Science and Technology News

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Law Enforcement News

Smartphone App Launched to Help Solve Arson and Explosive Incidents
KKTV 11, (06/22/2017), Khloe Keeler
Following a successful pilot program, the Colorado Springs Police Department has implemented full-time use of the Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS). Defined as "Facebook for bomb technicians," BATS allows officers to put in information about an explosion or arson case and share it with other agencies nationwide.
Link to Article


Zombie Apocalypse Simulation Helps Bike Cops Train for Crowds
Bicycling, (06/22/2017), Molly Hurford
To combat low volunteer turnout for past training events, the International Police Mountain Bike Association staged a zombie apocalypse for a recent team-training event held in Delaware, Ohio. Some 40 officers from 25 different agencies took part in the event, which drew a much larger number of volunteers than in the past and allowed officers to improve their crowd control skills.
Link to Article


Local Officials Walk in the Shoes of Dementia Sufferers
Eagle-Tribute, (06/22/2017), Allison DeAnglis
Law enforcement officers, public safety professionals and elected officials in Salem, N.H., participated in "A Walk in Their Shoes" training on June 21, World Alzheimer's Day, to introduce greater empathy for dementia suffers. Participants tried to find objects in a purse or unlock a door while wearing popcorn kernels in their shoes to simulate neuropathy and using special glasses to introduce visual impairment. At the same time, headphones played the voices of many people speaking simultaneously.
Link to Article


Union Files Complaint Over Nebraska State Troopers' Out-of-Warranty Bulletproof Vests
Omaha World-Herald, (06/24/2017), Paul Hammel
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has ordered a review of the State Patrol's policies and leadership following the filing of a complaint by the State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council regarding state troopers' wearing ballistic-resistant vests that are out of warranty. Wearing the out-of-date vests exposes the officers to greater danger on the job and also exposes the state to increased liability in the event of an incident involving the armor.
Link to Article


Why This Police Department Now Needs to Carry Narcan for Dogs
NJ.com, (06/25/2017), Amanda Hoover
Officers in New Jersey's Bergen Township now carry auto-injectable naloxone for use in canines believed to be suffering from opioid exposure. This type of naloxone is believed to be more effective in K9s than the nasal spray commonly used for humans. Dogs can be exposed to the deadly drugs both through their paw pads and through their noses.
Link to Article


In a Heartbeat: More Police Officers Are Carrying AEDs
The Municipal, (05/18/2017), Julie Young
This article looks at the benefits that can be obtained by having police officers carry AEDs in their patrol cars. Although there is expense involved in obtaining the equipment, the value of the lives saved can far outweigh the cost, according to the author.
Link to Article


Courts News

Courtroom Renovation Modernizes Historic Courthouse
Press-Citizen, (06/22/2017), Stephen Gruber-Miller
An extensive renovation project to a courtroom in Johnson County, Iowa, has restored and retained much of the 116-year-old structure's historic appearance while at the same time bringing in 21st century technology, such as state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and Internet access. The courthouse also recently beefed up its security with more staff and a walk-through metal detector to secure the main entrance.
Link to Article


Corrections News

Keaton: Suits for Success Gives Former Prisoners New Start in Life
Chicago Tribune, (06/22/2017), Susan Keaton for the Naperville Sun
Suits for Success has provided some 1,500 suits to correctional facilities in Illinois to be given to just-released former inmates. The nonprofit group collects both cleaned, pressed, unclaimed clothing from dry cleaners and other gently used clothing, which formerly incarcerated persons can wear for job interviews. Recidivism rates decline greatly among individuals who find employment after their release.
Link to Article


Wyoming Prisons Use Unique Education Program to Improve Inmate Literacy
Star-Tribune, (06/25/2017), Seth Klamann
Some dozen instructors trained by the Institute for Multi-Sensory Education of Orton-Gillingham have implemented a literacy program in five Wyoming correctional facilities aimed at teaching inmates to read phonetically. Designed in the 1930s for use by children with dyslexia, the system breaks words down into their component parts for easier comprehension, rather than relying on memorization. Improving inmate literacy could increase individuals' chances of finding employment on release.
Link to Article


