Science and Technology News

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Criminal Justice Technology in the News






Orem Police Department Receives Body Armor Equipment Upgrade
KSL.com, (07/19/2016), Ashley Kewish

A Utah police department has received an upgrade in protective equipment. The Orem Police Department now has 85 ceramic-plated vests and 85 new helmets. The new equipment cost about $59,000.
Link to Article




Santa Maria Surveillance Cameras Successful in Deterring Crime, Police Say
KSBY, (07/20/2016), Fabiola Ramirez

Police in Santa Maria, Calif., say surveillance cameras installed in the past year are helping to deter crime. Eighteen camera pods were positioned at locations throughout the city based on the amount of crimes reported, including in Buena Vista Park. According to police, from January to July 2015, there were 126 calls for service to the park, compared to 84 calls during the same period this year. The department plans to get 15 new surveillance cameras in the next few months.
Link to Article


New Tablets Approved for Police Department
Daily Journal, (07/20/2016), Caleb Bedillion

Police in Tupelo, Miss., will be receiving new computer tablets. The City Council approved the purchase of the tablets and accessory equipment, which will cost about $50,000. The tablets will be issued to command staff, detectives and traffic officers, and are intended to replace and consolidate an array of devices currently in use.
Link to Article


Roadside Drug Testing Pilot Program Coming to Michigan
CCJ, (07/20/2016), Matt Cole

Michigan plans to implement a pilot program that will allow police to conduct roadside saliva tests to detect drugs in a driver's system. Michigan State Police would create a one-year pilot program in five counties, in which troopers that are "certified drug recognition experts" could conduct the tests during traffic stops if it appears the driver is under the influence. Troopers could conduct the test by swabbing the saliva of a driver. The test can determine the presence of Schedule 1-5 controlled substances, much like a breathalyzer detects alcohol.
Link to Article


Bronxville Police Installing 30 Security Cameras
lohud.com, (07/21/2016), Dan Reiner

Police in Bronxville, N.Y., are installing 30 security cameras throughout the village's one-square-mile radius. Eight of the cameras are already in place, and the department has used public and private cameras to solve crimes. The 24-hour surveillance cameras will not be used to enforce traffic violations like speeding or running red lights.
Link to Article


Catoosa County Sheriff's Department Using Simulator for In-Depth Training
Northwestgeorgianews.com, (07/21/2016), Adam Cook

The Catoosa County Sheriff's Department in Georgia is using a state-of-the-art use-of-force simulator to train law enforcement personnel for potential situations in the field. The simulator offers a variety of 670 scenarios, including ones for the jail detention center and active shooter scenarios.
Link to Article


DHS Completes Renovation of Forensics Lab
Homeland Security Today, (07/25/2016), Belle Hillenburg

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has completed an extensive renovation of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations laboratory in Tysons Corner, Va. The lab is used to assist in criminal investigations including document fraud, drug and weapons trafficking, cybercrimes and human smuggling. Renovations included adding an extensive research library of more than 300,000 travel and identity documents and reference materials; printing equipment to help identify fingerprints from weapons; and a digital media evidence laboratory for processing digital media files from surveillance footage and wiretaps.
Link to Article


NYPD Spending $7.5M on Heavy-Duty Vests, Ballistics Helmets for Officers
New York Daily News, (07/26/2016), Rocco Parascandola

New York City police officers will receive heavy-duty protective vests and ballistic helmets in response to the fatal shootings of police in Texas and Louisiana, authorities said. The 6,000 vests -- to be stored in the trunks of each of the department's 3,000 patrol cars -- will give officers an extra layer of protection - to be worn over their existing vests if they respond to active shooter incidents. The 20,000 ballistic helmets will be given to all uniformed patrol officers.
Link to Article


Corrections News
Man Jailed for Using Drone to Fly Drugs into Prisons
Press Association via The Guardian, (07/21/2016)

A man who used a drone to fly contraband into prisons has become the first person in the United Kingdom to be jailed for the offense, according to police. Daniel Kelly, 27, was jailed for 14 months at Maidstone crown court in Kent after admitting conspiracy to project an article into prison. Kent police said he had used the remote-control drone to smuggle items, including tobacco and the psychoactive drug Spice, into two prisons in Kent and one in Hertfordshire in April of this year.
Link to Article


Surveillance Drone Thwarts Prison Drug Smugglers
Newsweek, (07/18/2016), Anthony Cuthbertson

Northward Prison in the Cayman Islands successfully deployed a drone to prevent an attempted drug delivery. The Cayman Islands Prison Service arranged to train the prison guards on how to fly camera-equipped quadcopters for surveillance. During a training session in May, a drone spotted two men carrying backpacks leaving the prison's perimeter through bushes. While prison staff were unable to apprehend the men, they did retrieve a large stash of marijuana that had been thrown over the prison fence.
Link to Article


