Editor's Note: Many of these technologies are being used by state and local law enforcement agencies for their homeland security, all hazards as well as counterterrorism missions.
NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, September 6, 2007
"City Looks at $40M Police Headquarters"
Waukegan News Sun (IL) (09/04/07); Peterson, Craig
The Waukegan, Ill., City Council is considering design plans for a new headquarters for its police. A five-floor building with communications, training, investigations, records, evidence processing, and office space is thought to cost around $40 million. A police headquarters outfitted with the modern crime-fighting devices is the most sophisticated and costly facility any municipal government will construct, architects have informed aldermen. While initially, plans had called for redoing the previous city hall facility or constructing on an adjacent location, Police Chief Bill Biang explained that seven architectural companies studied refurbishing the present facility and all said it was not a good idea. Biang added there is no room to expand horizontally, and the building cannot support adding floors to it. He also stated that acquiring land would counter the savings of redoing the facility. The council may use a referendum to pay for the new police headquarters. http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/
"A High-Tech Helping Hand for Soldiers"
Philadelphia Inquirer (09/04/07); Holcomb, Henry J.
The Wearable Intelligent Reporting Environment (WIRE), developed by Lockheed Martin, is designed to help soldiers in the field by recording their activity and turning speech it records into documents so soldiers do not have to write reports after a hard day on patrol. If approved, soldiers would wear a headset with an earphone and microphone designed to separate voices from gunfire and other noise. The headset is connected to a rugged but lightweight computer tucked into the soldier's combat vest. The system allows soldiers to dictate a report while in the field, all without taking their hands off their weapons or their eyes off of the action. The computer asks for responses that fill out forms designed for different situations and asks about words or situations it does not understand. The computer automatically creates a report and sends it to commanders, along with data from the soldier's GPS receiver. Data from multiple patrols can be analyzed immediately to fine-tune strategy and tactics. WIRE is designed to work with headsets and batteries already used by the military, and because the device does not have a video screen a single charge lasts as long as most patrols. WIRE also has significant potential for law enforcement applications. Crime analysis expert Robert Cheetham says fresh digital reports from the field would be extremely valuable to police commanders and could allow them to detect patterns and prevent future crimes. http://www.philly.com/inquirer/business/20070904_
"GPS Technology Helps to Locate Police Dogs"
Cherry Hill Courier-Post (NJ) (09/04/07); Strupczewski, Leo
The Camden County, N.J., Sheriff's Department is one of the initial law enforcement agencies in the nation to obtain GPS technology that can help an officer locate his dog. The dog's collar contains the GPS device, and the dog's officer carries a hand-held device not much larger than a BlackBerry, to track the animal. If a dog gets lost, department members can locate him by finding a pawprint on the handler's screen and proceeding towards it. The Minnesota firm White Bear Technologies manufactures the Roam-EO technology, and contributed four units to the Camden Sheriff's Department's four canine divisions. Roam-EO offers the department real-time information, which is sent to an officer's hand-held unit. Each device is priced at $499, and there is an insurance fee for dogs of $4,500 to $6,000, although that price can increase if training is included. United States Police Canine Association executive director Russ Hess thinks the technology will become more popular as the systems become more advanced.
"Police to Unveil New Communication Gear"
WTNH.com--Channel 8 (Conn.) (09/05/07); Latina, Jodi
First responders in Connecticut will have new technology in the near future to assist them in emergency events. On Wednesday, they are set to receive a communication system that helps links departments throughout Connecticut. It will be the initial state in the country to have the radio common channel erected. The system is intended to maintain open communication lines during an emergency. Currently, if a police officer in Enfield, for example, wishes to speak with an officer in Madison, they would have to use the phone. With a common radio frequency, the link could be immediate. The new system will also keep portable radios in sync. The technology, which is known as band, is priced at $1 million, and connects to current radio systems.
"Groves Police Get Anti-Gang Grant"
Mid County Chronicle (TX) (09/05/07); Kutac, Dennis
Authorities with the Groves, Texas, Police Department claim superior technology equipment is what they want to buy after getting a federal granted intended to help target gang violence and associated crimes. Sen. John Cornyn ( R) claims the $350,350 grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice's Anti-Gang Initiative and was dispensed by the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Groves Police Department Det. Steven Hinton noted the proposal the department actually presented for the Project Safe Neighborhoods grant totaled $84,489, which it requested earlier this year and from which it obtained around $80,000. Hinton explained the equipment the department wants to acquire includes thermal-imaging devices, binoculars, recorders, and transmitters. "Our department will be buying technology extremely advanced mainly for undercover work and surveillance," he stated. Groves City Marshal Jeff Wilmore pointed out that the grant will also enable the Groves Police Department to bring its Safe Streets Crime Unit and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force together to deal with gang-associated and personal crimes. Cornyn stated the Anti-Gang Initiative offers money to support new or enlarged anti-gang and enforcement plans under the current Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.
