Editor's Note: Many of the technologies are being used for first reponder domestic homeland security and counterterrorism missions.
U.S. to Begin Offering RFID-Equipped Passport Cards
In an effort to ease congestion at land and sea checkpoints, the United States will soon offer passport cards equipped with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips that can be read from about 20 feet away. The system will then check data from the chip to compare the information with terrorist and criminal watch lists. The cards will be optional; however, they are not available for air travel. Travelers also can select a more secure and costlier $97 e-passport, which has a read distance of only 3 inches.
Preventing Bicycle Theft - and Public Safety
A Ph.D. student from Leeds University has developed a video surveillance program that alerts to the theft of a bicycle. The system identifies when an individual has parked his or her bike and sends an alert if another individual removes the bike. The system is able to store a detailed color image of the individual parking the bike and uses it to compare to the individual removing the bike. If there are significant discrepancies between the two images the system recognizes it as a problem and alerts the operators.
CCPD Receives Federal Grant for Thermal Imager
Charles City Press, (12/26/07)
In an effort to assist first responders nationwide, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through the FY 2007 Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP), has made $33.7 million available to fund equipment and training needs. The Charles City (Iowa) Police Department will be using its $12,000 to purchase thermal imaging equipment, which could be used to conduct search and rescue. CEDAP funding is allocated to law enforcement and other emergency responder organizations based on five specific financial and capability needs: personal protective equipment; thermal imaging, night vision, and video surveillance tools; chemical and biological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and communications interoperability equipment. The Federal funding is integrated with State planning processes, and the State's administrative agency has the chance to review jurisdictions' applications to ensure they are in line with the State's homeland sec! urity plan.
FBI Prepares Vast Database of Biometrics
washingtonpost.com, (12/22/07), Ellen Nakashima
The FBI is taking on the task of building a database of peoples' physical characteristics that would provide the government the chance to identify individuals in the United States and abroad. Digital images are already being loaded into the FBI systems, and in the coming months the FBI plans to award a contract that will greatly increase the amount of biometrics information it receives. Biometrics use is increasing within the government sector. The U.S. Department of Defense is using biometrics information to allow access to foreign U.S. military bases, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been using IRIS scans at select airports to identify passengers that have undergone and passed a background check to get through airports faster. The Criminal Justice Integrated System (CJIS) presently matches or rules out as many as 100,000 fingerprints a day. With this contract that same server will process palm print, iris, and facial shape data. This will give public sa! fety officers the chance to know a person's background in seconds.
NYPD Going Green on Electric Scooters
Associated Press, (12/21/07), Tom Hays
In an effort to keep the streets safe and the air clean, the New York Police Department (NYPD) is testing four Vetrix scooters that are electric and ultra-quiet. These scooters will be duty tested on the road in an attempt to reduce the use of gasoline by the city's large police fleet. These units could be used to handle the duties presently handled by NYPD's fleet of gas scooters. These duties include park patrol, crowd management, and traffic/parking enforcement.
'Stolen Car Hunter' Gives Escondido Police an Added Boost
NorthCountyTimes.com, (12/25/07), Sarah Wilkins
For the Escondido Police Department vehicle theft is a concern, but the department has added automated license plate recognition to its tools to help patrol officers scan license plates and locate stolen cars. The system has the capacity to scan and rapidly capture license plate numbers from passing cars, and then compare that information against a database of stolen vehicles. If there is a positive match, the system alerts the officer both audibly and on his mobile data terminal (MDT). The system can also alert the officer of vehicles that are wanted or that have been identified as part of an AMBER alert.
Wartrace Installs Surveillance Cameras
Shelbyville Times-Gazette, (1/9/2008), Brian Mosely
Due to U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant funds, video surveillance will be used to monitor the downtown area of Wartrace (Tennessee) and the CSX rails that run through it. The system will be set up and installed by Stewart Security, with the installation costs being paid by the city and the balance paid using the $4,000 grant award. The funding allowed for the purchase of five cameras and two DVR units that will be used to monitor the railroad crossing at the center of town. The intersection is not being monitored because of crime, but because of the amount of hazardous materials that go through that area on trains. The systems DVR component is designed to handle additional cameras, and the city hopes to take advantage of that functionality in the future.
Tracking Police Cars
Journal Gazette, (1/9/2008)
A Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette editorial describes Police Chief Rusty York's plan to have Automated Vehicle Location devices installed in a majority of the police department's 523 cruisers. These devices will allow dispatchers to know the location of cruisers in relation to calls for assistance, and then dispatch officers accordingly. This decision is believed to improve officer safety and reduce the response time to residents' calls for assistance. With this system in place, the hope is it will provide command staff with a tool to assist in effectively managing deployments. Once the infrastructure is in place other local and county agencies can utilize this tool for only the $350 licensing fee per vehicle.
Law Enforcement Agencies Promote Amber Alert Awareness
KCCommunityNews, (1/9/2008), Jared Hoffmann
On January 13, Amber Alert Awareness Day was promoted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in hopes of continuing to inform the public and increase public involvement as it relates to the Amber Alert system. The goal was to continue to emphasize how crucial Amber Alert is to quickly finding missing children. Since implementing the Amber Alert system in 1993, the state of Missouri has had a 100 percent success rate for the alerts that have been issued. This system allows the community to play an important role in the location of missing children.
Missouri Police Department Introduces Electronic Traffic Citations
CNNMoney.com, (1/10/2008), Jared Hoffmann
Patrol officers for the Neosho (Missouri) Police Department have been using MobileCop™, a wireless law enforcement solution that allows officers to query Federal and State databases regarding driver and vehicle information subsequent to a vehicle stop. This system has been used since 1999, and recently the Neosho Police Department integrated APS QuickTicket™ software with the MobileCop™ system. The data that are retrieved with MobileCop™ query will be automatically populated into the forms fields on the e-citations system. Then the system will generate a hard copy ticket for the violator, and transfer the information electronically to be uploaded to police and court databases. money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/LATH05210012008-1.htm