain parole. In September 2016, the state's prison population dropped below 15,000 for the first time since January 1997. Other legislation will raise the age for juvenile transfers to adult court from 16 to 18 by 2019. Also, changes to school disciplinary measures have led to a drop in the number of young adults being arrested.
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