Science and Technology News

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News



Sheriff Asking People With Surveillance Cameras to Sign Up for Eye Watch
CBS 12, (01/17/2018), Al Pefley
The Martin County Sheriff's Office in Florida wants residents and business with surveillance cameras to sign up for a voluntary program to share video in the event of a crime in their neighborhood. Registering for the Eye Watch program will help the sheriff's office quickly identify the location of cameras that may have useful video. About two dozen homeowners and businesses with external surveillance cameras have signed up so far.
Link to Article


How to Implement and Justify a Drone Program
POLICE Magazine, (01/03/2018), Michael Hamann
This article discusses use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by law enforcement, how agencies can obtain permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate UAS, cost benefits of a UAS program and other considerations.
Link to Article


Arizona K-9 Teams Undergoing Extensive Training to Detect Explosives
ABC15, (01/18/2018), Mike Pelton
Police in Goodyear, Ariz., recently hosted a training event to help K-9 teams better detect explosives. The Department of Homeland Security provided the training to several law enforcement agencies as part of its Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative.
Link to Article


Detroit to Launch 15-Officer Human Trafficking Task Force With Federal Grant
MLive Michigan, (01/19/2018), Gus Burns
The Detroit Police Department plans to use $1.5 million of a grant from the Department of Justice to hire 15 officers dedicated to fighting human trafficking, according to Police Chief James Craig. The announcement comes as the city readied for the North American International Auto Show. Law enforcement says the show draws increased numbers of sex traffickers to the Detroit area. Craig said there were 22 arrests made by a multi-agency, FBI-led sex crimes task force in 2017, some of which were tied to the auto show.
Link to Article


Greenwich Police Patrol Officers Soon to Carry Narcan
Greenwich Free Press, (01/19/2018)
The police department in Greenwich, Conn., plans to issue patrol officers Narcan, which is used to reverse opiate overdoses. Officers are being trained on how to administer Narcan and keep it at a consistent temperature. Police are also working on programs in conjunction with Greenwich Hospital and other support agencies to steer people in crises to services, help and support.
Link to Article


Grants Help Law Enforcement Agencies Equip Officers With Narcan
The Bismark Tribune, (01/21/2018), April Baumgarten for Forum News Service
Law enforcement agencies in Grand Forks County, N.D., and Polk County in Minnesota are using grants to equip and train officers with Narcan, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses. University of North Dakota Police and the Grand Forks Police Department are among agencies receiving grants from Grand Forks Public Health. Police in East Grand Forks, Minn., also used a grant to cover Narcan costs.
Link to Article


Larimer County Receives Award for Police, Mental Health Response Program
Coloradoan, (01/20/2018), Saja Hindi
Law enforcement agencies in Larimer County in Colorado have received grants to help fund their mental health co-responder program. Under the program, police officers team up with behavioral health specialists to respond to incidents in which a person may need crisis intervention for mental health or substance abuse. The program aims to de-escalate situations during crisis-related calls and assist residents who need access to resources but are not necessarily engaged in criminal activity to serve as a criminal justice diversion program.
Link to Article


Iowa City Police Department Awarded $450K Grant for Domestic Violence Response
The Gazette, (01/19/2018)
The Iowa City Police Department will receive grant funding to serve as a demonstration site for implementing best practices as it relates to responding to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. An emphasis will be placed on eliminating gender bias and addressing the needs of underserved populations. The grant is through the Integrity, Action and Justice: Strengthening Law Enforcement Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence initiative, which is being carried out by the International Association of Chiefs of Police with support from the Office for Victims of Crime and in partnership with the National Crime Victim Law Institute. Five other law enforcement agencies will also receive funding under the initiative.
Link to Article


First Responders Simulate Fentanyl Hazmat Situation for Training
WSET, (01/19/2018), Annie Andersen
First responders in southwest Virginia recently attended a training session on responding to calls involving the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. The session involved a training scenario in which EMTs are called to respond to people who were unresponsive. In the scenario, the EMTs got exposed to fentanyl on the scene, and a hazmat team was called in to access and decontaminate people.
Link to Article


Mesa Receives Over $500,000 to Support DUI Enforcement
Arizona Business Daily, (01/22/2018)
The traffic section of the Mesa Police Department has been awarded more than $500,000 in grants from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to support DUI enforcement and promotions of roadway safety. The money supports projects such as DUI task force events, enforcement-related patrol projects and speed enforcement.
Link to Article


Courts News

County Bans Cell Phones, Electronic Devices From Courthouse
Palladium-Item, (01/19/2018), Mike Emery
Cell phones and other electronic devices will be banned from the Wayne County Courthouse in Richmond, Ind. The Wayne County Commissioners passed the new ordinance on Jan. 10, but no enforcement date has been established. Lockers purchased for people to store their devices while in the courthouse must be installed, and signage is planned to alert the public to the new policy prior to enforcement. The small size and multiple functions of electronic devices makes enforcing long-standing policies against photography and recording court proceedings difficult to enforce. County employees, court employees and elected county officials, judges, attorneys and their staff, law enforcement officers on official business and jurors or prospective jurors would be exempted from the ban, but would still be prohibited from having the devices on inside a courtroom.
Link to Article