"Sandy Springs, GA Police Department Selects SunGard's OSSI Public Safety Software"
SunGard HTE, a leading international provider of government information technologies, reports that the Sandy Springs, Ga., Police Department has signed a contract to implement the company's OSSI Public Safety Suite of software. The suite provides a fully integrated system that affords each agency real-time access to shared information, helping to improve response times, reduce costs, and increase officer safety. The Sandy Springs Police Department will implement the Records Management System and Mobile Computing components of the OSSI Public Safety Suite. Records Management System provides a comprehensive system to collect, store, and access information gathered by law enforcement personnel during daily activities. Mobile Computing Technology is a wireless application that provides access to information for officers in the field. Together, these components will help officers to stay connected with real-time data while in the field. http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=46613
"Lawmen on Target with CVTC Technology"
Calhoun Times (GA) (08/31/07); West, E.K.
The Northwest Georgia Enforcement Executives Association convened in August at Coosa Valley Technical College (CVTC) for the introduction of the new Computer LaserShot Technology in the Criminal Justice program. The innovative technology was given to the officers by CVTC Criminal Justice coordinator and instructor Tom Bojo. "This is an outstanding piece of equipment that can be used not only for laser shot simulation classroom purposes but law enforcement departments can reserve the simulator for training," he stated. LaserShot is a computer-simulation program that employs a simulated handgun and a laser-action screen. Numerous drills and situations--including vehicle chases and hostage scenarios--take place onscreen with various endings. LaserShot instruction is only done at CVTC's Gordon County campus as part of the Criminal Justice program. In addition, the program provides classrooms, crime-scene rooms, computer research facilities, and rescue maze capability. "Our technology capabilities give students hands on experience allowing them to use what they learn in the field," notes Bojo, which keeps officers interested and offers them ongoing feedback.
"Area Police Forces Add High-Tech Gear"
Valley News Dispatch (08/26/07); Biedka, Chuck
Harrison Township, Pa., law enforcement will soon begin utilizing a video enhancement system, while police in O'Hara will discover how to utilize a high-tech surveillance system that can be employed to investigate a variety of crimes, including drug trafficking. The video enhancement system can be utilized with the majority of video systems to upgrade the quality of images, such as those found on a firm's surveillance tapes. Meanwhile, the video surveillance system is small, easy to hide, and employs a camera that is motion activated. The system, which also records sounds, can be utilized inside or outdoors. O'Hara's surveillance system is the third advanced technological tool that the police department has acquired from the U.S. government. The department is also employing a thermal imaging camera. Harrison Police Chief Mike Klein noted his department will pursue a grant in 2008 to purchase the same surveillance system O'Hara is using. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_524172.html
"Oil City Police Go to Nab Speeders"
Oil City Derrick (PA) (08/30/07); Clark, Karen
The Oil City, Pa., Police Department has been employing the Electronic Non-Radar Device (ENRADD) since January, permitting officers to more aggressively pursue speeders. In addition, ENRADD makes it a lot harder for violators to figure out where police are probably waiting and watching. ENRADD--a wireless speed-detection device--enables police to operate a speed check almost anyplace, including on leading thoroughfares, bridges, and back streets. ENRADD has a pair of tripods that each have sensor units. Officers put the three-foot tripods on either side of the road. As cars drive between the sensors, their speed is determined and sent through a wireless radio connection to a display head situated in a patrol vehicle. Experts contend that ENRADD can save a police department $3,000 to $5,000 a car annually on gas and maintenance because police do not have to chase vehicles that are going too fast. http://www.thederrick.com/stories/08312007-5008.shtml
"Video Billboards Coming This Way"
Philadelphia Inquirer (08/21/07) P. E1; Slobodzian, Joseph A.
