Science and Technology News

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News


Clearwater Police Real-Time Crime App Keeps Residents Up To Date
Clearwater Patch, (05/17/2018), D'Ann Lawrence White
The Clearwater (Fla.) Police Department recently joined Neighbors, an app created by the makers of the Ring Video Doorbell. The app allows residents to receive local, real-time crime and public safety information and monitor neighborhood activity. It also makes it easier for detectives to access video that could help them solve criminal cases.
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Police Used a Fitness App to Find Man Accused of Knocking Bicyclist to the Ground in Virginia
Fredericksburg.com, (05/18/2018), Justin Wm. Moyer for the Washington Post
The Loudon County (Va.) Sheriff's Office used the fitness app Strava to track a man who knocked another bicyclist to the ground on April 22, causing serious injuries. The man turned himself in after the sheriff's office used publicly available GPS data from the app to identify him.
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Database Will Give Police Info on People With Disabilities
Calgary Herald, (05/20/2018), Associated Press
Ohio residents can voluntarily enter information about themselves and family members who have communication disabilities into a new database accessible by law enforcement officers. When the database goes online in early August, it will include information that ties individuals to specific vehicles and links to license plate reader system databases.
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"Stay in the Game" Media Campaign to Reduce Underage Drinking and Drug Use
BereaOnline.com, (05/21/2018)
Police departments in Richmond and Berea, Wisc., have teamed up with local drug-free student-athletes and Madison County Youth in Action to produce a media campaign against drinking and driving called "Stay in the Game." The campaign targets youth celebrating graduations and summer break, reminding them of the danger of mixing alcohol and/or drugs with driving.
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Del Norte County Sheriff's Office Converts Shotguns to "Less Lethal" Weapons
KRCR News Channel, (05/21/2018), Miranda Hutchison
In California's Del Norte County, the sheriff's office has converted all of its pump-action shotguns to less lethal weapons that fire beanbag rounds. The modification provides deputies with a medium-range less lethal option. Sheriff Erik Apperson said with the availability of AR-15 style carbines in patrol vehicles, his deputies no longer had a conventional use for the shotguns.
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GPS Darts, Drones, Powerful Grid of Cameras Helping Police Prevent & Crack Crimes
WBZ 4 CBS Boston, (05/21/2018), Cheryl Fiandaca
This article looks at several different "new tools in the toolbox" that law enforcement agencies are using to help them solve crimes, including surveillance video analysis, vehicle tracking and license plate reader systems, and new uses for DNA. Tools like these have been used to solve the Boston Marathon bombings and other Massachusetts crimes that might otherwise have become cold cases.
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Assets in the Opioid Epidemic, Working Dogs Can Also Become Its Victims
Penn Today, (05/21/2018)
In this transcript of a radio interview, Cynthia Otto, director of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine's Working Dog Center, discusses how working canines respond to opioid exposure, how to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to treat an overdose.
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Oakland Police Brings Back Its Horse-Mounted Unit
East Bay Express, (05/22/2018), Darwin Bond Graham
In 2017, the Oakland (Calif.) Police Department brought back its mounted patrol unit, which had been disbanded in 2005. Officers use the two horses available to patrol the trails of Joaquin Miller Park and to promote community policing at various local events, but the expense of running the unit is seen as a definite drawback. There are also community concerns that officers are being taken away from other duties.
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Corrections News

Report: Juvenile Probation Should Focus on Help, Not Punishment
Public News Service, (05/10/2018)
A recently released research report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Juvenile Justice Strategy Group recommends looking at alternatives to prison and jail time for the majority of juvenile offenders. The study says that juveniles respond better to a system of incentives and rewards than they do to punishment. Adopting such strategies would greatly reduce the juvenile incarcerated population.
Link to Article


"Women Can Do This": Female Inmates in Texas Find Fulfillment in Learning Technical Skills, But They Have Fewer Options Than Men
Texas Tribune, (05/21/2018), Sydney Greene
Some women in Texas correctional facilities are learning technical job skills, such as HVAC repair, but the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition says that incarcerated men in Texas are offered 27 more technical job skills courses than are women. The study said that compared to women in Texas' criminal justice system, men are offered far more technical education options, including options such as truck driving and bricklaying. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice disputes the report's findings.
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NYS Corrections Looking Into Possible Hacking of Secured Prison Phone System
WHEC, (05/18/2018)
An online tech magazine has been contacted by an alleged hacker who claims to have broken into the secure telephone system used by inmates of the New York Corrections System and their families. If the hack actually took place, credit card information of inmates' families stored in that system is at risk.
Link to Article


Yellowstone County Considers Trying Phone-based Court Date Reminders to Ease Jail Crowding
Billings Gazette, (05/18/2018), Mike Ferguson
Using grant funds, Montana's Yellowstone County plans to launch a pilot program whereby individuals charged with a crime provide a designated contact phone number at the time of booking. The system then uses that phone number make a call or send a text message reminding them about their court dates. In areas that already use the program, the rate of individuals showing up for their initial court dates has jumped at rates ranging from 25 to 50 percent
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Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Lifetime GPS Monitoring Not Punishment
Wisconsin Public Radio, (05/18/2018), Andrea Anderson
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that imposing lifetime GPS monitoring on sex offenders is not punishment and therefore, individuals do not need to be informed about it when entering into plea agreements. The ruling stemmed from a case where a man said he was not told about the lifetime monitoring when he entered a guilty plea, and that had he known, he would have pled differently.
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Bail Reform's Complex Relationship With Tech
TechCrunch, (05/20/2018), Megan Rose Dickey
Across the United States, more than 450,000 people who have been charged, but not yet tried or convicted, remain in the nation's prisons and jails because they have not paid bail. A number of states are looking at methods of bail reform that will greatly reduce the burden and expense of pretrial detention. This article looks at the surrounding issues, including a disproportionate effect of low-income individuals and persons of color.
Link to Article


Oklahoma Prisons Overflow as Inmates Say 'No' to Parole
State Impact Oklahoma, (05/17/2018), Quinton Chandler
In Oklahoma, eligible inmates can decide whether they want to be considered for parole, and approximately two-thirds elect to remain in prison rather than deal with the restrictions of parole. In some cases, inmates may receive credit for good behavior, shortening their sentences and gaining their freedom without any restrictions. This trend contributes to overcrowded correctional facilities and costs the state significant amounts of money.
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