Coming to the Anchorage Jail: Nature Imagery to Stave Off Sensory Deprivation in Solitary Inmates
Alaska Dispatch News, (06/25/2017), Michelle Theriault Boots
Inmates held in solitary confinement in the Anchorage Jail will soon be able to schedule time in a "green room" where they can watch nature videos. Inmates in solitary confinement spend 23 hours a day alone in their cells, with no sensory stimulation, no access to television or DVDs and only limited access to reading material. The goal is to make solitary confinement less psychologically damaging.
Link to Article


US Supreme Court Strikes Down NC Sex Offender Social Media Ban
The News & Observer, (06/19/2017), Anne Blythe
A challenge by a registered sex offender in North Carolina has led to the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning a state law that prohibited registered sex offenders from accessing any social media sites that can be joined by minors. Lester Gerard Parkingham Jr. created a Facebook page under an assumed name and was charged by Durham police under the law. The question in the case centered on whether the law prohibited individuals from participating in a type of media that has become a key part of society.
Link to Article


Exclusive: Empty Guard Towers Allowed Carjacker to Escape Maximum Security Prison
USA Today, (06/23/2017), Kevin Johnson
A six-year-old policy to not staff guard towers at the Atwater Penitentiary in California played a key role in allowing a recent prisoner escape. Although a correctional officer created a video reenactment of how convicted carjacker Guaymar Cabrera Hernandez managed to scale a fence unseen, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has not changed its policy. Hernandez was subsequently recaptured.
Link to Article


Topeka Man Took Part in Robbery While Wearing GPS Monitoring Device
KSN.com, (06/26/2017)
A Topeka man has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a commercial robbery while wearing a monitoring device. Christopher Allen Bush admitted that he drove a getaway vehicle during a convenience store robbery. Bush was wearing the device post-release on convictions for aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
Link to Article

Friday, June 23, 2017

ATF, Colorado Springs PD Demonstrate Mobile App for Explosives Reporting



COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Explosive devices? There is an app for that.

The mobile Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS), developed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives through the U.S. Bomb Data Center, allows bomb squads and fire investigators to report incidents from any mobile device. The Colorado Springs Police Department Regional Explosives Unit was one of the first squads in the country to pilot the new app in 2015, and their critical feedback supported a new release of the app nationwide earlier this past spring.

Mobile BATS centralizes incident reporting, notification and information sharing to help bomb squads detect, deter and prevent future criminal and terrorist attacks in real time.

    What: Mobile BATS demonstration and availability for interviews
    Who:   Special Agent Tim Kelly, ATF’s Denver Arson and Explosives Group Supervisor Sergeant Chris Arseneau, CSPD Regional Explosives Unit Supervisor
    **CSPD Chief Pete Carey, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder and ATF Special Agent in Charge Debora Livingston will provide brief statements but are not available for questions.***
    Where: CSPD Police Operations Center, 705 S Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, CO, 80903
    When: Thursday, June 22, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Please RSVP by 4 p.m., June 21, to PIO Lisa Meiman at ATF’s Denver Field Division at 303-575-7611 or Lisa.Meiman@atf.gov (link sends e-mail). Media should plan to be on site by 11:15 a.m.

About the U.S. Bomb Data Center and BATS
The U.S. Bomb Data Center (USBDC) serves as the national repository for explosives- and arson-related incidents. Its purpose is to collect data and to provide those federal, state and local agencies having jurisdiction with information and intelligence to assist in the investigation of bombings, arson, and the criminal misuse of explosives. The database that houses this information and the source of intelligence is the Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS). BATS contains information on more than 450,000 explosives- and arson-related incidents investigated by ATF, FBI and other federal state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies. Currently the USBDC has more than 2,500 interagency partners and more than 12,000 registered users of BATS.

