Editor's Note: Many of these technologies are being used by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for counterterrorism and homeland security.
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Daily Times (08/06/07); Butler, Iva
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is creating a fusion center which will permit law enforcement agencies throughout the state to network when solving crimes. The center is situated in Nashville at the TBI headquarters and is 4,000 square feet. The center has 26 analysts, and data from throughout Tennessee is being entered into the center's computer. Within the coming few months, all the data from law enforcement agencies in Tennessee is scheduled to be online. The data is comprised of open records that anybody is allowed to acquire from any law enforcement agency in Tennessee. The plan is to move all the information into one location where analysts can conduct a more in-depth service and study crime trends. Some of the crimes that the TBI investigates are illegal drug production, sales and use, juvenile crime, and weapons.
"Coming Next in the Police Arsenal: Light Sabers?"
Indianapolis Star (08/08/07)
The Department of Homeland Security is trying to equip federal agents with a light-saber device giving off a bright strobe that would temporarily blind criminals, terrorists, and disruptive airplane passengers. It is the newest government plan to create a nonlethal weapon. To date, the Homeland Security Department has spent $1 million on testing the light-emitting diode (LED) incapacitator. If it yields good results, the department claims the device could be in the possession of thousands of police, border agents, and National Guardsmen within three years. The light-saber functions by temporarily blinding and confusing an individual. Once focused at somebody's eyes, several light pulses can be initiated, and the suspect's eyes cannot compensate fast enough to see.
"High-Tech Cameras Give Cars the Boot"
Chicago Tribune (08/06/07)
On Aug. 3, the Chicago Department of Revenue stated it would erect cameras in 26 of its boot vans, which search city streets for vehicles that should be booted due to traffic breaches. A vehicle becomes eligible for a boot--which makes the car unmovable--when a driver acquires three tickets or more on any vehicle registered in his name and ignores multiple requests for payment. The new cameras have license-plate recognition technology that does away with the need to enter a vehicle's plate number into a handheld gadget to decide if it can be booted. In addition, the cameras read license plates on either side of a street at the same time, which will enable crews to drive down a street one time instead of twice. Three newly-outfitted vans are currently monitoring the streets. The Department of Revenue believes that all of its boot crews will employ the new technology by the end of this month.
"Fingerprints May Soon Yield Gender Clues"
British researchers have developed a novel fingerprinting technique that generates chemical clues regarding the suspected criminals gender and diet, according to research published in Analytical Chemistry. Gel tapes lift the prints, which are then examined in a spectroscopic microscope. Infrared rays irradiate the sample to produce a comprehensive chemical composition. An infrared array detector then processes the chemical structure. The chemical clues could suggest whether the suspect was a meat-eater or a vegetarian, and may distinguish traces of handled items, such as narcotics, gunpowder, and chemical or biological weapons.
"MySpace Helps NLR Police Link to Students"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (08/06/07); Carrick, Kayla
Police officers at Arkansas middle schools have erected MySpace pages, in order to be in touch with students who spend a lot of time on the Internet. In the last year, around 24 pages sponsored by police departments throughout the United States have come up on MySpace, which has around 160 million profile pages overall. School resource officers Jon Schwulst and Fran Hichens note that once in a while, students will utilize MySpace to inform officers about trouble at school. Hichens, who works at Poplar Street Middle School, explained that one of his students was putting "alarming" items on a MySpace page, and that another student informed Hichens about the problem through a MySpace page, thereby enabling Hichens to help the student get personal assistance. Miami-Dade, Fla., Police Department Sgt. Erick Palmer, who erected and manages his department's MySpace page, notes his department's presence dissuades online predators. Palmer was one of the initial police officers to create a viable MySpace page sponsored by a law enforcement agency. Miami-Dade's site, which gets over 5,000 hits every month, has been helpful in recruiting officers and promoting the department's youth-volunteer campaign. In addition, the department has gotten anonymous tips on MySpace that have resulted in drug busts. http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/197811/
"Understanding the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) System"
PoliceOne.com (08/07/07); Marshall, Mark A.
