Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News


Law Enforcement News

Maine Police Start Selfie Hashtag to Drum Up Support
News & Observer, (4/20/2018), Associated Press
The #SelfieWithACop hashtag campaign started by the South Portland (Maine) Police Department has a goal of promoting a partnership between law enforcement and the local community. Residents are urged to take a selfie with an officer and submit it to the department, which will post it on its Facebook page.
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Houston Police, ATF to Unveil New Crime-fighting Tool
Click 2 Houston, (04/19/2018), Aaron Barker
Houston has become the third city in the nation to begin using a new tool from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that processes gun-crime evidence in hours instead of days. The department has a new van that will be used to collect and compare evidence against the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. Houston will be the first department in which its own officers, using ATF training, will process the evidence.
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Cleveland to Upgrade Street Lights, Post Security Cameras to Bolster Neighborhood Safety
Cleveland.com, (04/20/2018), Robert Higgs
Cleveland plans to convert its 61,000 street lights to a remote-controlled LED system that provides more illumination, visibility and clarity. Law enforcement will be able to brighten the lights in an emergency situation and the city camera system, mounted on the same poles, will give police real-time access to surveillance video.
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Local School Installs Active Shooter Alert System
News4SA.com, (04/24/2018), Zack Hedrick
St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in San Antonio recently installed a new rapid alert response system that automatically alerts law enforcement when anyone pulls the fire alarm. The system immediately uses telephone, text and email to send alerts to campus staff and local law enforcement dispatch. The alert gives officers access to a campus map and real-time access to security cameras.
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Corrections News

54 Percent of Surveyed Inmates in Colorado Had Serious Brain Injuries. This Program Aims to Keep Them From Returning to Crime.
The Denver Post, (04/13/2018), Jennifer Brown
Researchers have screened 4,100 people in jail, on probation or assigned to drug courts in Denver and five other Colorado counties, and found that 54 percent had a history of serious brain injury, a rate 46 percentage points higher than that of the general population. The results are being used to develop targeted re-entry programs that can help individuals overcome the cognitive impairments caused by the injuries.
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Eye Spy a Sex Offender: Jeffco Sheriff's Office Touts Use of Iris Scans in Fighting Crime
AL.com, (04/19/2018), Carol Robinson
Nine months ago, the Jefferson County (Ala.) Sheriff's Office became the first in the state to begin using the Inmate Recognition & Identification System (IRIS) to register and verify the identity of all of the county's convicted sex offenders as well as to quickly and accurately identify inmates. Slightly less than 200 law enforcement agencies nationwide use the system, which stores the scans in a nationwide database.
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Telecomm Expert Lists Ways to Block Cell Phone Signals Inside Prisons
News4, (04/18/2018), Anne Emerson
In this article, a telecommunications expert discusses several technology solutions that could stop cell phone signals inside correctional facilities. Officials have blamed, at least in part, a recent riot at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina on disruptions caused by contraband cell phones.
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Community Corrections Officers Become Narcan-certified
Cape Gazette, (04/05/2018)
Community corrections officers from the Delaware Department of Correction recently received naloxone training, learning how to recognize the symptoms of an overdose and how to administer the life-saving drug when they suspect an overdose. All participating officers received certification and supplies of the drug.
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FBI Sting Uncovers Bomb Plot, Drug-smuggling Operation in SC Prison
The State, (04/20/2018), John Monk
An eight-month FBI sting operation involving 40 agents and two Cessna surveillance airplanes led to charges against a South Carolina inmate involving use of an illegal cellphone to get on the Dark Web, run a drug ring and plot a murder by mail bomb. These details and more are coming out in testimony this week in the trial of accomplices from outside the institution who allegedly took part in the plot.
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Wireless Industry to Blame for Contraband Cellphones, According to Former SC Prisons Chief
Anderson Independent Mail, (04/20/2018), Kirk Brown
Jon Ozmint, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2011, has stated that the wireless industry and mobile phone companies share the blame for the recent riot at the state's Lee Correctional Institution. Inmates can use contraband cell phones to continue illegal activities from inside prison, and Ozmint has contended that the industry has done nothing to block calls originating inside correctional facilities.
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Nebraska Urged to Prepare More Inmates for Parole to Ease Overcrowding
Omaha World-Herald, (04/05/2018), Paul Hammel
As Nebraska seeks to ease overcrowding in its state correctional facilities, more than 1,000 inmates who are eligible for parole have not yet completed required rehabilitation programs. Inmates contend they can't get into the necessary programs and state officials say many inmates refuse to attend classes. The state is looking into allowing some of those inmates to complete programs after, instead of prior to, release.
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After Fatal Escape, Pottawattamie County Jail Adds Full-body Scanner to Protect Staff, inmates
Omaha World-Herald, (04/18/2018), Mike Bell
The Pottawattamie County Jail in Iowa has begun using a full-body scanner, similar to the ones used in airports, to detect contraband. The jail will use the scanner on all new inmates at intake as well as on all inmates transported to and from the building. The facility is the first jail in the state to implement use of the technology.
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Marines Use 3-D Printer to Make Replacement Part for F-35 Fighter


PACIFIC OCEAN -- Marines with Combat Logistic Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, are now capable of “‘‘additive manufacturing,’“ also known as 3-D printing.

