Science and Technology News

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Four Municipal Police Departments Launch Digital Crime-Fighting Tool
Southern Chester County Weeklies, (06/27/2017), Fran Maye
Four municipal police departments in Chester County in Pennsylvania have joined a statewide digital Crime Watch program. The website allows participants access to e-mail alerts for public safety announcements, crimes committed locally, the ability to view recent arrests and most wanted lists, and the ability to submit a tip to local law enforcement. Parkesburg, North Coventry, Southern Chester County Regional Police Department and Kennett Township have signed on to the program.
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Louisville Metro Police: Use Anonymous Tip Hotline. It's Working
The Courier-Journal, (06/27/2017), Thomas Novelly
The Louisville Metro Police Department is asking the public to submit more anonymous tips. In 2016, the tip hotline contributed to more than 600 arrests, but nearly 50 percent of homicide cases this year are unsolved. Police recently held a demonstration for the public to explain how tips are submitted while maintaining a person's identity and security. Residents can submit tips by phone, text or through an online website. When the tip line was first created in 2004, it received 8,000 calls; last year, it received approximately 99,000, roughly 13 percent of which were crime tips.
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All Pittsburgh Police Set to Wear Cameras by Next Year
TribLive, (06/27/2017), Bob Bauder
Pittsburgh plans to equip all police officers with body cameras by next year. Currently, 147 officers who are members of motorcycle and bicycle patrols or patrol officers who volunteered for a pilot program wear cameras while on duty. Officers will be equipped with torso mounted cameras that can attach magnetically to shirt or jacket pockets. All officers who respond to calls would be required to wear them.
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Fresno PD Unveils $2M State of the Art 911 Call Center, (06/28/2017), Connie Tran
The Fresno Police Department has a $2 million remodeled 911 call center with a dispatch room that features state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment. The center, located in the basement of police headquarters, receives about 3,000 emergency and nonemergency calls a day. The center has advanced telephone equipment, an upgraded electrical system and state-of-the-art mapping technology.
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Plymouth Police Unveil Mobile Fingerprint Scanners
The Times Herald, (06/29/2017), Oscar Gamble
The police department in Plymouth Township, Penn., now has mobile ID scanners to help verify the identity of people when necessary. The scanners will be carried by officers and used to positively identify subjects with records in the Pennsylvania State Police Automated Fingerprint Identification System through a secured server. The system records a subject's index finger or thumbprint on the window plate, which is an FBI-approved scanner. The fingerprint is then compared to those within the fingerprint database and the FBI's Repository for Individuals of Special Concern intelligence database. If there's a hit, the person's name, date of birth and arrest records are transmitted back to the scanner within minutes. Officers can also use the phone to snap a picture of the subject, which can then be matched to photos in the arrest database. Police are required to ask for consent before administering mobile ID and, according to officials, it can only be used in situations where reasonable suspicion exists.
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BART Replaces All Decoy Cameras on Train Cars With Real Ones
SFGate, (06/28/2017), Evan Sernoffsky
A $1.42 million project to replace fake security cameras inside Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train cars has been completed. The new video systems on trains include four digital cameras on each car, DVRs and housing units, costing $463,749. After labor and other materials, the total cost of the project came out to $1.42 million.
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Courts News

State Grant Will Help Boost Courthouse Security
Faribault Daily News, (06/29/2017), Suzanne Rook
A state grant will be used to increase security at the Rice County courthouse in Minnesota. The $25,334 grant is part of $1 million in grants through the state's Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative. The money must be matched by the county, either in cash or in-kind services. The grant will pay to upgrade security cameras and add distress buttons throughout the courthouse, which was built in 1934. The alarms will allow courthouse personnel to press a button to alert sheriff's deputies of an emergency and that law enforcement's assistance is required.
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Corrections News

Correctional Officer Intercepts Fentanyl Mailed to Edmonton Prison Inmate
The Canadian Press, (06/30/2017)
The Correctional Service of Canada says an officer intercepted a package of fentanyl that was mailed to an inmate at the Edmonton Institution, a federal maximum security prison in Alberta. The drug was found on paper that was in a package. Police are investigating to determine who mailed the drugs.
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Judge: Psychiatric Care Unconstitutional in Alabama Prisons
Associated Press via The Cullman Times, (06/27/2017)
A federal judge has ruled that Alabama's psychiatric care of state inmates is "horrendously inadequate" and violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled in favor of all current and future Alabama inmates with serious mental health problems. Gov. Kay Ivey said she would work closely with the corrections commissioner and state legislative leaders to address the issues raised in the ruling.
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More Eyes Being Fixed on Volusia-Flagler Juveniles on Probation
Daytona Beach News-Journal (06/26/2017), Patricio G. Balona
Volusia County sheriff's deputies have joined Daytona Beach police officers in keeping track of juvenile offenders. Daytona Beach police use smartphones to track offenders, while the Volusia County Sheriff's Office just took over the monitoring of offenders wearing Department of Juvenile Justice-issued ankle monitors in West Volusia and in Flagler County. This year, Daytona Beach police went from a one-piece ankle device to one that works in tandem with a smartphone carried by the person on probation. A Bluetooth system wrapped around the ankle is paired with the smartphone. Unlike the Daytona Beach police, the sheriff's office will not equip juveniles with ankle monitors, but will only monitor Department of Juvenile Justice-placed devices.
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Oklahoma Corrections Report Details "Overwhelmed" System, (06/27/2017), Graham Lee Brewer
Aging facilities, low staffing, increasing medical costs for aging inmates, flat budgeting, and decreasing rates of parole are among the issues plaguing the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. The problems are in a report delivered to the Oklahoma Board of Corrections and discussed by department director Joe Allbaugh and other officials during a board meeting. The state's prison population has risen for years, and as the inmate population and the costs to house them continue to increase, funding must be stripped from other areas of the corrections budget.
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Inmate Tablets Have Now Been Delivered to All South Dakota Prisons
Argus Leader, (06/29/2017), John Hult
Inmates in South Dakota adult correctional facilities now have closed-network tablets. Tablets were distributed to inmates who want them. Inmate-paid subscriptions provide access to ebooks, games and streaming music.
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With FCC Blocked, Will States Make Prison Calls Affordable?
Governing, (06/29/2017), Natalie Delgadillo
This article discusses a recent federal court ruling that struck down 2015 federal regulations that would have limited the cost of intrastate prison phone calls, and efforts by activist organizations to convince state and local governments to lower the price of calls. The ruling said the federal government can't regulate what state prisons and county jails charge for calls made within state lines, voiding the Federal Communications Commission's 11-cents-per-minute cap on intrastate calls.
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