International Association of Chiefs of Police Mark A. Marshall says data-sharing has become the new "buzzword" among law enforcement groups. He states a superior system would obtain crime-related information from all involved law-enforcement interests and change it into relevant data, an idea that has became the basis for the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) project. N-DEx's goal is to share detailed, correct, up-to-date, and helpful data from all jurisdiction regions and offer new investigative tools that improve the country's ability to combat crime and terrorism. Marshall says at the heart of N-DEx is enabling law-enforcement groups to provide their incident information to a main repository where it is compared with events which are already on record to find connections between individuals, locations, things, or related activities. The events can then stay on file to be compared with all pending incoming incidents. Marshall notes that local, state, and tribal law enforcement investigators will be the leading beneficiaries of the program. He states that N-DEx will also offer contact data and collaboration tools for institutions working on cases of interest to all parties. http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/MarkMarshall/articles/1295732/
"Police Plan to Use New Tech to Find Missing Persons"
San Bernardino County Sun (08/02/07); Lopez, C.L.
Redlands, Calif.'s Police Department will soon implement new technology to be employed as a part of the department's Never Alone Safely Back Home program that was begun last year. The database-enrollment program is offered at no cost to city residents. Thumb prints, photographs, data, and sometimes samples of DNA are stored on file. The data is utilized to locate and identify people with memory loss who become lost. While in 2006 and 2007, the program has employed gadgets that were sported on the ankle and equipped with GPS technology to locate people with memory loss who wander away from their residences and get lost, Police Chief Jim Bueermann said recently that a new technology known as Project Lifesaver--which transmits a radio signal from a bracelet that is similar to a wristwatch--will be used. He noted that the Project Lifesaver gadget has the benefit of being more comfortable to wear than the GPS devices. While it is not known how much Project Lifesaver will cost, Bueermann stated he is thinking about utilizing grant funds so inhabitants can use the devices.
"Satellite Aids in Tracking Bank Robbers: Bad Guys Now Have to Worry About GPS Technology"
New Haven Register (08/05/07); Kaempffer, William
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is being utilized in New Haven, Conn., to follow bank thieves, most likely the first time it has been used for that reason. "The banks will tend to use it in higher-risk locations because it's not the cheapest," explains Connecticut Bankers Association senior vice president Lindsey R. Pinkham. "That, to some degree, has limited its deployment." Industry sources claim one product being worked on is a computerized fiscal recognition system in a current database. While GPS technology functions in a similar fashion to traditional dye packs, which are placed alongside money and go off after the thief exits the bank, the GPS tracker silently transmits signals that permit police to precisely uncover the suspect's whereabouts on a computer screen. Throughout the country, GPS technology has been more and more used by police to solve a broad variety of crimes. A female bank robber was recently apprehended in New Haven after exiting the branch with money and a concealed transmitter. Police were able to find and arrest her in minutes by using GPS to locate her. http://www.nhregister.com
"Plate Scanners Give Police Rapid Tool"
Arizona Republic (08/01/07) P. 4; Sowers, Carol
Law enforcement groups in Arizona's Valley region are employing high-speed technologies to capture license-plate images and monitor stolen vehicles utilized in crimes. Police hope the scanners will get violent individuals off the streets sooner. The Scottsdale Police Department intends to use funds captured from illegal activities to purchase four high-speed license-plate scanners. Three of the gadgets will be erected on police cruisers, while the remaining device is a handheld one that can be transferred from one police cruiser to another. The license-plate scanners can read a plate in around one second. They then look through a "hot sheet" of wanted cars downloaded to officers' cruiser computers. If a match is found, certain readers utilize voice technology to notify the officer. The scanners have helped find numerous stolen vehicles and helped result in multiple arrests in Phoenix. http://www.arizonarepublic.com
"Radiation-Monitor Study Sought"
Washington Post (08/01/07) P. D2; O'Harrow, Robert Jr.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) chief Michael Chertoff has requested that the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency create a team of independent experts to review the effectiveness of DHS radiation-detection machines used to scan trucks and cargo containers. A Government Accountability Office report found that the machines were not nearly effective as the DHS had advertised to Congress. In reaction to the report, Congress has mandated that Chertoff ensure that the machines are effective before implementing the machines as part of a $1.2 billion project. Chertoff has sent a letter to several lawmakers, promising that a "highly experienced team of technical and programmatic" experts will review the machines.
