Science and Technology News

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Using Cell Phones to Fight Crime
Chicago Tribune, (02/02/2017), Hannah Leone for the Aurora Beacon-News
The Aurora (Ill.) Police Department has launched a campaign titled "Click, then Call," with the intent of encouraging residents to use their cell phones to take photos and video of suspicious activity, then share them with the department. In a news release, the Aurora PD referred to cell phones as "portable surveillance tools" that have helped them solve crimes in the past. If more citizens do so in the future, the hope is it may result in more solved crimes, according to the release.
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Bethlehem Launches 'Take Me Home' Program to Protect Those Who Wander
Allentown Morning Call, (02/03/2017), Nicole Radzievich
Bethlehem, Penn., has implemented Take Me Home, a free program in which family members can register a person in need of special assistance, such as someone with cognitive or developmental disabilities. If a registered person wanders away from home, police can access a database that provides them with a photograph and vital information, such as contact information. Link to Article

New FBI Wanted App: Making It Easier to Find Fugitives and Missing Persons, (02/06/2017)
The just-released FBI Wanted mobile app allows the public to view, search, sort, filter and bookmark the full range of information issued by the FBI, including pictures and descriptions of wanted fugitives, missing persons, crime suspects, deceased victims and others the Bureau is seeking to locate or identify. The free app works on Apple and Android devices, including smartphones, iPads and iPods. The FBI hopes that the public will use the information in the app to help solve cases and return missing persons to their homes.
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Des Moines Police Using Body Cameras. Will You Be Able to See the Video?
Des Moines Register, (02/07/2017), Kathy A. Bolten and MacKenzie Elmer
Using money from private donations, drug forfeitures and city funds, the city of Des Moines, Iowa, will spend $1.6 million to outfit some 300 officers with body cameras by the end of March. The police department has selected a model that "talks" to the in-car video camera through Wi-Fi, includes one minute of silent "prerecording" capability and can track officers' movements via GPS.
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Not Without 'Hiccups,' Rice County Law Enforcement Adapts to New Computer System
Faribault Daily News, (02/08/2017), Gunnar Olson
Two months after the launch of a new computer system, the three law enforcement agencies in Minnesota's Rice County see both pros and cons in the new system, which involves three major components: computer-aided dispatch (CAD), field-based reporting and records management. Its new GPS system is a plus, but there also has been a learning curve in many aspects of using the system.
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Corrections News

SC Prisons Agency Seeks to Reduce Contraband With Netting, (02/01/2017), Seanna Adcox for the Associated Press
The South Carolina State Fiscal Accountability Authority has approved $113,400 in funding for the design phase of a project designed to reduce the amount of contraband reaching the state's correctional facilities. The state corrections agency wants to install 50-foot-high poles, mesh designed to withstand up to 160 pounds of force and rope borders with a breaking strength of 5,500 pounds, rising nearly 40 feet higher than existing fencing. There were 28 incidents of contraband thrown over fences into correctional facilities in December 2016 alone.
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New Twist on File-in-Cake Scheme: Drones Flying Over Prison Walls
Charlotte Observer, (02/08/2017), Ames Alexander
As drones become less expensive, they more often become the avenue of choice for individuals intent on smuggling contraband into correctional facilities. In South Carolina, legislation that recently passed the state Senate would make it a misdemeanor to fly a drone within 500 feet around or 250 feet above a prison or jail without written consent from the state prisons director. The state has also built watchtowers to assist in the search for drones, and other states are taking countermeasures as well.
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