Editor's Note: Many of the technologies discussed hear are used by domestic law enforcement during their homeland security and/or counter-terrorism mission.
New Device Can Sniff Out Dirty Bombs, Other Radiation
Contra Costa Times, (10/02/2008), Mike Taugher
Law enforcement and other agencies have a new tool to alert them to small amounts of radiation. The devices, called adaptable radiation area monitors, can detect small amounts of radiation and identify what type it is. The device can be placed inside vehicles to patrol highways or survey stadium entrances, or set up on a road. It could be used in a variety of ways, for example, in a vehicle to inspect a parade route. The New Jersey State Police have installed the detectors in a fleet of vehicles. The equipment is small enough to pack into a SUV. The software allows authorities to immediately know whether the source of the radiation is from natural, industrial or medical sources or from materials that could be used in a dirty or nuclear bomb. The technology can detect tiny amounts of radioactive material at about 40 miles per hour, within 12 feet of the material. The technology was developed at Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Tiny Cameras Going With Seattle Cops Out on the Street
Seattle Times, (09/11/2008), Jennifer Sullivan
Some Seattle police officers are now using tiny video cameras to record events as they perform their duties. The cameras, which weigh about 3.5 ounces, are made by VIEVU, a company founded by former Seattle police officers Steve Ward. He said video provides an accurate account of events during an incident and can be useful in determining liability. The devices can be worn on an officer's uniform, helmet or belt and can store more than four hours of video. Seattle police have used the cameras during demonstrations.
Dog to Sniff Out Phones in Prisons
Tampa Tribune, (10/04/2008), Josh Poltilove
The Florida Department of Corrections will soon be using a dog's powerful sense of smell to deter smuggling of cell phones into prisons. Razor, a 14-month-old Malinois, is trained to smell cell phones and will report for duty in November. Cell phones can help inmates commit a variety of illegal activity, including dealing drugs, planning escapes and harassing victims. Between July 2007 and June 2008, authorities confiscated 336 cell phones from Florida prison inmates. A state law took effect in October making it illegal to smuggle cells phones into prisons.
North Charleston Police Take Step into the Future
The Post and Courier, (09/25/2008), Noah Haglund
The police department in North Charleston, S.C., is the latest Law enforcement agency to use a wireless device that allows officers to quickly check criminal histories and vehicle registration. The handheld unit allows police to check a national database for warrants and vehicle information, before they confront a driver. Previously, officers had to call dispatchers to obtain that information. The device is made by the Atlanta-based American Law enforcement Network and costs about $400. The monthly subscription fee is $30 per unit. About 500 departments in five states are using the device.
State Buying DNA-Testing Robots to Speed Up Results
Coloradoan, (09/05/2008), Trevor Hughes
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is turning to robotic analyzers to speed up processing of DNA evidence samples. CBI has a backlog of DNA evidence requiring testing, partly due to more samples being submitted from property crimes in addition to violent crimes such as rape and homicide. CBI already has one robotic analyzer, which is used to develop DNA profiles from convicted felons. Three new analyzers will be used for evidentiary samples taken from crime scenes and suspects. The new analyzers are to be installed by the end of 2008, with technicians trained and using them by May 2009.
Grant to Help Solve Crimes
The Troy Messenger, (10/04/2008), Holli Keaton
The Troy University Forensic Science Institute is using a U.S. Department of Justice grant to expand its services for Law enforcement. The institute offers training to Law enforcement and helps with computer crime research. The university also uses its computer forensic science lab to help local, state and federal Law enforcement obtain digital evidence. The $463,000 grant will allow the university to offer more in-depth training, increase cybercrime work and expand the lab.
FEMA Awards $17.6 Million in Equipment and Training to Smaller Emergency Response Agencies Nationwide
More than 1,000 emergency response agencies in the United States will receive equipment and training under $17.6 million in grants awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grants are awarded through the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP). FY 2008 CEDAP funds are to be used for extrication devices; thermal imaging, night vision and video surveillance tools; chemical, biological and radiological detection tools; information technology and risk management tools; and vehicle tracking tools. Of the 1,045 grant awards, 79 percent were awarded to Law enforcement agencies. The rest went to fire departments, emergency medical service, emergency management and public safety agencies.
GM Introduces technology to Slow Down Stolen Vehicles for Police
Canadian Press, (10/02/2008)
technology to remotely slow down stolen vehicles may soon be available. General Motors of Canada is introducing the technology through its OnStar service beginning with some 2009 model year cars. An On-Star adviser can locate a vehicle using a global positioning system and send a remote signal to slow a vehicle down to help police make an arrest. Police say it will help them catch car thieves and possibly reduce the number of high-speed chases. The owner of the vehicle must first contact the police and an OnStar adviser and request the service before it can be activated. Once activated, the suspect car's parking lights flash to alert police to the correct vehicle, which is slowed to a crawl so police can easily pull it over. The car's brakes and steering will still work; the accelerator will not.