War on Terrorism

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Public Safety Technology in the News

Editor's Note: Many of the technologies in the following stories are used by federal, state and local agencies in their counterterrorism and/or homeland security missions.

Safe Return: Sheriff Buys Tracking Devices
Montrose Daily Press, (02/07/2008), Katharhynn Heidelberg

The Colorado Department of
Criminal Justice has provided a $10,000 grant for the implementation of the Project Lifesaver program through the Montrose County Sheriff's Office. Project Lifesaver uses transmitter and receiver devices to track individuals with autism, Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia who may be at-risk for wandering away from their caretakers. Each transmitter has its own unique code and is worn as a bracelet on an individual's wrist. This allows search teams to use a receiver designed to pick up the transmitter's broadcast signal. This technology may aid future missing person searches by shortening the time and reducing the number of personnel needed to locate a missing person.

New Flashlight Developed as
Law Enforcement Weapon
WJZ Baltimore, (02/21/2008), Derek Valcourt

The Department of
Homeland Security has provided Intelligent Optical Systems Inc. with $800,000 to develop a less-than-lethal weapon called the LED Incapacitator. The LED Incapacitator is a strobe light that flashes multicolored light at specific and varying frequencies. When aimed at the eyes of a suspect, it causes temporary disorientation and blindness, thereby incapacitating the suspect. Testing of this device is expected to begin shortly and, pending successful results, the LED Incapacitator will be available in the fall of 2008. wjz.com/specialreports/flashlight.led.incapacitator.2.657839.html

More Than a Computer Game, It's a Training Tool
The Philadelphia Inquirer, (02/08/08), Andrew Maykuth

The 6,600 veteran members of the
Philadelphia Police Department, as well as recruits at the training academy in Northeast Philadelphia, use the Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) to assist officers in making the best decision under various circumstances. Based on the scenario presented, officers and recruits can go through a life-threatening simulation in complete safety, and at the conclusion review the event with the instructor to understand what was done right or wrong during the scenario. The simulator, purchased in 2005 at the cost of $125,000.00, contains 200 scenarios that range from knife-carrying suspects to flustered motorists that have accidentally backed into a police cruiser. The simulator can also be used for analysis of an incident involving an officer discharging his or her weapon.

LoJack and Becker Avionics Establish
Technology Licensing Agreement
The Earth Times, (02/25/08)

LoJack Corporation, with 20 years experience in stolen vehicle recovery, and Becker Avionics, Inc., which manufactures communications, navigation, surveillance, and search and rescue equipment for various applications, have entered into a
technology licensing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, Becker's radio directions equipment currently used by law enforcement for search and rescue will also have LoJack's technology to assist in locating stolen vehicles equipped with the LoJack transponder. LoJack's software will be incorporated into Becker's SAR-DF 517 radio direction finder, as well as the RT500M and 300 land and sea direction finder. These systems are available immediately through Becker and upgrades are available for agencies that have the models mentioned above.

Facial Recognition Technology: From Battlefield to Classroom
The Spectrum, (02/21/08), Patrice St. Germain

During a luncheon with the St. George (Utah) Chamber, Mike Grimes, vice president of emerging technologies for Cross Match Technologies, spoke about the company's facial recognition software. He explained that the software is in place in Iraq, as well as in the Metro Nashville Public School District. The system adds further
security to schools by allowing users to have the ability to add pictures of suspended students, noncustodial guardians, and sexual predators. If a person appears at the school and is on the "do not admit" list, the program alerts the system monitor to the situation so that staff can respond accordingly.

Measure Would Change How Tickets are Processed
Charleston Daily Mail, (02/12/08), Associated Press

A bill is being considered in the West Virginia State Legislature that would allow traffic tickets given by state
police to state residents to be handled online without requiring a signature. This change would allow officers to use a computer process that would generate an electronic citation for the magistrate of courts and the department of motor vehicles. State police currently have the electronic forms in place to handle accidents; however, additional measures to upgrade the system to allow for electronic signatures is too costly. Signatures would still be required for out-of-state travelers cited for a traffic violation.

New Communications System Will Be Installed
Cleburne Times-Review, (02/13/08), Matt Smith

police and fire department in Cleburne, Texas, received authorization to spend up to $486,455 to update their communications equipment. This upgrade should cover updates and/or replacement of software and hardware that will add computer-aided dispatch along with other services for both agencies. Installed in 1999, the current system is no longer supported or updated by the manufacturer. The city agencies are fearful that with the current system it is only a matter of time before it fails, and they are hopeful that the new system will last 10 years.

Red-Light Cameras Saving Lives, Police Say
Knoxville News Sentinel, (02/15/2008), Don Jacobs

The use of 15 red-light cameras at various intersections in Knoxville, Tennessee, saved lives in 2007 by reducing vehicle accidents by 18 percent, according to
police. The first of the cameras were installed in April 2006 after the city signed a 3-year contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. According to the plan, violations caught by the cameras are treated as civil violations, like parking tickets, and do not get placed on the motorist's driving record. The motorist is fined $50. The revenue generated by the cameras nets the city 15 percent-up to $4,500 per camera per month. Anything above the $4,500 is then split evenly with Redflex. In 2007 the system generated $955,013.70, which is up $737,033.21 from the 2006 total. Redflex owns the system and is responsible for maintenance of the equipment, as well as sending recording of the infractions to the police department. Staff at the department examine the footage and determine if a violation is warranted.

New Tool for Police is a Blast of Sound
The Mercury News, (02/25/08), Sean Webby

San Jose Police Department purchased a $27,000 Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to ensure that officers' verbal commands are clearly heard over a great distance. The hope is to prevent instances of suspects within a large, rowdy crowd being arrested, only to indicate they never heard the command to disperse. However, the police department can also include this device as part of its less-lethal arsenal. The device was invented for use by the military after the USS Cole incident in 2000, and has grown in legend since it was used in 2005 by the captain of the Seabourn Sprit to repel pirates. The device is capable of emitting a 150-decibel wave that can inflict nausea, pain, and disorientation on its target. For the law enforcement community, this sort of tool could be used to help safely end a hostage or barricade scenario.

Fresno, California Deploys Alcatel-Lucent Solution for Advanced Public Safety Communications
Sys-Con Media, (02/25/08)

The city of
Fresno, one of the largest cities in California with a population of about 500,000, has worked with Alcatel-Lucent to establish an advanced public safety network. The solution chosen for Fresno involves an IP multiservice platform, digital microwave transmission, and capabilities that allow for converged voice-data traffic, interoperability, and reliability of the crucial communications network. With this network in place, Fresno's police, fire, and rescue services will be better suited to meet the needs of the community

Avistar and EVS Collaborate to Equip Emergency Service Vehicles With Mobile Videoconferencing
CNNMoney.com, (02/21/08), PRNewswire-FirstCall

Avistar Communications Corporation, in collaboration with Emergency Vehicle Solutions, Inc., has begun a project to implement Avistar C3 videoconferencing
technology in a police, fire, EMS, and other special service vehicles. The project is an effort to help support overall coordination by shortening reaction time and improving reporting capabilities among all groups involved in an emergency response. The system being set up in the vehicles would include mobile computers running Avistar C3 software, with high-resolution webcams and wireless connectivity. At an open house on March 18, EVS plans to demonstrate this technology and obtain feedback from personnel who will be using the equipment so the company can improve capabilities.

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