Thursday, May 25, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Education Service District 105 Use of Technology Has Found New Ways to Keep Schools Safe
KIMA, (05/18/2017), Gustavo Olguin
Washington State Education District 105 in Yakima has put together a School Safety Operations & Coordination Center (SSOC) that the local sheriff has likened to having a second dispatch center. Staff use an advanced security system to monitor any emergency responses near local schools and initiate action as needed. The Center can also monitor social media at administrator request and uses the Inpointe mobile app to keep in contact with local law enforcement.
Link to Article

Deputy, Two EMS Providers Treated for Overdose Symptoms Responding to Call
Baltimore Sun, (05/23/2017), Andrea K. McDaniels and Erika Butler
After responding to a drug overdose in the Baltimore suburb of Abingdon, a Harford County deputy and two paramedics needed treatment for potential exposure to heroin and fentanyl recently. The deputy required treatment with Narcan, and the two paramedics needed less extensive intervention.
Link to Article

National Blue Alert Network for Police Will Borrow Concept From AMBER Alerts, (05/18/2017)
The Community Oriented Policing Services Office and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will jointly administer a new National Blue Alert Network, a nationwide communications system that will quickly circulate information on potentially threatening situations for law enforcement officers. The Federal Communications Commission will act as a third partner in the effort. Like AMBER Alerts, Blue Alerts will quickly spread information to law enforcement, media outlets and the public on the possible whereabouts, physical descriptions, vehicle information and other characteristics of people suspected of attacking law enforcement officers.
Link to Article

Manitowoc Scanners Go Quiet With Encryption
Herald Times-Reporter, (05/21/2017), Alisa M. Schafer
In Wisconsin, the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department, Manitowoc Police Department and Two Rivers Police Department have switched to exclusively using encrypted radio channels. Local departments say the change was made to promote officer safety, as residents can no longer use scanners to listen in on police calls.
Link to Article

Prince George's County Police Department to Expand Aviation Section
AirMed&Rescue Magazine, (05/22/2017)
The Prince George's County (Md.) Police Department has added a third helicopter to its aviation fleet. According to the manufacturer, the department is the first to fly a 450-shp Rolls-Royce 250-C20R/2-powered MD520N with a new Block 1 all-glass cockpit. The new helicopter will become operational in the second quarter of 2018.
Link to Article

New Training Video Aimed at Helping Officers Respond to Opioid Overdoses, (05/22/2017), Norman K. Styer
On May 22, Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and Loudon County Sheriff Mike Chapman jointly introduced deputies to a new training video on opiate addiction, including how to recognize and respond to overdoses. Loudon County Sheriff's deputies have used Narcan to treat overdose victims 13 times since they received initial training in its use in December 2015. Administrators and officers from other nearby jurisdictions also attended the video's debut. In 2016, for the fourth straight year, more Virginians died from overdoses (1,400) than died in vehicle accidents.
Link to Article

Corrections News

Three Arizona State Prisons Plan to Add Employment Centers to Help Soon-to-be Released Inmates Find Jobs
HavasuNews, (05/17/2017), Jenna Aronson
Inside three state prisons, the Arizona Department of Economic Security has partnered with the Arizona Department of Corrections to launch an employment program staffed by employment specialists from ARIZONA@WORK to help inmates find employers who are willing to hire them despite their backgrounds. A pilot program in the Mesa and Tucson parole offices led to the centers in the Tucson, Lewis and Perryville correctional facilities.
Link to Article

Hundreds of Missouri Sex Offenders Now Required to Wear GPS Monitoring Devices for Life
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (05/17/2017), Jesse Bogan
A revision to the Missouri state criminal code that took effect on Jan. 1, 2017, requires individuals who were convicted of 13 specified sex crimes based on actions that took place on or after Aug. 28, 2006, to wear GPS monitoring devices for life – even after they have completed serving their sentences. Several individuals are suing the state for imposing the retroactive sanctions.
Link to Article

Washington Prisoners Get Chance to Pursue 2-Year Degrees
Campus Dispatch, (05/17/2017), Dian Schaffhauser
A new Washington State law will open doors for programs that offer a state-funded associate's degree and certificate instruction to qualified individuals among the 18,000 inmates in state correctional facilities. Previously, inmates only had access to one-year vocational certificates and privately funded academic degree programs. Research shows that inmates who receive such education are 43 percent less likely to recidivate and 13 percent more likely to become employed.
Link to Article

Why You Should Care That Prisoners Have Access to Higher Ed
Independent Voter Network, (05/22/2017), Danika McClure
A number of new higher education programs, many provided by leaders in the education field, are becoming available to teach inmates career-building skills such as keeping up with technology, real-world knowledge and soft skills needed in today's job market. Studies show that inmates who have access to educational opportunities while incarcerated are less likely to become repeat offenders on release and more likely to find meaningful employment.
Link to Article

