Science and Technology News

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Law Enforcement News

Standoff With Suspect Over After 2 Officers Are Shot in North County; Vests Stopped Bullets
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (12/14/2017), Kim Bell
Two police officers, both shot in the chest during a barricade situation in northern St. Louis County, Mo., were saved by their ballistic-resistant vests. The suspect originally was involved in a physical encounter with officers, then fled to a nearby home and opened fire. He was taken into custody.
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Scott County Emergency Communications Center to Roll Out New Dispatch System
Quad City Times, (12/17/2017), Tara Becker
The Scott County Emergency Communications Center in Iowa plans to change the way it handles 911 emergency medical calls. The Medical and Fire Priority Dispatch System, which launches Jan. 2, will allow center and Medic EMS dispatchers to use a new protocol system to safely prioritize medical calls for the most appropriate response.
Link to Article


New NIST Forensic Tests to Ensure High-Quality Copies of Digital Evidence
Phys.org, (12/13/2017)
A new set of software tools developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology aims to ensure digital evidence will hold up in court. The federated testing tools are designed to help law enforcement and forensic practitioners with making a copy of the data from a seized electronic device. Both the prosecution and the defense must agree that the digital forensic process did not introduce unseen errors into the data, and that the methods they are using work as expected. The software allows authorities to run tests in advance on their digital forensic software to make sure it will not fail them when a suspect's device arrives in the forensic science lab.
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Los Angeles Metro Tests Bomb-Detection Equipment in Subway With TSA
USA Today, (12/13/2017), Bert Jansen
Federal and Los Angeles security officials are testing equipment that would detect concealed explosives and suicide vests. The devices, described in an announcement by the Transportation Security Administration and Los Angeles transit officials, are designed to detect improvised explosives by identifying objects that block the natural emissions from a person's body, according to the TSA.
Link to Article


Lawrence Police Radio System Getting $1 Million Upgrade
Eagle Tribune, (12/13/2017), Jill Harmacinski
Lawrence, Mass., plans a $1 million upgrade of the police radio system to replace the current 20-year-old system. In 2018, police radios will upgraded from an analog system, which relies on antiquated copper wiring, to a digital system.
Link to Article


Fairfield County Program Targets Opioid Addiction
This Week Community News, (12/13/2017), Michael Hayes
Law enforcement in Fairfield County, Ohio, have a program to address an increase in opioid overdoses. Under Project FORT, a Fairfield County Overdose Response Team will be dispatched after reported overdoses in the county. Project FORT uses the expertise of various stakeholders in the county to try to get to the root cause of addiction. The Pickerington Police Department has responded to 81 drug overdose calls this year, compared to 50 calls in 2016.
Link to Article


Lawmakers Approve $57 Million to Build Michigan State Police Facility in Walker
WZZM, (12/15/2017), John Hogan
State lawmakers have approved spending nearly $57 million for a new building to house Michigan State Police headquarters in Walker, Mich. The facility would house the state police post currently in Rockford, sixth district headquarters and a new forensics laboratory.
Link to Article


L.A. Fire Department Used Drones for the First Time During Skirball Fire
Los Angeles Times, (12/14/2017), Hailey Branson-Potts
The Los Angeles Fire Department recently dispatched two unmanned aerial vehicles for the first time while battling the Skirball wildfire in Bel-Air. One had a high-definition camera used to survey the burn area, and the other had an infrared camera to assess hot spots. The City Council approved guidelines for the department's drone usage in November.
Link to Article


Police 'Buy Back' 178 Guns From Public
The San Diego Union Tribune, (12/16/2017), David Hernandez
San Diego police officers and sheriff's deputies recently took 178 guns off the hands of people who no longer wanted the weapons. At the event in Encanto, officers handed out a $100 gift card for every rifle, shotgun or handgun and a $200 gift card for each assault rifle. Police also offered skateboards in exchange for the guns and instead of gift cards.
Link to Article


Corrections News

Prison Smoking Ban Starts Next Year
News Tribune, (12/14/2017), Jeff Haldiman
The Missouri Department of Corrections will ban smoking in its correctional facilities in 2018. The ban follows a court case brought about by an inmate who suffered health effects from secondhand smoke. All DOC facilities will be tobacco-free starting April 1, and the ban applies to staff, offenders, visitors, contractors, etc.; no one will be allowed to possess or use tobacco products inside DOC facilities. A smoking area will be provided outside the perimeter for staff and visitors.
Link to Article


ACLU Objects to Pennsylvania's Protection-From-Abuse Monitoring Proposal
Trib Live, (12/15/2017), Wes Venteicher
This article discusses a proposed Pennsylvania state law that would use electronic monitoring to try to protect people who have obtained protection-from-abuse orders. The proposal, which the state Senate has approved, would allow judges to require electronic monitoring of people with PFA orders against them. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says the law would hamper the freedom of people who haven't been convicted of any crime.
Link to Article


Duke University Lays Out 9 Recommendations to Make NC Prisons Safer
WSOCTV, (12/14/2017)
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety recently announced a dozen new steps to improve prison safety, including frisking almost everyone who enters the prison, giving batons to officers in medium-security prisons and updating security cameras. A new report from Duke University is encouraging state officials to make more changes to improve prison safety. The study includes nine recommendations that address, for example, staff training, enhancing perimeter security and mounting a cell phone interdiction initiative.
Link to Article


Dutch Police Ground Drone-Fighting Eagles
Digital Journal, (12/13/2017)
Dutch police have discontinued a program to train eagles to take down drones that pose a danger to the public. The birds could be difficult to train, the program was more expensive than first thought and demand for services was low.
Link to Article

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