Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Law Enforcement News

DHS S&T Inaugurates New Explosive Detection System Testing Facility
ExecutiveGov, (04/06/2017), Scott Nicholas
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate has opened a facility at DHS' Transportation Security Laboratory in New Jersey for testing and evaluation of explosives detection systems. DHS said the new building, located at the William J. Hughes Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center, includes space for specialized explosive storage and handling and multi-laboratory infrastructure built to assess blast mitigation, contraband and explosives detection technologies. The facility will also help TSL assess commercial explosives detection equipment designed for checkpoint environments and check-in luggage inspection areas.
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Law Enforcement Utilizing Crowdsourcing Tech to Fight Child Pornography
The Daily Progress, (04/04/2017), Lauren Berg
A national initiative is using image-analyzing software and crowdsourcing technology to fight child pornography. The technology being used by the Campaign for Child Rescue was presented during a panel discussion at a recent Southern Region meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General in Charlottesville, Va. The project, launched in February, currently includes Virginia and four other states. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring noted that rather than each state or law enforcement agency conducting investigations on their own, they can be linked and multiple investigations can be conducted at the same time, and the more agencies that participate, the better.
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County, E911 Working on $3M Radio and Infrastructure Project
Boone News-Republican, (04/07/2017), Jason W. Brooks
Officials in Boone County, Iowa, are devising a plan to improve radio coverage for first responders. The project would tie the county into a statewide system of relay points and equipment to help erase coverage gaps. Currently, some areas of the county are far from relay points attached to towers, preventing first responders from talking to each other. Boone County will need to fund the purchase of 77 mobile radios, which can be installed in either vehicles or into a console in a building, along with about 160 handheld portable radios.
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Portland Secures Funding for Body Camera Pilot Program
Bangor Daily News, (04/07/2017), Jake Bleiberg
Portland, Maine, will use federal funds for a police body-worn camera program. The U.S. Department of Justice will allow the city to repurpose $26,000 in unspent funds from an existing federal grant to outfit officers with the cameras. The grant will cover body cameras for eight officers to allow police to test the technology before its adoption by the entire department.
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Kinston Police Start New Initiative to Catch Suspects on Camera
WNCT, (04/07/2017), Kelly Byrne
The Kinston (N.C.) Police Department is asking businesses and residents with surveillance cameras to share the images to fight crime. Under the program, people would register and voluntarily share video in the event of a crime occurring nearby.
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Woodstock Police Adopt Body-Worn Cameras
AJC, (04/07/2017), David Ibata
Police in Woodstock, Ga., are now equipped with body-worn cameras. The program is funded by a $60,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. Officials reviewed 17 models of body-worn cameras over nearly 18 months before selecting what type of cameras to use.
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Corrections News

Corrections Launching Study on Mentally Ill Inmates in County Jails
WESA, (04/05/2017), Katie Meyer
Pennsylvania is embarking on a long-term plan to reduce the numbers of mentally ill inmates in county prisons. The Department of Corrections is working with the Council of State Governments Justice Center to implement a program called Stepping Up to improve the consistency on how mentally ill inmates are handled. Thirteen Pennsylvania counties have joined the effort so far. The group will collect data to help form a plan to standardize how mentally ill inmates are treated, and potentially reroute them to more appropriate care.
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Bill Would Allow Elderly Life Without Parole Inmates a Hearing on Release
Missourinet.com, (4/07/2017), Jason Taylor
A bill introduced in the Missouri state legislature could make it possible for older prison inmates to get early release. Under the bill, a person 65 or older with no prior violent felony convictions, and who is serving a life sentence without parole, must receive a parole hearing on serving 25 years. Anyone released under the proposal's provisions would be subject to five years of supervision by a parole board. Convicted sex offenders would not be eligible for release.
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New York Prisons See Jump in Older Inmates
Press-Republican, (04/06/2017), Joe Mahoney
The number of inmates over age 50 in New York's prisons has risen as the overall number of inmates has declined, according to an audit by the state comptroller's office. New York's total prison population fell to about 52,000 over the past 10 years, a decrease of nearly 11,000, the audit found. In that same period, the number of inmates aged 50 or older increased by 46 percent, to more than 10,000.
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To Fight Drugs, Virginia Prison Inmates Will Change Underwear Before Visits and Get Photocopied Mail
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (04/09/2017), Frank Green
The Virginia Department of Corrections is changing visitation and mail policies to stem drugs in prisons. Inmates at many prisons will change into state-issued underwear for visits with outsiders; vending machine purchases by visitors will be restricted; and incoming mail will be photocopied for delivery to inmates and the original mail shredded. Nine inmates have died since 2015 of heroin and fentanyl overdoses, said DOC spokeswoman Lisa Kinney. She said that last year, 31 visitors were caught attempting to bring drugs into prisons, and drugs were caught in the mail 12 times.
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