Empty Guard Towers Helped Atwater Prison Inmate Escape, Union Official Claims
Merced Sun-Star, (05/18/2017), Monica Velez
The first-ever escape of an inmate from the maximum security side of U.S Penitentiary Atwater might not have taken place if guards still staffed the prison towers, a local representative of the prison guards' union has said. The towers have gone unstaffed since 2011 due to budget cuts. Guaymar Cabrera-Hernandez escaped Friday, May 19, and was found several miles away along a nearby road a day later.
Link to Article

Stopping the Revolving Prison Door
MIT News, (05/10/2017)
J-PAL North America, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Department of Economics, is conducting randomized evaluations of several prisoner reintegration policies and programs, with a goal of helping policymakers direct funding and other efforts to successful initiatives. Research has shown that such programs are key in efforts to prevent recidivism and help former inmates succeed in reintegrating into society.
Link to Article

South Dakota Becomes First State to Offer Online Clemency Application
KSFY, (05/16/2017), Erika Leigh
The office of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has announced that individuals may now apply for a pardon using a new online system. There is no charge to submit an application at, although fees to obtain court documents and assessments do apply. The system alerts users to missing items in the application, which eliminates issues with the state's needing to process incomplete submissions.
Link to Article

9 Investigation Uncovers Prisoners Using Facebook Live While Locked Up, (05/22/2017)
The results of an investigation that showed numerous prisoners using Facebook Live, including posting videos of fights and weapons, have been turned over to the executive director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections. In one 40-minute posting, a convicted murderer appears to roam around a facility at will, and in the fight video, no guards appear to try to get the situation under control. The use of contraband cell phones by inmates is a problem in South Carolina and across the nation.
Link to Article

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

Officer Nearly Dies After Accidental Overdose, (05/15/2017)
It took four doses of Narcan to revive an East Liverpool, Ohio, police officer Friday night in the aftermath of a traffic stop. Officer Chris Green inadvertently got a small amount of fentanyl on his hand after a patdown and began to suffer its effects after returning to the station; a fellow officer administered one dose at the station and staff at a nearby hospital gave him three additional doses following admission. Guidance for all first responders on best practices in the presence of a suspected overdose can be located at  The DEA has also issued a video warning first responders of the dangers of Fentanyl that can be found at

CCPD Officers Share Selfies to ‘Humanize the Badge'
Clayton, (05/10/2017), Chelsea Prince
Using the hashtag "LEselfiechallenge," a number of law enforcement agencies in the metro Atlanta area are sharing selfies of officers interacting with family members in an attempt to show local communities that officers are human, too. The challenge originated in the Norcross Police Department with its social media coordinator, and Chief Billy Grogan of the Dunwoody Police Department has spread the challenge through the Metro Atlanta Law Enforcement Social Media Group.
Link to Article

Facebooking a Felony: How Social Media Is Helping Police Catch Crooks
Fox 4, (05/12/2017), Lisa Greenberg
Social media has become a tool that law enforcement agencies across the country are using to investigate and solve crimes. Cape Coral, Fla., area departments say that it has upped officers' workload, but also resulted in more arrests and more case resolutions.
Link to Article

While Dispatchers Get Familiar With New Systems, KC Police Officers Told to Refrain From Some Regular Tasks
Fox 4, (05/11/2017), Megan Dillard
Until issues have been resolved with the city's new computer-aided dispatch system, patrol officers in Kansas City, Kan., have been told not to initiate calls to dispatch by stopping speeding drivers, pulling people over, or making any other routine traffic stops or self-initiated activities. The stoppage is intended to give dispatchers time to become more familiar with the new system. Officers are to continue to initiate action in the event of an emergency, however.
Link to Article

Missing Fairfax Co. Woman Identified, Confirmed Dead 27 Years Later
WTOP, (05/13/2017), John Domen
Police in Orange County, Calif., have used the National Institute of Justice's NamUS (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System) to solve a 27-year-old cold case and bring closure to the family of a Fairfax County, Va., woman. The department entered DNA, fingerprints and other physical material into the system, and positively identified the woman based on fingerprints taken when she had worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Link to Article

Metro Looks for New Options for Less Lethal Force, Shows Off New Sponge Rounds
8Las Vegas Now, (05/11/2017), John Langeler
Metro Las Vegas Police will begin using a new sponge round this summer to increase their less lethal options. The new rounds are bigger and somewhat softer than the beanbags currently used by the force, but actually produce more pain. The rounds are shot out of a weapon that looks like a 1930s tommy gun.
Link to Article

A First Shot at That Split Second
Toledo Blade, (05/11/2017)
The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy recently opened two buildings in its new "training village." The facility includes an area where officers can practice making split-second decisions in a video simulation, which includes the option to conduct a live role-play scenario ranging through several rooms. This editorial discusses why such scenario-based training is important.
Link to Article