This innovative process uses 3-D printing software to break down a digital model into layers that can be reproduced by the printer. The printer then builds the model from the ground up, layer by layer, creating a tangible object.

Marine Corps Sgt. Adrian Willis, a computer and telephone technician, said he was thrilled to be selected by his command to work with a 3-D printer.

3-D Printing is the Future

“I think 3-D printing is definitely the future -- it’s absolutely the direction the Marine Corps needs to be going,” Willis said.

The Marine Corps is all about mission accomplishment and self-reliance. In boot camp, Marine recruits are taught to have a “‘figure-it-out’” mindset, and 3-D printing is the next step for a Corps that prides itself on its self-sufficiency.

“Finding innovative solutions to complex problems really does harken back to our core principles as Marines,” Willis said. “I’m proud to be a part of a new program that could be a game-changer for the Marine Corps.”

The Marines deployed here use their 3-D printer as an alternative, temporary source for parts. As a permanently forward-deployed unit, it’s crucial for the 31st MEU to have access to the replacement parts it needs for sustained operations. The 31st MEU’s mission -- to deploy at a moment’s notice when the nation calls -- is not conducive to waiting for replacement parts shipped from halfway around the world. So 3-D printing capabilities dovetail with the MEU’s expeditionary mandate.

‘Fix it Forward’

“While afloat, our motto is, ‘‘Fix it forward,’” said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Rodriguez, CLB-31’s maintenance officer. “3-D printing is a great tool to make that happen. CLB-31 can now bring that capability to bear exactly where it’s needed most -- on a forward-deployed MEU.”

Proving this concept April 16, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 successfully flew an F-35B Lightning II aircraft with a part that was supplied by CLB-31’s 3-D printer. The F-35B had a plastic bumper on a landing gear door wear out during a recent training mission. Though a small and simple part, the only conventional means of replacing the bumper was to order the entire door assembly -- a process that’s time-consuming and expensive.

Using a newly released process from Naval Air Systems Command for 3-D printed parts, the squadron was able to have the bumper printed, approved for use and installed within a matter of days -- much faster than waiting for a replacement part to arrive from the United States.

‘My Most Important Commodity is Time’

“As a commander, my most important commodity is time,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col Richard Rusnok, the squadron’s commanding officer. “Although our supply personnel and logisticians do an outstanding job getting us parts, being able to rapidly make our own parts is a huge advantage.”

VMFA-121 also made history in March as the first F-35B squadron to deploy in support of a MEU.

Making further use of the MEU’s 3-D printing capability, the MEU’s explosive ordnance disposal team requested a modification part that acts as a lens cap for a camera on an iRobot 310 small unmanned ground vehicle -- a part that did not exist at the time. CLB-31’s 3-D printing team designed and produced the part, which is now operational and is protecting the drone’s fragile lenses.

The templates for both the plastic bumper and lens cover will be uploaded to a Marine Corps-wide 3-D printing database to make them accessible to any unit with the same needs.
The 31st MEU continues to brainstorm new opportunities for its 3-D printer, such as aviation parts and mechanical devices that can be used to fix everyday problems. Though only in the beginning stages of development, officials said, the 31st MEU will continue to push the envelope of what 3-D printing can do in the continued effort to make the MEU a more lethal and self-sufficient unit.

Criminal Justice Technology in the News


New Tool Will Let Citizens Send Crime Videos to Police
Evanston Now, (04/11/2018)
The police department in Evanston, Ill., has expanded its Axon body-worn camera program with a new system called "Axon Citizen" that allows citizens to upload video from cell phones and other electronic devices. If the agency learns that video or other media relevant to an investigation exists, they can contact the individual and invite them to upload to the Evidence.com account at no charge.
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New York, Baltimore Coach Drug Users, Cops on Good Sam Overdose-Prevention Laws
Cincinnati.com, (04/11/2018), Terry DeMio
Drug users can be part of the solution to preventing overdose deaths, this article says, but at times ignorance of the protection offered by Good Samaritan laws can lead to unnecessary deaths. In both Baltimore and New York City, promotional material and other materials are components of education campaigns aimed at drug users and law enforcement to ensure that both groups understand the meaning of the laws.
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Michigan State Police Expand CAUTION Program
WHMI, (04/12/2018)
A volunteer program that originally began at just one Michigan State Police post will expand statewide in the near future. Community Action United Team in Our Neighborhood, known as CAUTION, partners local faith leaders with their respective state police posts to network with officers and share information. Volunteers also accompany law enforcement on certain calls where their services may be helpful.
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District Attorney's Office Donates Chip Scanners to Reunite Pets With Families
Observer-Reporter, (04/12/2018), Barbara Miller
The Washington County (Pa.) District Attorney's office has used $7,000 in vice-related asset forfeitures to buy 30 microchip detectors that will help police departments and humane officers identify lost pets and return them to their owners. The DA's office is also encouraging pet owners to have the identity microchips implanted in their pets.
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Law Enforcement Officials Considering Cameras to Detect, Automatically Cite Drivers Using Phones
Washington Times, (04/12/2018), Victor Morton
This article looks at emerging technologies that will let police departments detect driver cell-phone use, thus giving agencies the ability to automatically ticket drivers. The technology is similar to the way cameras catch speeding drivers.
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Familial DNA Used to Solve Arizona Cold Case
Officer.com, (04/12/2018)
Collaborative efforts involving the Scottsdale Police Department and several state-level agencies resulted in the recent arrest of a suspect in a three-year-old cold case murder investigation. The investigation was helped by the first-ever use of familial DNA to provide evidence in an Arizona murder case.
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North Carolina Sheriff's Deputy Saved by Ballistic Vest
Officer.com, (04/16/2018), Rodger Mullen for the Fayetteville Observer
A Harnett County (N.C.) sheriff's deputy was saved by his ballistic-resistant vest when responding to a call about a missing juvenile on April 14. His vest stopped a shot to the abdomen; a 16-year-old suspect is charged with the shooting.
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Eyes in the Sky: Yes, Richmond-area Police Are Circling Overhead
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (04/15/2018), Ned Oliver
The police departments of Henrico County, Chester County and the city of Richmond all share responsibility for staffing and operating the Henrico County Metro Aviation Unit, which provides aerial search and rescue, investigation support and other services to officers of the three participating jurisdictions. The unit flies a Cessna airplane that often can be seen circling the skies of the metro area in support of various law enforcement missions.
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Corrections News

