Science and Technology News

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

New Technology Boosting Efforts of San Diego Police Helicopters
The San Diego Union-Tribune, (04/26/2017), David Garrick
New technology allows pilots in San Diego police helicopters to connect with ground support using the Internet. Officers use ruggedized computer tablets to connect to the police communications and dispatch systems while in the air. The system logs and provides post-flight mission reporting. Officers in helicopters were previously unable to access the department's computer-aided dispatch system.
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Sonoma County Law Enforcement Use Virtual Reality to Train Officers on Use of Force
The Press Democrat, (04/26/2017), Nick Rahaim
Law enforcement agencies in Sonoma County, Calif., are using simulators to train on use of force. The Santa Rosa Police Department is using a $192,000 use-of-force simulator purchased with federal grant money. The simulator has three laser-detecting cameras behind each of the three projection screens covering a 180-degree field of vision. A camera above the screens captures trainees' movements. The simulator has more than 100 scenarios. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office has purchased a $280,000 use-of-force simulator that uses five screens covering a 300-degree field of vision, providing an immersive experience.
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Deputy Saved by Bulletproof Vest During Tanger Outlet Shooting
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, (04/26/2017), Ellen Eldridge
A Banks County, Ga., sheriff's deputy was listed in stable condition after taking a hit to his ballistic-resistant vest while pursuing a robbery suspect at Tanger Outlet on April 26. Deputies responded to a late-afternoon call regarding an armed robbery at the Atlanta Dragway. When the deputy attempted to pull the suspect over near the mall, he got out, shot at the officer and then fled the scene.
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CPD to Roll Out New Crime Reporting Website
CBS Chicago, (04/21/2017)
The Chicago Police Department plans to have a new website residents can use to report criminal activity. The website,, is designed to be easier to use than its predecessor, TXT2TIP. The new site will run smoothly on mobile devices and will not require any app downloads or text messages to be sent, according to police. will also allow for more of a back and forth between police and those reporting an incident. The system is not designed to replace calling 11 in an emergency.
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Austin Police Eyes $300,000 Bomb Robot to Save Human Cops From Danger
American-Statesman, (04/28/2017), Mark Wilson
Austin police plan to purchase a new $300,000 bomb squad robot. The department has four robots in use, but they are aging and aren't as maneuverable as newer models. Austin police deploy the robots in SWAT situations and for calls involving suspicious packages or explosives.
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Local Law Enforcement Officers Learn to Identify Mental Health Issues
The Phoenix Reporter and Item, (05/01/17), Pete Bannan
Law enforcement officers in Chester County, Pa., recently participated in a Crisis Intervention Team training program together with mental health educators to improve community response and reduce the number of individuals with mental illness in jail. A group of 28 law enforcement and correctional officers in Chester County were trained. The purpose of the training is to de-escalate crisis situations and enhance safety and access to treatment. Crisis intervention training is focused on initial contact with law enforcement, which is one of five places a person suffering mental health issues can be diverted out of the criminal justice system.
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Norman Police Implement Body Cameras, In-Car Video Units Today
The Oklahoma Daily, (05/01/2017)
Police in Norman, Okla., have deployed 75 body-worn cameras and seven in-car video units to aid in department duties. The cameras will allow the department to record investigative contacts, aid in prosecuting criminal cases and provide better insight into service and incident calls, according to a press release.
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Hamden Police: Distracted Driving Caused Almost Solely by Cellphone Use
New Haven Register, (05/01/2017)
The Connecticut Department of Transportation's 2017 distracted driving campaign found that nearly all infractions were due to cellphone use, officials said. Of the 866 infractions issued by the Hamden Police Department between April 4 and April 29, 845 infractions, or 97.6 percent, were issued for distracted driving due to the use of cellphones. Other infractions included operating an unregistered motor vehicle, operating a vehicle without a license and seat belt violations.
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Corrections News