Corrections News

Pennsylvania Fighting Opioid Epidemic With Body Scanner
WFMZ-69 News, (01/22/2018)
The Wernersville Community Corrections Center in South Heidelberg Township, Pa., is pilot testing a new $100,000 contraband detection body scanner. The scanner can detect weapons and drugs. Over the next few months, data will be collected to gauge the success of the program.
Link to Article


Indiana to Launch Coding Program for Women's Prison Inmates
Indianapolis Business Journal, (01/15/2018), Hayleigh Colombo
Indiana is introducing a new computer coding program for inmates at the Indiana Women's Prison. The governor's office said Indiana will be the second state to adopt, in a pilot format, The Last Mile coding program into one of its prisons. The first state to offer the program was California. The program will train inmates how to code with the goal of aligning them with gainful employment in the tech industry on release.
Link to Article


Pennsylvania's State Prisons See Biggest Inmate Drop on Record
The Associated Press via The Morning Call, (01/22/2018)
The number of inmates in Pennsylvania's prison system fell last year by about 860 prisoners to fewer than 48,500. State officials said the decrease is the largest on record. The state ended last year with about 3,300 fewer inmates than five years earlier. Officials say significant factors include dropping crime rates, diversions of technical parole violators and a state Supreme Court decision that threw out many of the state's mandatory minimum sentences.
Link to Article


Turning to Telemedicine for Prisoners' Mental Health Treatment
Modern Healthcare, (01/06/2018), Rachel Z. Arndt
This article discusses the use of telemedicine for the treatment of mental health issues in prisons in Texas and California. The practice can save money and improve timeliness of care.
Link to Article


New Tool Aims to Reduce Jail Population: ‘You Shouldn't be in Jail Just Because You're Poor'
Des Moines Register, (01/22/2018), Stephen Gruber-Miller
Polk County officials hope a new pretrial risk assessment tool will help reduce the number of people sitting in jail as they await trial. Judges in Polk County have begun using the Public Safety Assessment tool to help determine whether to release or set bond for people making their initial appearance in court following an arrest. Four counties in Iowa, including Polk, are piloting the program. The assessment is used in several other jurisdictions including Arizona, Kentucky and New Jersey. The tool gives each person a score based on nine factors that studies show help determine whether someone is likely to commit another crime or to show up for their court date. The decision whether to release someone or set bail still rests with the judge.
Link to Article


Georgia Prisons Struggle to Fend Off Drone Deliveries
Government Technology, (01/18/2018), Maggie Lee for The Macon Telegraph
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier says he will be asking state lawmakers to support a bill that makes it illegal for a drone to cross a prison's airspace as part of an effort to keep contraband out of prisons.
Link to Article

Bureau of Prisons Tests Micro-Jamming Technology in Federal Prison to Prevent Contraband Cell Phones



The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), in collaboration with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission, has conducted a test of micro-jamming technology at the Federal Correctional Institution at Cumberland, Md. The test was conducted on Jan. 17, 2018, to determine if micro-jamming could prevent wireless communication by an inmate using a contraband device at the individual cell housing unit level. Prior to this test, the BOP had conducted a limited cellphone jamming demonstration with NTIA in 2010, at the same field site in Cumberland supporting NTIA's congressionally mandated study of cellphone interdiction technologies. As part of the Jan. 17 test, NTIA conducted an independent evaluation of micro-jamming technology to determine its efficacy and interference potential with Radio Frequency communications. BOP and NTIA will review the data and analysis results from both BOP's and NTIA's testing and develop recommendations for strategic planning and possible acquisition.
https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/bureau-prisons-tests-micro-jamming-technology-federal-prison-prevent-contraband-cell-

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Texas Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Illegally Export Radiation Hardened Integrated Circuits to Russia and China



Peter Zuccarelli, 62, of Plano, Texas was sentenced today to 46 months in prison for conspiring to smuggle and illegally export from the U.S. in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), radiation hardened integrated circuits (RHICs) for use in the space programs of China and Russia.  Zuccarelli was also sentenced to three years supervised release and a $50,000 fine.

Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Alan R. Jackson made the announcement after Zuccarelli was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant.

According to the plea agreement, between approximately June 2015 and March 2016, Zuccarelli and his co-conspirators agreed to illegally export RHICs to China and Russia.  RHICs have military and space applications, and their export is strictly controlled.  In furtherance of the conspiracy, Zuccarelli’s co-conspirator received purchase orders from customers seeking to purchase RHICs for use in China’s and Russia’s space programs.  Zuccarelli received these orders from his co-conspirator, as well as payment of approximately $1.5 million to purchase the RHICs for the Chinese and Russian customers.  Zuccarelli placed orders with U.S. suppliers, and used the money received from his co-conspirator to pay the U.S. suppliers.  In communications with the U.S. suppliers, Zuccarelli certified that his company, American Coating Technologies, was the end user of the RHICs, knowing that this was false.  Zuccarelli received the RHICs he ordered from U.S. suppliers, removed them from their original packaging, repackaged them, falsely declared them as “touch screen parts,” and shipped them out of the U.S. without the required licenses.  He also attempted to export what he believed to be RHICs.  In an attempt to hide the conspiracy from the U.S. government, he created false paperwork and made false statements.

This case was investigated by the Dallas and Denver Offices of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the FBI; the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement; the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.