Lee Correctional Institution Riot Is Deadliest in Nation in 25 Years
Sumter Item, (04/17/2018), Kayla Robins
In the aftermath of Sunday's fights at the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, which left seven people dead and 17 others injured, state officials once again called on the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to block cell phone signals in correctional facilities. Preliminary investigations indicate the fighting broke out in a dispute over territory and contraband, including cell phones.
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A Lesson From Camden: Fixing Jails and Health Care Together
The Crime Report, (04/05/2018), Anne Milgram and Jeffrey Brenner
The authors of a new report published by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard Kennedy School use this article to examine the potential for achieving lasting solutions by integrating health care and criminal justice data. Research has indicated that frequent users of the health care system also frequently interact with the criminal justice system, and looking at how these individuals use both systems can provide opportunities to develop meaningful programs and prevent problems before they occur.
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Technology Assisting Local Deputies to Keep Cell Phones Out of the Hands of Inmates
WBTV.com, (04/17/2018), Steve Crump
The Mecklenberg County Jail uses cell sense technology to check incoming inmates for contraband technology, and although searches often turn up weapons, so far there have been no attempts to smuggle cell phones past the detection hardware.
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Drug Use Is Detectable on Your Fingerprints
The Atlantic, (04/1/2018), Rod McCollum
This article looks at the pros and cons of using new techniques that can determine, from a single fingerprint, whether you have ingested cocaine, opiates, marijuana or other drugs. Researchers are looking to expand the controlled substances that can be detected to include methamphetamines and amphetamines.
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This Implantable Chip Could Monitor Alcohol Intake
Smithsonian.com, (04/18/2018), Emily Matchar
A team of scientists from the University of California, San Diego, has developed a tiny implantable chip that can be used to monitor alcohol intake. The one cubic millimeter biosensor and a wearable device comparable in size to a smart watch could replace ankle monitoring bracelets and invasive tests for individuals undergoing court-adjudicated monitoring.
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Missouri Lawmakers Consider an Overhaul of the State's Justice System
KY3, (04/15/2018), Justin Corr
The Justice Reinvestment Act, which recently passed the Missouri State Senate and is under consideration in the House, would create more community-oriented programs in an attempt to keep low-level offenders out of the correctional system and break the cycle of recidivism. A reduction in the state's prison population should also mean that Missouri would not need to build additional correctional facilities.
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Oregon Inmates With Severe Mental Illness Still Held Too Long in Solitary, Group Says
OregonLive.com, (04/10/2018), Maxine Bernstein
Disability Rights Oregon says the state has made little progress in fulfilling an agreement to allow inmates with severe mental illnesses out of their cells for a minimum of 20 hours a week, including 10 hours for classes and treatment and 10 hours for recreation and meals. A 2016 report by the advocacy group found that adults with the most severe mental illnesses routinely were isolated in cells for 23 hours a day without access to mental health care.
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Reports: Thousands of 'Low Risk' Offenders Not Being Diverted From Prison
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (04/09/2018), Frank Green
According to results from two studies, Virginia's Nonviolent Risk Assessment questionnaire appears to be diverting high-risk, rather than low-risk, offenders away from prison and into community-based programs – the exact opposite of its intention. The findings will be presented to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission.
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A Drone Packed With Drugs — Prisons Adapt to New Methods Used to Sneak in Contraband
Lincoln Journal-Star, (04/08/2018), Lori Pilger
The Nebraska Department of Corrections has put a renewed focus on locating contraband as inmates and their co-conspirators come up with more creative ways to smuggle items into facilities – including the use of drone delivery. Officials are seizing more cellphones, weapons and drugs than ever before, but some inmates still find ways to get the contraband items through, meaning staff must remain ever-vigilant.
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