Editor's Note: Many of the technologies are used by domestic law enforcement in their counter-terrorism and/or homeland security role.
Experimental Shoe-Print Database Sees the Soles of Criminals
Wired, (11/20/2008), Ryan Singel
A computer science professor at the University of Buffalo is conducting research to enhance computational forensics for shoeprints. Sargur Srihari is building a search engine containing thousands of shoe images from Internet shoe sites. When complete, the system would allow law enforcement forensics units to submit a photo of a shoe print from a crime scene to quickly obtain the gender, size and brand of shoe. The professor and his graduate students initially developed a shoe tread database containing more than 10,000 pairs of men's shoes. Students then stepped in powder to create images of the soles. Srihari is working on algorithms to identify likely matches for the images for partial foot prints. The work is being done with a $300,000 grant from the Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice.
Prisons Beefing Up Teleconferencing to Save Money
Associated Press via Hartford Courant, (11/23/2008)
Connecticut is the latest state to increase use of courtroom teleconferencing to improve public safety and save money. Connecticut finished installing teleconferencing equipment in all of its 18 correctional facilities in October. During that month about 150 inmates used the system to participate in hearings on parole, civil and family and immigration and customs matters. Corrections officials say using teleconferencing spares them from having to move inmates between the jail and hearings. Other states that are using teleconferences between judges and inmates include Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Caroline, South Dakota and Tennessee.
RISC: Repository for Individuals of Special Concern Rapid Search Functionality
The FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC) rapid search functionality system will provide officers with important identifying fingerprint information. When this new system becomes functional, during a vehicle stop an officer could take a minimum of two or a maximum of 10 fingerprint images from an individual using a mobile device and submit it through a participating state's identification bureau to FBI RISC. RISC in turn performs a limited repository search of persons of special interest, such as wanted persons, known or suspected terrorists or sexual offender registry subjects. The goal of NGI is to process this submission within seconds, and the expectation is to respond with a red, yellow or green flag. A red response means a viable candidate has been identified and the response includes category of hit, FBI number and master name. A yellow response means the level of confidence that a candidate is viable is bel! ow the level required for a positive match, and green means the search did not identify a viable candidate. RISC will provide law enforcement with rapid/mobile identification services that quickly assess the potential threat level of an encountered individual. The FBI is currently prototyping this capability. Deployment of RISC will be dependent on capabilities of individual state and local agencies. For more information visit the FBI Web site at www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/ngi.htm or call (304) 625-5590.
Texas Prison Officials Plan Cell Phone Jamming Test
American Statesman, (11/26/08), Mike Ward
Texas wants to be the next state to test cell phone jamming technology in prisons. Prison inmates can use cell phones to commit criminal activities while incarcerated. Jamming prevents cell tower transmissions from reaching the phone. South Carolina recently tested jamming technology in one of its prisons and wants to conduct a pilot program to test the technology further. Federal law, however, allows federal agencies to obtain authority to jam cell signals, but states and localities are prohibited from doing so by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Local authorities are working with members of Congress and the FCC to determine if it is possible to revise the law.
High-Tech Radio Microwaves to Connect law enforcement in State
Sidney Herald, (11/18/2008), Louisa Barber
Public safety agencies in Montana have new tools to communicate easily across the state. As part of the Interoperability Montana Project, which has been underway for several years, authorities recently began using high-tech radio microwave technology to communicate securely using encrypted two-way radios. The state is also working on developing an interoperable mobile data system in cooperation with the state highway patrol and department of transportation.
TSA Tests Boarding Pass technology
Security Directory News, (11/25/2008), Leischen Stelter
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has completed a test of an automated system that encrypts personal passenger information on a boarding pass. The Laser Data Command's PassPro system uses images, fingerprints and documentation such as a driver's license or passport to confirm passenger identity. The information is encrypted and compressed into a barcode and printed onto the boarding pass, which can be scanned by airport security. The system is designed to improve security and speed passengers through the process. The system was tested at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport using law enforcement officers as a test group. Outcome of the testing is confidential.
North Carolina law enforcement Finds Success in Tracking Crime Suspects
PR Newswire, (12/02/2008)
North Carolina has joined 11 other states that use a multijurisdictional computerized system that allows law enforcement agencies to search for criminals nationwide with a touch of a keyboard. Justice Xchange users have access to booking records, warrants and other information from law enforcement agencies in other states. The system can also be used to locate missing persons and witnesses. Other states currently using the system are Texas, New York, Florida, Washington, Kentucky, Utah, Arkansas, Indiana, South Dakota, Maryland and Arizona.
Police Setting Up Database on Gangs
Boston Globe, (11/30/2008), Jay Atkinson
Massachusetts law enforcement agencies will soon have access to a collaborative database containing information on violent street criminals, especially street gangs. The MassGangs database project was developed with a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and will have information on a suspect's associates, criminal history and gang affiliation. Data can be shared immediately as it becomes available. Officers will fill out a form that assigns a point value to a suspect's gang-related criteria. Point values are assigned for categories such as "self admission" and "known group tattoo/marking." A score of 10 or more points will register a suspect as a member of a gang. Officials plan to launch the MassGangs database in January 2009.
Johns Hopkins Tests Gunshot Detection System, Police Respond
Security Director News, (11/25/2008), Leischen Stelter
Johns Hopkins University is participating in a gunshot location pilot program. The SECURES Detection System has been installed using 93 sensors mounted on streetlights and buildings surrounding the university's 140-acre campus in Baltimore, Md. If the sensors detect a gunshot, a signal displaying the location is transmitted to the university's communications center, which notifies Baltimore Police to respond. The city of Baltimore will be evaluating the technology during the pilot to decide if it should be used in other parts of town.
Schools to Use Spray for Drug Detection
WSMV Nashville, (11/25/2008), Jonathan Martin
Metropolitan Nashville public schools have decided to use D4D spray to detect illegal drugs. The equipment for the test will be free through a partnership with the Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice. The test can detect more than 10 different drugs based on a color chart. School officials plan to use the spray to test students' desks, cars, book bags and pockets. In the past the schools have used a dog to search for drugs. Officials decided to begin using the spray because of the number of students being busted with marijuana and cocaine.