Mobile BATS provide agencies with a system for real-time reporting of explosives and arson related incidents into BATS from any mobile device. By permitting on-scene access to BATS, investigators can provide more timely and comprehensive incident information into the database and to investigators within their area and nationwide.

Please see the attached fact sheet for more information on the U.S. Bomb Data Center.

About the Colorado Springs Police Department Regional Explosives Unit
The Regional Explosives Unit, comprised of Colorado Springs Police Officers and El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputies, is responsible for all explosives related calls in the South Central Region of Colorado to include the counties of El Paso, Teller, Park, Lake and Chaffee. The unit is staffed by five full-time bomb technicians, and 10 part-time technicians and para-technicians. In 2015, the Unit also assumed all arson investigations for the City of Colorado Springs. The Regional Explosives Unit is accredited as a bomb squad by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and routinely works with numerous federal agencies. The Unit works in concert with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on all domestic explosives-related cases.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Law Enforcement News

Cops Given Special Gear So They Don't OD During Drug Busts
The Daily Caller, (06/15/2017), Steve Birr
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Police Department recently began to train its officers in the use of special protective gear when responding to a drug scene, although the officers are advised, if possible, to wait for trained crime scene technicians to handle any potential drug-related substance. The department has responded to 62 drug overdose incidents so far in 2017, many of them related to fentanyl.
Link to Article


Officer Saved by Bulletproof Vest During Armed Home Invasion
WXIA, (06/16/2017), Catherine Park
A Hall County, Ga., sheriff's deputy survived a shot to the torso during a response to a home invasion thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest. The call took place around midnight on June 15, and the officer was treated and released at a nearby hospital. All suspects in the case are in custody.
Link to Article


App Gives Responders Mental Health Info for Better Decisions
GCN, (06/15/2017), Stephanie Kanowitz
The RideAlong app integrates with the national 911 system to allow law enforcement officers to access information on how best to interact with registered individuals who have a mental illness. Officers can search the system to see if the individual in question is registered; system profiles indicate how to approach and interact with a particular person.
Link to Article


Law Enforcement Turns to Social Media to Get More Recruits
The Wichita Eagle, (06/20/2017), Stan Finger
Law enforcement agencies throughout Kansas have begun using the power of video to assist with recruiting. The Topeka Police Department has produced a recruiting video that plays in local movie theaters, and the Wichita Police Department is in the process of posting an ongoing weekly series of video clips that follows a recruit class through the training academy in a reality show style format. Other agencies have joined the trend as well as departments continue to have difficulty recruiting new officer candidates.
Link to Article


Courts News

2 Tenn. Deputies Wounded, Suspect Dead in Courthouse Shooting
CorrectionsOne.com, (06/20/2017), Rosanna Hughes for the Chattanooga Times/Free Press
Two deputies have been treated for injuries sustained when an inmate took a gun from one of them at the Coffee County, Tenn., courthouse and used it against both men before escaping to the street. Michael Eugene Bell shot himself in the head two blocks away; he was at the courthouse on charges of facing charges for kidnapping, domestic assault and evading arrest.
Link to Article


Corrections News

Alabama Plans to Supply Prisoners With Tablet Computers, Wi-Fi for Education, Phone Calls
AL.com, (06/21/2017), Connor Sheets
The Alabama Department of Corrections plans to supply every dorm in all of Alabama's correctional facilities with some 15 to 20 tablets that inmates can use for both secure Internet access for educational purposes and to make phone calls. Alabama had launched a successful pilot program at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in 2015; the program is similar to ones in place in several other states.
Link to Article


There's No Cheap Talk When It Comes to Prison Calls
HeraldNet, (06/14/2017), Ann E. Marimow for the Washington Post
On June 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, by a 2-1 decision, found that the Federal Communications Commission had exceeded its authority in attempting to regulate and reduce the cost of calls made to prisons from within the same state in which they are located. Although the judges acknowledged that the cost of the calls can be exorbitant, they still found that the FCC had no authority to cap those costs.
Link to Article


