Science and Technology News

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Police Training Simulator Helps Officers Make Good Decisions in the Field
Fox2Now, (07/25/2017), Shawndrea Thomas
Police in St. Louis County, Mo., have access to 15 air-powered simulated guns and other tools while using the new Virtra (v-300) simulator designed to provide decision-making and de-escalation training. The simulator features 120 brief training scenarios focusing on use of force. A local foundation paid for the system.
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Sheriff Urges Fairgoers to Try Police Shooting Simulator
U.S. News & World Report, (07/25/2017), Associated Press
Clark County (Ohio) Sheriff Deborah Burchett has rented a use-of-force training simulator and invited attendees at the county fair to try it out. Burchett says many people don't understand that officers must make split-second decisions in use-of-force incidents, and hopes to promote dialog about the dangers that officers face.
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'False Alarms' Lead Fall River to Ditch ShotSpotter System
The Herald News, (07/27/2017), Brian Fraga
Fall River, Mass., has decided to stop use of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system because a representative of the police department says that officers at times missed actual shots-fired incidents while responding to false reports. The department will reallocate the $90,000 annual maintenance fee and put it toward expanding video surveillance.
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New 911 System Is Good News for Those in Trouble
Nogales International, (07/28/2017), Kendal Blust
An updated 911 system recently implemented in Texas' Santa Cruz County uses new mapping software to provide precise GPS data on the location of cellular phone calls. The new software should help the local sheriff's office locate hikers and others who become lost in the county's remote terrain and who are unable to provide accurate location data. The old system provided only the location of the nearest cell tower.
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'Ghost Striped' Police Vehicles Fly Under Radar, (07/27/2017), Tony Scott
The sheriff's office in Kendall County, Colo., has added a number of new SUVs to its vehicle fleet that carry a different appearance than has been traditional: the "ghost striped" agency logos can be seen only at certain angles or in headlight reflection. The SUVs also have light bars in the windshield rather than on the roof.
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Harrison County Deputy Shot in Chest, Airlifted to Hospital
WGNO, (07/28/2017)
A sheriff's deputy in Harrison County, Miss., has survived a July 27 gunshot to the chest due to his ballistic-resistant vest. The suspect in the shooting fled the scene and remained at large.
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Corrections News

Drones Are Flying Contraband Into NC Prisons. Now Their Pilots Can Wind Up There Too., (07/28/2017), Charlotte Observer staff
A new North Carolina law bans private individuals from flying drones within 250 above or 500 feet around correctional facilities. Using a drone to fly contraband into a facility is a felony; other instances are misdemeanors. There are two known instances of drones crashing inside perimeter fences in the state.
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Drone Drops Contraband at Georgia Prison
13WMAZ, (07/27/2017), Tiffany McCall
A drone carrying a package landed on a building roof on the grounds of Washington State prison in Southeast Georgia late on the evening of July 24. Package contents included cellphones, tobacco, marijuana and oxycodone. No one has been charged in the incident.
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S. Carolina's Sanford Urges FCC to Combat Prison Cellphones
U.S. News & World Report, (07/27/2017)
South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford recently wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to allow states to use jamming technology to combat the use of contraband cell phones in prisons. The congressman, a former S.C. governor, has been outspoken about the dangers of contraband cell phones for a number of years.
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Prisons Director Says They've Stepped Up Contraband Control
Lincoln Journal-Star, (07/28/2017)
Stepped-up searches by both drug dogs and human staff members and increased use of metal detectors, X-ray machines, video surveillance and drug testing are among the measures that Nebraska has taken in the wake of a recent inmate death due to an overdose of methamphetamine and Ecstasy. An estimated 80 percent of inmates struggle with substance abuse issues.
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Oklahoma Department of Corrections Considers Ways to Release Nonviolent Inmates
NewsOK, (07/25/2017), Graham Lee Brewer
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections plans to "open the backdoor" by allowing a select group of nonviolent inmates to complete their sentences in community supervision programs, according to administrators. An estimated 1,500 inmates would qualify for the program, which would help alleviate overcrowding in the state's facilities.
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NY Prisons Confront National Challenge of Drone
WHEC, (07/24/2017)
New York State correctional officials recovered a crashed drone at the Auburn Correctional Facility in May, and although they do not know what, if any, cargo the aircraft covered, they suspect it is part of a growing national trend to use drones to smuggle contraband into facilities. Like other states around the country, New York is seeking the best methods of stopping their use to bring in forbidden items.
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Flooded With Drug K2, Huntingdon Prison Disciplines Inmates
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (07/17/2017), Rich Lord
Pennsylvania's SCI Huntingdon Prison faces an epidemic of the illegal drug K2, with the facility disciplining 155 inmates for drugs, up from 103 in 2015 and a mere 45 in 2014. Discipline for possession of K2 results in 90 days in restricted housing, and a number of inmates have protested that the criteria are unnecessarily harsh.
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OC Inmates Filmed Their Own Daring Jail Break on Contraband Cellphone
NBC 4 Fox News, (07/26/2017), Vikki Vargas
A newly released video taken on a contraband cellphone chronicles how three men escaped from a maximum-security wing of an Orange County Jail last year. The three men forced a cab driver to transport them and held him hostage for number of days. Two of the men were eventually captured and the third surrendered.
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New Florida Tech Study Finds Graduates From Mental Health Court Show Reduced Re-Arrest Rates
Space Coast Daily, (07/27/2017), Florida Institute of Technology
Criminal defendants who graduated from mental health court demonstrated substantially reduced re-arrest rates a full three years following their release, according to recently released research findings from the Florida Institute of Technology. The study also found that prior criminal history was not a predictor of recidivism for participants. Mental health courts combine judicial supervision, community-based mental health treatment and other support.
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