The Philadelphia region will soon erect digital billboards, which are being lauded by police for promoting public safety. ClearChannel Outdoor stated it would have eight 14-by-48 video billboards with advertising images or messages that would change every eight seconds on leading highways by the end of this year from Bucks County to Philadelphia and into Delaware County. The company attempted to install a couple of billboards on Aug. 20, only to be stopped by continuous rain. ClearChannel claims the billboards recently informed drivers in Minneapolis and St. Paul about the demise of the Interstate 35W bridge and offered optional routes. Separately, a missing girl from Minneapolis was located one day after digital billboards were utilized in an Amber Alert. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson supports the digital billboards, noting they are in the "community's best interests because they have the capability to deliver important emergency information, such as Amber Alerts or disaster-preparedness bulletins." Driver-safety organizations and environmentalists, however, contend that the billboards will endanger motorists and are an eyesore.
"Asotin County Sheriff Upgrades Tasers"
Lewiston Morning Tribune (ID) (08/21/07) P. 1D; Cole, David
Deputies in Asotin County, Idaho, are now carrying Tasers with newer technology, which are better at controlling dangerous suspects and are safer, authorities claim. In June, Asotin County Sheriff Ken Bancroft began carrying the new Taser X26 model, replacing the older Taser M26. The Taser X26 discharges a pair of small probes, which look like fish hooks that have been straightened. The probes can fly as far as 25 feet, penetrating the clothing of a suspect and going into the body, Bancroft explained. The Taser X26 costs $200 more than the M26, at $800 apiece. The sheriff's office bought 14 of the X26s, one for every field deputy and two for joint use by Asotin County Jail correctional deputies. The Taser X26 is shaped like a firearm, weighs less than the older Tasers, and documents the length of activation time. http://www.lmtribune.com
"Strategy Game Trains Cops and Firefighters"
PC World (08/23/07); McMillan, Robert
Graduate students from the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering are collaborating with Sandia National Laboratories on a real-time strategy game that allows police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders to practice emergency scenarios. The game, Ground Truth, is realistic because events in the game occur in real time, putting added pressure on first responders to act swiftly. Jim Pointer, the medical director of Alameda County's Emergency Medical Services Agency, recently completed an intense session of Ground Truth that called for him to oversee a city's response to a toxic chemical spill. During the scenario, he was responsible for managing traffic barriers, putting hazmat teams and police cars in position to respond to the spill, and managing medical collection points while keeping an eye out for toxic plumes. Pointer says the game is fun, educational, and has great promise. Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III game provided inspiration for Ground Truth, which could eventually receive funding from private industry or even the Homeland Security Department. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,136306-c,games/article.html
"Dallas PD Fights Crime With Video Surveillance"
Security Technology & Design (07/07) Vol. 17, No. 7, P. 52; Levin, Gregg
In early 2005, the Dallas Police Department launched a pilot project involving the installation of video surveillance cameras in the busy Deep Ellum area of the city. After just four months of operation, the project was credited with significantly reducing the number of crimes in the area, prompting the Police Department to consider expansion. With funding from the Meadows Foundation, bids were sought to install a wireless video surveillance system in Dallas' central business district with a goal of reducing crime in hot spots by 30 percent. In January, the new system was deployed, covering about 30 percent of the downtown area with round-the-clock monitoring and allowing operators to change the direction of the camera lenses remotely as well as allowing officers to redeploy cameras as needed to increase monitoring capabilities at special events or other downtown locations. The Police Department now plans to increase the number of cameras deployed around the city by threefold.
Police Magazine (08/07) Vol. 31, No. 8, P. 34; Griffith, David
Since it was closed in 1996, the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville has hosted the annual Mock Prison Riot, which is one of the premier corrections and law enforcement training events in the world. The Mock Prison Riot, which is held each May, is planned and executed by the staff of the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization (OLTEC) and the National Corrections and Law Enforcement Training and Technology Center (NCLETTC). Personnel from the two organizations act as leaders of the "rioters," who are mostly students from local colleges and high schools. In addition, OLTEC develops scenarios that allow law enforcement agencies that are participating in the Mock Prison Riot to practice putting down prison disturbances. Although the scenarios are choreographed to some extent, there are some surprises for the responders. In some of the scenarios, the prisoners give up quickly, while in others they put up a fight. Along with developing the riot scenarios, OLETC and NCLETTC work with the participating law enforcement agencies and the makers of the products that are on display at the Mock Prison Riot's Technology Showcase to provide training opportunities that involve new or improved products. Since it is held in an abandoned prison, the event offers a one-of-a-kind training opportunity for law enforcement agencies such as the Gwinnett County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office's Rapid Response Team. "We really can't train very well in our jail because it is occupied," said Major Carl Sims of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. "And that's a problem because a cell offers a unique environment that's difficult to duplicate outside of a corrections facility." http://www.policemag.com/Articles/2007/08/Riot-Act.aspx