"10 Fingerprints Needed to Enter US Soon"
Manila Bulletin (07/31/07)
A pilot program will be launched in late 2007 at 10 major U.S. airports to test the feasibility of digitally scanning all 10 fingerprints of incoming passengers rather than the two currently scanned under the U.S.-VISIT Program. The airports chosen for the pilot are Logan International, Chicago OHare International, George Bush Intercontinental, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Miami International, John F. Kennedy International, Orlando International, San Francisco International, and Dulles International. The new requirement will apply to passengers from countries participating in the U.S. Visa-Waiver program as well as those who require a visa to enter the Untied States. U.S. Department of Homeland Security operations director P.T. Wright says that the scanning of additional fingerprints would not take more time than the current procedure but would ensure near 100 percent accuracy. http://www.mb.com.ph/TOUR2007073199113.html#
"Sky Spies Target Crime"
Mirror (UK) (08/03/07) P. 6; Cunningham, Jimmy
The Republic of Ireland has acquired two Israeli-made Orbiter UAVs that will be used for military activities and for monitoring drug smuggling along the Irish border and coastline. The unmanned planes, which were purchased at a price of 780,000 euros, have a range of 15 kilometers, can be used to spy from an altitude of 15,000 feet, and contain two cameras that can be used day or night. They can be carried in a soldier's backpack, assembled in 10 minutes, and launched from a catapult. Israel has used the unmanned vehicles to pinpoint targets before fighter aircraft are called in. Switzerland will use the versatile craft to monitor soccer fans during Euro 2008. http://www.mirror.co.uk
"Mauritians Pioneer Emergency Preparedness Training in Second Life"
L'Express (07/23/07); Beedasy-Ramloll, Jaishree
Idaho State University researchers have established a virtual town where first responders can receive disaster training in the popular Web-based 3D virtual world Second Life. The town, which includes a police station, hospital, and residences, is located in Second Life's Play2Train section, which is a federally-funded collaborative effort involving the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several universities. Real-life first responders can use their computers to visit the Play2Train area, where they can participate in several types of virtual training events, including Alternative Care Facility Mobile Quarantine and Healthcare Facility "Sidewalk Triage" for an Avian Flu Pandemic. The Second Life virtual world is populated by real-life people who control their "avatars" in the fictional world; these avatars are capable of interacting with and communicating with other avatars within the virtual world. Thus, the avatars can participate in the disaster-training exercises--including instructional courses and table-top exercises--which have some advantages over real-world training in that simulated weather conditions such as rain, snow, and lightning can be added to provide realism to the training. The researchers behind the Play2Train effort believe that the training exercises in the virtual world could eventually supplant real-world exercises. http://www.lexpress.mu/display_article.php?news_id=90612
"New Less-Lethal Series of Projectile Launchers for Law Enforcement and Military Now Available"
Market Wire (07/30/07)
Security With Advanced Technology, Inc., a leading provider of security products and services, reports that its new MK Series of less-lethal projectile launchers designed primarily for use by military and law enforcement are now available for sale and delivery. Developed by Veritas Tactical, a division of Security With Advanced Technology, the MK Series of less-lethal launchers are propelled by high pressured air and shoot PAVA-filled projectiles, which break open on impact releasing a cloud of potent PAVA powder that causes subjects to cough, choke and become temporarily debilitated. The powder is significantly stronger than the effect of pepper spray. The launchers give military and law enforcement officers the ability to deliver less-lethal rounds accurately at a point target at 50 meters, providing them with a tactical advantage in many control situations. The MK Series also delivers rounds up to 100 meters for riot and crowd control situations. http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0284005.htm