State Hopes Job Training Will Cut Inmate Returns to Prison
The Spokesman-Review, (04/25/2017), Jim Camden
A new Washington state law aims to expand prison education programs. The legislation calls for community colleges and the state's correctional institutions to develop more programs to provide inmates with associate degrees that will help them enter the workforce. Inmates who don't already have a postsecondary degree, and who have five years or less before their release, will be given priority. Those who don't meet those criteria will be required to pay the costs of participating in any program. Inmates who are facing life in prison without parole, or the death penalty, will not be eligible for the state-funded education programs.
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Contraband Detection Dog Mack to Join Merrimack County Jail Staff
Concord Monitor, (04/29/2017), Alyssa Dandrea
The Merrimack County Department of Corrections in New Hampshire is training a 20-month-old Belgian Malinois to detect contraband in correctional facilities. Officials are training the dog at the Boscawen jail, and he will assume residency at the facility this summer. Once trained, the dog will also be available to all county jails in the state who may request his services. Merrimack County's program was made possible by a $25,000 grant to help finance the dog's trips to and from other correctional facilities, his training and his handler's training, and his living space.
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Virginia Prisons Tapped to Learn More About Opioid Addiction Treatment
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (05/01/2017), Frank Green
The National Governor's Association has chosen Virginia and seven other states to study improved access to treatment for opioid-addicted arrestees and prisoners. The NGA said that officials from Virginia, Alaska, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey and Washington, will learn from Massachusetts, which has innovative models of treatment for "justice-involved populations" via drug courts and the correctional system. Participants will learn about residential treatment programs and naltrexone injection correctional programs and how they work with providers in communities. Participating states are to develop and execute six-month action plans for expanding access to opioid treatment.
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Full Body Scanner Coming to Mahoning Jail, (04/28/2017), Peter H. Milliken
Officials plan to install a full-body scanning system by mid-June at the Mahoning County jail in Ohio. The system, which can detect metallic and nonmetallic objects, will be installed in the jail's booking area to scan incoming inmates. County commissioners recently approved a resolution of necessity to support buying the $127,500 system.
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States Seek Shortened Probation and Parole for Many
Stateline, (04/27/2017), Terasa Wiltz
States are seeking ways to reduce the amount of time offenders spend on probation or parole. For example, in Georgia, a probation reform bill passed by the legislature would shorten probation sentences and reduce the caseloads of probation officers. In Michigan, legislation minimizes punishment for technical violations of probation to allow judges to shorten probation time for good behavior. South Dakota law allows people convicted of lesser crimes to be discharged from probation after a year for good behavior. Oklahoma and Louisiana have bills pending that would cut the time offenders spend on probation or parole. The push to overhaul probation comes in the wake of efforts to reduce jail and prison populations by reducing sentences for lesser offenses and moving many offenders to probation instead of serving jail or prison time.
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At Least 61,000 Nationwide Are in Prison for Minor Parole Violations
The Marshall Project, (04/23/2017), Eli Hager
As of early 2017, there were more than 61,250 technical parole violators in 42 state prison systems, according to a three-month survey of state corrections departments conducted by The Marshall Project. These inmates are currently locked up for breaking a rule of parole, rather than parolees who have been convicted of a new crime. Technical parole violations can include infractions such as missing an appointment or failing a drug test after serving time for a previous offense.
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Oklahoma Department of Corrections Hits Record Number of Inmates
Red Dirt Report, (04/27/2017), Heide Brandes
There are 62,000 people serving time in Oklahoma's correctional facilities, a record number of inmates incarcerated in the state, according to the Department of Corrections. Going along with the record number of prisoners is the increased workload of probation officers and correctional officers. Currently, 261 probation officers are working 130 cases on average each, and the ODOC has 1,803 correctional officers serving at facilities across the state. State prisons are at 109 percent inmate capacity, and ODOC Director Joe Allbaugh said relief is needed immediately.
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Over 20 Years, Nebraska Prison Officials Let 73 Inmates Defy Law by Not Submitting DNA Samples
Omaha World-Herald, (05/02/2017), Todd Cooper
For the past 20 years, Nebraska corrections officials have allowed 73 prisoners to defy state law by refusing to submit a DNA sample that could help authorities clear unsolved crimes. Under state law, and corresponding judges' orders, all convicted felons are required to submit a DNA sample. But if a prisoner says "no," Nebraska prison administrators have, over the past two decades, done little to force DNA collection, other than writing up the inmates or attempting to extend their sentences. Corrections spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith provided a written statement: "The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services is committed to collecting DNA samples pursuant to law." She said corrections officials order inmates "to submit to a swab or blood draw." Inmates who refuse "may receive multiple misconduct reports ... may be subject to discipline and loss of privileges." They also may lose their good-time credit for behaving.
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