PA Cashes in on Over Crowding in Vermont Prisons
CBS Philly, (06/13/2017), Kristen Johanson
Due to overcrowding in Vermont correctional facilities, nearly 300 long-term Vermont inmates are now lodged at the Camp Hill correctional facility near Harrisburg. Pennsylvania prisons have more than 5,000 empty beds, leading to the long-term housing arrangement with Vermont.
Link to Article


Inmates Fly Mobile Phones, Drugs and Porn Into Jail — Via Drone
USA Today, (06/15/2017), Waseem Abbasi
An investigation by USA Today staff into U.S. Department of Justice documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show more than a dozen attempts to smuggle items such as cell phones, drugs and pornography into federal prisons over a five-year span. Current technologies are not able to stop incursions by the unmanned aircraft, with state correctional facilities reporting similar attempts.
Link to Article


Two South Carolina Correctional Officers Injured Taking Cellphone From Inmate in Edgefield
The Post and Courier, (06/15/2017), Maya Prabhu
Two South Carolina state correctional officers sustained non-life threatening injuries incurred when trying to take a contraband cellphone from an inmate at Trenton Correctional Facility in Edgefield. When the officers attempted to take the phone away from one man, they were assaulted by several others.
Link to Article


Should Correctional Facilities Use Rainwater to Reduce Water Consumption?
Corrections.com, (06/19/2017), Klaus Reichardt
This article looks at the feasibility of corrections facilities' collecting rainwater to achieve increased conservation and reduce costs. Factors to consider include local rainfall, cost of installing a system and to what extent the water needs to be treated before it can be used.
Link to Article


Tennessee Prisons Will Serve as a Guinea Pig for On-Site Cell Phone Forensics
Nashville Public Radio, (06/20/2017), Natasha Senjanovic
Tennessee will soon begin on-site analysis of contraband cell phones confiscated in the state's correctional facilities. Special computers required for the analysis will be installed in all facilities; the hardware will be paid for by a federal grant.
Link to Article


Data From Electronic Monitoring Helps Greensboro Police Connect Man to Attempted Robbery
Fox 8, (06/13/2017)
Forensic evidence and data points collected from an electronic monitoring device have connected a Greensboro, N.C., resident with an attempted commercial robbery. Adam Parker was wearing the device while on release pending trial on charges of possession of firearm by a felon and felony carrying a concealed weapon.
Link to Article


Monitoring Bracelet Leads to Robbery Arrest
The News-Gazette, (06/17/2017), Mary Schenk
An Urbana, Ill., man who was wearing an electronic monitoring device while out on bond pending trial on a charge of residential burglary and criminal trespass has been arrested for his possible role in an armed holdup. Surveillance video showed that one of the two men who committed the holdup, later identified as Robert Golden, wore an electronic monitoring device, and data points from Golden's device placed him at the scene of the incident.
Link to Article


New Model Penal Code for Criminal Sentencing Approved by the American Law Institute: Comprehensive Reform Recommendations for State Legislatures
University of Minnesota, Robina Institute News (06/2017)
This analysis piece takes an in-depth look at the recently approved America Law Institute's Model Penal Code: Sentencing, which revises the 1962 Model Penal Code.
Link to Article


Back to Business: How Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Job Seekers Benefits Your Company
American Civil Liberties Union, (06/08/2017)
This new release sends readers to a new report titled Back to Business: How Hiring Formerly Incarcerated Job Seekers Benefits Your Company. The report, from the Trone Center for Justice & Equality, looks at how companies can tap into a vast potential workforce (70 million Americans have a criminal record) by hiring the formerly incarcerated.
Link to Article


Lake County Jail Getting Body Scanner to Deter Drug Smuggling
The News-Herald, (06/14/2017), Andrew Cass
After two inmates in the Lake County, Ohio, jail died from opioid overdoses in December 2015, the sheriff's office requested the purchase of a body scanner to detect drugs being smuggled into the facility, and following a third death in March 2017, the office received permission from the county commissioners to make that purchase. Sheriff Frank Leonbruno says numerous other nearby counties already use the scanning devices.
Link to Article