Science and Technology News

Friday, July 21, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

DMV Facial Recognition Device in Nevada Nets '92 Prison Escapee From Minn.
StarTribune, (07/12/2017), Paul Walsh
A North Las Vegas man is back behind bars after facial recognition technology used by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles helped identify him as Robert F. Nelson, who escaped from a Minnesota federal correctional facility in 1992. Nelson will have to serve his remaining sentence plus additional time as penalty for the escape.
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Azle Improves 911 Response With Free Mobile App
CBS DFW, (07/12/2017), MaryAnn Martinez
The Azle (Texas) Police Department has implemented use of a free app called Siren GPS to help dispatchers and officers find local residents who call 911 from their cell phones. The app provides the exact location of a cellular caller; the agency says about four-fifths of 911 calls now originate from cell phones.
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Old-fashioned Horse Sense: New Mounted Unit Gives Police Advantage on Patrol
Boulder City Review, (07/12/2017), Hali Bernstein Saylor
The Boulder City Police Department recently went back to the past with the addition of a new mounted patrol unit, consisting of one dedicated officer and his personally owned, police-trained horse. The introduction of the unit ends an eight-year effort by Officer Scott Pastore, and the department hopes to use the officer and his horse to improve community relations as well as supplement search efforts with the horse's ability to go places that vehicles cannot.
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Michael Streed, "Sketchcop," Puts a Face to the Case for Maryland Police
Fox 45 News, (07/14/2017), Joy Lambert
Michael Streed, the only sketch artist employed by the Baltimore Police Department, has spent the past 37 years combining his love of drawing with his desire for public service. Many police departments are laying off sketch artists due to the proliferation of digital recording, leading Streed to develop two computer programs that allow non-artists to use pre-built facial components to create composite images.
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Attorney General Sides Against Vermont DMV's Facial Recognition Program
Burlington Free Press, (07/18/2017), Elizabeth Murray
A controversial facial recognition program used to combat identify theft by the Department of Motor Vehicles will remain suspended, according to the state's Attorney General. The suspension remains in effect until and unless the legislature authorizes the use of the program.
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Council Forms to Advance Use of UAS in Public Safety
Unmanned Aerial Online, (07/18/2017), Betsy Lillian
The newly formed National Council on Public Safety UAS offers a website with numerous UAS resources, including links to Federal Aviation Administration rules and guidelines. The group will focus on promoting education, training, best practices and other resources related to public safety and UAS. The group includes vice chairs from the law enforcement and emergency management fields.
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While Not a New Tool, Wiretapping Now Used as New Way to Fight Human Trafficking
WFSU Public Media, (07/18/2017), Sascha Cordner
As state attorneys and law enforcement look for ways to combat human trafficking, they are increasingly turning to an older tool: wiretapping. Although the process of authorizing a wiretap can be complicated, according to a former Florida U.S. District Attorney, the results can prove worthwhile. Wiretapping is also seeing a resurgence in combatting white collar crime, she says.
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FBI Issues a Warning to Parents About the Privacy and Safety of Internet-Connected Smart Toys
Beta News, (07/18/2017), Mark Wyciƛlik-Wilson
The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center recently released a public service announcement encouraging parents to be aware of cyber security concerns before purchasing Internet-connected toys for their children. The FBI warns parents that the toys use technology to collect personal information and store it in the cloud. The agency also reminds them to check privacy agreements and be aware of incidents that have already occurred in the United States and in other countries.
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Courts News

FBI's Dark Web Sting Activity in SC Prison Mail Bomb Plot Kept Secret by Judge
The State, (07/14/2017), John Monk
In South Carolina, Federal Magistrate Judge Paige Gossett has agreed with prosecutors that FBI agents need not answer defense questions about how an FBI dark web sting made a prison inmate believe he was ordering a bomb through the mail. The inmate, who is serving a sentence for murdering his ex-wife's father, is accused of plotting to order a bomb through the mail and having his nephew use it on his ex-wife.
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Corrections News
COMET Uses GPS, Polygraphs to Keep Tabs on Sexual Offenders
Herald Mail, (07/17/2017), Don Aines
In the state of Maryland, Division of Parole and Probation agents use GPS tracking devices to supervise nearly 3,000 sex offenders under the Collaborative Offender Management Enforcement Treatment (COMET) program. Individuals enrolled in the program have committed offenses such as rape, attempted rape and other sex offenses. Various factors such as age, type of offense and prior record are considered when determining the level of supervision for each offender.
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Alcorn County Prison on Lockdown After Largest Contraband Bust This Year
Jackson Free Press, (07/13/2017), Arielle Dreher
The Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility in Jackson, Miss., recently went on immediate lockdown when a search turned up more than 100 contraband cellphones in addition to bags of loose tobacco and inmate-made weapons. Officers found contraband hidden in ceilings, in the back of television sets, inside garbage cans and in one employee's desk.
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Lawmakers Question Effectiveness of GPS Ankle Monitors Following Murder of OSU Student, (07/11/2017), Rob Sneed
Two Ohio state legislators have begun inquiring into whether offender tracking devices give Ohio residents a false sense of security. Brian Golsby is accused of killing Reagan Tokes, an Ohio State University student, while wearing a GPS monitoring device. Golsby's device had no exclusion or inclusion zones, and he is accused of committing a number of robberies and assaults while wearing the device.
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Study: GPS Rules Send California Juveniles Into Jail Cycle
U.S. News & World Report, (07/12/2017), Michael Balsamo for the Associated Press
A research report from the University of California, Berkeley, and the East Bay Community Law Center says that in California, rules for juveniles who are sentenced to wear GOP ankle monitors vary from county to county, and are in some cases unrealistically and unnecessarily strict, returning the youth to prison for minor infractions. Some counties require a parent to be present in the home at all times or mandate that low-income families must install landline phones. Families also may be required to pay monthly fees for their children to remain in the program.
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Why a Bill to Allow Corrections Officers to Use Body Scanners on Rikers Never Came to Pass
Spectrum News, (07/12/2017), Zack Fink
A debate about the levels of radiation exposure to which inmates would be subjected has resulted in no vote on a measure that would have allowed New York State corrections officers to use body scanners. The bill passed the State Senate, but never came to a vote in the House because of the debate about the danger, or lack thereof, in exposing inmates to radiation on a regular basis.
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How Using Outdated Technology With Deaf Inmates Risks Lawsuits and Prison Staff Safety
CorrectionsOne, (07/10/2017), Doug Wylie
Correctional institutions sometimes deny deaf inmates access to telephone and communication services due to a lack of knowledge about those individuals' rights to communication services. Laws require facilities to provide accommodations to give deaf individuals the same communications access as hearing inmates, but in a number of instances, facilities fail to do so. These instances can result in costly financial settlements.
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