Cellphones in the Hands of Inmates Causing Problems
WSPA, (07/21/20160, Eryn Rogers

Cellphones continue to be one of the leading types of contraband seized in South Carolina prisons. Last year, officials confiscated more than 1,600 phones from inmates, up several hundred from the previous year. Officials will ask state lawmakers to push for stricter punishments for people who bring cellphones to inmates. The most common way people attempt to get contraband into prisons is to throw it over the fence. They also use drones, delivery trucks and food.
Link to Article


Digitizing the 21st-Century Prison
Next City, (07/19/2016), Christopher Moraff

In July, inmates in more than 100 American penal institutions will begin receiving federal financial aid for higher education for the first time in more than two decades. Under the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, 67 institutions of higher learning are participating, and 12,000 inmates in 27 states are expected to benefit from the program, which offers exemptions to a 1994 ban on needs-based Pell grants for inmates. But a report released by the Vera Institute of Justice cites obstacles faced by inmates seeking to earn college credit. These include a lack of effective digital learning resources in correctional facilities. Some companies are marketing tablet technology to prisons to aid inmate education.
Link to Article


Teaching Prison Inmates About Their Own Brain Trauma Could Help Them Rehabilitate
Newsweek, (06/29/2016), Erika Hayasaki

Researchers are studying the possible connection between traumatic brain injury and criminal behavior and how to use the data to aid inmate rehabilitation. Traumatic brain injury research is ongoing in 15 correctional sites, probation programs and courts across Colorado. Researchers are screening 1,200 adult inmates and probationers, 500 juvenile offenders, some sex offenders and a separate cohort of veterans who pass through specialized courts. Based on preliminary results, they expect the numbers to be dramatically higher than traumatic brain injury rates in the general public.
Link to Article


GPS Tracker Leads Police to Man Wanted for Two Homicides
Associated Press via NBC4i.com, (07/25/2016)

Police in Myrtle Beach, S.C., say they were able to find a man wanted in a double homicide because he was wearing a GPS device after an earlier burglary conviction. Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby said that 29-year-old Calvin Derrell Ford of Myrtle Beach was arrested and faces two counts of murder and weapons charges. Myrtle Beach Police say Ford was on GPS monitoring by the Horry County Sheriff's Department and the GPS unit confirmed Ford was at the shooting location at the time it happened.
Link to Article


Holbrook Man Sent to Prison for Area Break-ins
Brockton Patch, (07/25/2016), Daniel Libon

A Holbrook, Mass., man has been sentenced to serve 10 to 13 years in state prison for a series of break-ins in three South Shore towns, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. Jamie Johnson, 39, was found guilty in July on three counts each of breaking and entering in the nighttime and larceny over $250.  Johnson was arrested in September 2013 during the commission of a housebreak in the town of Randolph. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of a pair of gloves and flashlight and was wearing a GPS monitoring device that had been issued to him by the Quincy District Court Probation Department. Utilizing GPS technology, Detective Kim Jones of the Marshfield Police Department was able to determine that Johnson was at the scene of 10 housebreaks in the towns of Marshfield, Hanson and Pembroke between May and September 2012.
Link to Article


This Guy Trains Computers to Find Future Criminals
Bloomberg, (07/18/2016), Joshua Brustein

Risk scores, generated by algorithms, are an increasingly common factor in sentencing. Computers crunch data on arrests, type of crime committed, and demographic information, and a risk rating is generated. Similar tools are used to decide which blocks police officers should patrol, where to put inmates in prison, and who to release on parole. Supporters of these tools claim they'll help solve historical inequities, but their critics say they have the potential to aggravate them - by hiding old prejudices under the veneer of computerized precision.
Link to Article

2016 Video Quality in Public Safety (VQiPS) Workshop



A workshop on video quality in public safety will be held August 31 - September 1, 2016, in Seattle, Wash. Those who should attend include public safety (e.g., law enforcement, fire response, emergency medical services), representatives from standards development organizations, industry and federal partners.

Limited invitational travel is available for members of local, state and federal first responder agencies. If you believe you qualify, please email your request to Chris.Espinoza@associates.hq.dhs.gov. Attendees will discover ways to meet their video system planning, designing, operating and sustainment needs. (An additional contact for information is Joe Heaps of the National Institute of Justice at heapsj@ojp.usdoj.gov.) Check the S&T Events Page for details as they become available:
https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/2016-video-quality-public-safety-workshop.