Science and Technology News

Friday, March 17, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

New $16 Million 911 Center Under Construction (03/08/2017), Stephanie Taylor
Construction is underway on a $16 million Tuscaloosa County Emergency Operations and Communications Center that will house the 911 operations of all county agencies and the Emergency Management Agency. Work on the facility should be finished by December, with staff occupying the building next spring. Tuscaloosa and Northport police and fire departments, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office and Northstar Ambulance will all have space in the new building.
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Grants Help Police Crack Down on Speeding, Impaired Drivers
The Republican Journal, (03/08/2017), Ben Holbrook
The Belfast Police Department in Maine will use grants to target impaired drivers and speeders on the roads. For speed enforcement, a $10,000 grant will cover costs associated with the increased patrols and the new radar equipment for the department. Additional funding will cover increased patrols to identify impaired drivers.
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Okla. EMS Agency Equipped With Body Armor, (03/10/2017)
The Bryan County EMS in Oklahoma has added 30 ballistic-resistant vests to its protective gear for personnel. The agency's personnel will also undergo active shooter training with local law enforcement throughout the year.
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Houston Police Launch Enforcement & Information Campaign to Protect Bicyclists
Houston Public Media, (03/10/2017), Al Ortiz
Houston police have a campaign to protect bicyclists from vehicles on the city's streets. A 2013 city law requires passing vehicles to be at least three feet away from bicyclists, and trucks a minimum distance of six feet. The campaign will now enforce the law with a new C3FT device that measures the distance at which a vehicle passes a bicyclist. The campaign also raises awareness of the law by displaying electronic public safety messages and distributing brochures.
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FBI Unveils Plans for New Regional Computer Forensic Lab
Chelsea Record, (03/10/2017), Seth Daniel
The FBI plans to open a regional computer forensic lab in the new Chelsea, Mass., headquarters of the agency's Boston division. The lab can serve as a resource for area law enforcement agencies. Plans call to open the lab this spring.
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Use of High-Tech Tool to Locate Shooters May Greatly Expand in California Under Proposed Bill
Los Angeles Times, (03/13/2017), Patrick McGreevy
A California lawmaker wants to expand the use of gunshot location technology in the state. Eleven California cities currently use the gunshot detection system ShotSpotter, which uses a network of sound sensors to quickly triangulate gunshots and provide GPS coordinates for the shootings. State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia has introduced a bill to provide state grants to law enforcement agencies to pay for gunshot detection systems and other technology to improve policing.
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Alabama School Security and Student Safety Task Force Issues Report
Dothan First, (03/10/2017), Stephen Crews
Implementation of a statewide notification system allowing school systems to immediately inform Alabama officials of emergency situations is among the recommendations included in a final report from a school safety task force. Other sample recommendations from the Alabama School Security and Student Safety Task Force include designating an individual as a safety coordinator in each local school district, and requiring local school districts to develop simplified Emergency Operating Plans that comply with guidelines provided by the Department of Education.
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LPD Officers Equipped With Overdose-Reversal Drug
Lincoln Times-News, (03/13/2017), Michelle T. Bernard
Police in Lincolnton, N.C., are among the latest law enforcement officers to begin carrying Narcan (naloxone), a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. Patrol officers and school resource officers who are assigned a vehicle and are trained to administer the drug will carry the kit, which contains intra-nasal and/or auto-injector naloxone, in their vehicles while on duty.
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Crash Course: Law Enforcement Train for Chase by Practicing for High-Speed Pursuits
Daily Journal, (03/14/2017), Michele Holtkamp
The Johnson County Sheriff's Office in Indiana recently leased a driving simulator to help deputies train on how to drive during high-speed driving situations. The sheriff's office typically has trained at a driving course in Bartholomew County. The simulator allows for training on multiple road scenarios, including high-speed pursuit, and includes three large screens and virtual mirrors to offer as close to a real-life scenario as possible.
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Corrections News

Tacoma Approves Interim Rule to Block Expansion of Immigration Detention Center
The News Tribune, (03/08/2017), Candice Ruud
The Tacoma City Council has approved an emergency ordinance that will temporarily limit where public correctional facilities can be sited within city limits and ban new or expanded private correctional facilities. The ordinance creates an interim regulation that will last six months and targets any future expansion at the Northwest Detention Center, a privately owned and operated federal immigration detention center.
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R.I. Corrections Officials to Examine Their Use of Solitary Confinement
Providence Journal, (03/09/2017), Katie Mulvaney
The Rhode Island Department of Corrections is considering ways to improve the use of solitary confinement. One suggestion is to express what officials hope to achieve by placing prisoners in segregation and developing methods of monitoring its effectiveness in reaching goals such as increased security and deterring inmate misconduct. The department will also review its disciplinary classifications so prisoners will be on written notice about the disciplinary measures for various infractions. The plans were outlined to the state House of Representatives by the Special Legislative Commission to Study and Assess the Use of Solitary Confinement in Rhode Island.
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Plan to Build Prisons Advances in Alabama Legislature, (03/09/2017), Mike Cason
An Alabama state Senate panel has approved a plan to borrow up to $775 million to build three state prisons and renovate existing ones. The bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee would allocate $125 million for renovations. Under the plan, most of the existing men's prisons would close and be consolidated into three larger, regional prisons at sites to be determined. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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State Grant Would Help Santa Barbara County Keep Mentally Ill Out of Jail
Lee Central Coastal Newspapers, (03/12/2017), April Charlton
Santa Barbara County has applied for a $3.4 million grant from the California Board of State and Community Corrections for a program to promote alternatives to incarceration for the mentally ill. The county is competing with more than 50 other counties in the state for a portion of the $103 million in Proposition 47 funding, which would pay to start a pilot post-arrest diversion and support program in Santa Barbara. The aim of the pilot project would be to divert individuals with severe mental illness or substance abuse disorders to trauma-informed, community-based wraparound services. Treatment would be offered as an alternative to jail.
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Connecticut Prison in Cheshire Launches Program to Help Young Males
The Middletown Press, (03/14/2017), Luther Turmelle
A pilot program in the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Connecticut targets young men in an effort to keep them from becoming repeat offenders. Modeled on a program in Germany, the state Department of Correction's pilot program is for 70 male inmates between the ages of 18 and 25. Elements of the Cheshire prison program include using a selected group of older inmates, who are serving life sentences, to serve as mentors to their younger counterparts, and involving young inmates' families in the rehabilitation process.
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Bail Bond Reform Bills Introduced in Texas to Help Poor Defendants Get Out of Jail
Houston Chronicle, (03/08/2017), Lise Olsen
Proposed bail bond reform in Texas could eliminate cash bail for nonviolent offenders who are not deemed dangerous or a flight risk. Bills introduced in the Texas House and Senate would require judges to use a proven risk assessment tool and quickly determine within 48 hours whether a defendant accused of a nonviolent crime might be eligible for a personal bond, which carries a financial penalty only if the person fails to show up for court.
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Nevada Prisons Launch Program to Combat Opiate Addiction
Las Vegas Review-Journal, (03/14/2017), Lawren Linehan
The Nevada Department of Corrections plans to begin a pilot program in April in two prisons to use Vivitrol to help inmates with opiate addition. Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors in the brain and inhibits dopamine production, rendering no physical effect from drug use. Volunteer inmates will receive the initial injection for free a few days prior to their release, and will be set up with community providers who will continue the treatment. The program will include 100 inmates who are scheduled for release in the coming months.
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