Clergy Seek to Bridge Divide Between Cops and Communities
Fox News, (05/12/2017), Jonathan Serie
One Congregation One Precinct (One COP), a new nationwide program, uses houses of worship leaders as go-betweens for law enforcement and local communities. The Atlanta-based initiative plans to use activities and community meetings to resolve conflicts. In Atlanta, several houses of worship leaders recently took "shoot, don't shoot" training to help them understand law enforcement officers' perspectives.
Link to Article

Oklahoma Law Enforcement Officers Receive Training on Handling Dog Encounters and Veterinary Crime Scene Analysis
Humane, (05/15/2017)
From May 15-19, 2017, more than 550 Oklahoma law enforcement officers are receiving free training and resources on handling encounters with dogs from the Humane Society of the United States and local organizations. Officers receive training on non-lethal force options, dog behavior, mannerisms and body language; veterinary forensic crime scene analysis; and differentiating between animal and human evidence. Individuals receive eight Counsel on Law Enforcement Education Training credits and free equipment that will help them implement their new skills.
Link to Article

Bulletproof Vest Saves Chicago Cop's Life in West Side Shooting
Chicago, (05/12/2017), Joe Vince
A Chicago police officer suffered only a minor injury Friday thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest, police and hospital officials say. The plainclothes officer was conducting a narcotics mission and got out of his car to question a man and a woman he thought were acting suspiciously. The man fled, and the woman opened fire. She was wounded multiple times and hospitalized in critical condition when the officers returned fire.
Link to Article

Corrections News

California Shifts From Scanners to Dogs to Catch Smugglers
U.S. News and World Report, (05/12/2017), Associated Press
As a three-year, $15.3 million program that used a variety of techniques to try to stop contraband from entering California correctional facilities comes to an end, the state has decided not to continue many of the technical aspects of the program. Rather, funds will go toward using ensuring that each prison has a minimum of two dogs that will sniff out contraband, including cellphones and drugs. Facilities will also continue to use a less intensive technological approach.
Link to Article

8,000 Colorado Inmates Given Computer Tablets With Games, Books, Music
Breitbart News, (05/10/2017), Charlie Nash
In Colorado, some 8,000 prison inmates may now place phone calls from their cells between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 part of a pilot program. Inmates can also use the devices to play games, read books and listen to music. If successful, GTL Corp. hopes to expand the Inspire program nationwide.
Link to Article

NJ High Court Makes New Ruling on Parole Conditions for Sex Offenders
CBS Philly, (05/09/2017), Mike DeNardo
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that the state may require sex offenders to take lie detector tests related to compliance with the terms of their release. However, the state parole board must ensure that offenders are aware of their rights against self-incrimination prior to testing.
Link to Article

A Fresh Take on Ending the Jail-to-Street-to-Jail Cycle
The Marshall Project, (05/10/2017), Christie Thompson
A program launched in April 2017 in New York City provides apartments for repeat offenders who have cycled in and out of jail for years, usually on low-level drug charges. The program identifies frequent offenders and offers them permanent housing and support services on release, an initiative that will save the city some $16,000 per person compared to the costs of returning them to jail. Services include addiction treatment and counseling. Similar programs have been started in other cities across the country.
Link to Article

Colorado's Pricey Polygraph Testing of Sex Offenders Under Fire as Critics Target Accuracy, Expense
The Denver Post, (05/14/2017), Christopher N. Osher
A bipartisan group of legislators and a retired judge are questioning a Colorado program that uses lie detector tests administered to convicted sex offenders to help state officials decide whether the inmates are suited for release. The program has cost the state more than $5 million over a seven-year period, and the group contends too much weight is given to the tests, which some consider unreliable.
Link to Article

New Technology Being Used to ID Offenders
WSAW News 7, (05/12/2017), CNN
The Milwaukee County Jail recently began using iris scans to identify individuals booked into the facility. The Inmate Recognition and Identification System compares the scans to those of more than 1 million individuals whose scans are recorded in databases across the country.
Link to Article

Guernsey Prison Testing Pioneering Anti-drone Tech
ITV, (05/12/2017)
Skyfence, a new technology that detects and deflects incoming drones, will be used in a pilot project in Les Nicolles Prison in Guernsey. The use of drones to bring contraband into correctional facilities is an increasing problem in the United Kingdom.
Link to Article

Milwaukee Police, County to Share Real-time GPS Data on Juvenile Offenders
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, (05/11/2017), Ashley Luthern
A new agreement with Milwaukee County gives officers with the Milwaukee Police Department real-time access to data from juveniles wearing offender tracking devices. The agency's Fusion Center and dispatch center will be given access if a juvenile offender goes outside a designated area or if the police have probable cause for an arrest related to a criminal incident.
Link to Article