Thursday, June 29, 2006

Police Writers gathered in one virtual location

Hi Tech Criminal Justice launched a website dedicated to police officers turned writers. According to CEO Raymond E. Foster, “Nearly everyone knows the work of Joseph Wambaugh, but how many know that police officers were writing books in the late nineteenth century?” Early police authors such as George Walling and August Vollmer were very influential on the development of American policing. Police authors writing in the late 20th century contributed to the field in areas such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, management, leadership and technology.

“In addition to the academic contributions, police officers have provided us with some of the best crime fiction,” Foster said. Who better to write in the mystery genre of the police procedural than the police officer. Police authors bring their training, experience and creativity to their work; giving the reader an authentic, insider’s view of human nature, crime and police procedures. Police authors like Dallas Barnes, Joseph Wambaugh and Paul Bishop write fiction from the perspective of someone who has seen, smelled, tasted and touched the crime scene.

While some police authors approach crime from an academic standpoint or a fictional point of view, others dissect real crime. There are no better guides through real crime than those who have spent years walking the walk. Crime reporters and journalists rely on police officers for information and interpretation of evidence and events. “A police authors cuts out the middleman or secondary interpreter, and gives the reader a first hand, first class storyteller,” Foster said.

An overriding factor in attracting people to the profession of policing is that every day is different. “Cops see every twist of human nature. They make order our of chaos when the world goes sideways; and, they often handle tense situations after dark and without a manual,” Foster noted. Simply put, police officers are choked full of the best and worst stories of humanity under pressure. The best police authors are able to take these “war stories” and weave them into an interesting and insightful look at America’s streets. These semi-biographical tales stand tall along side the academic, fictional and true crime. Foster added, “It would be a mistake to pigeon hole police authors in some narrow crime genre. Cops have written outstanding works from poetry to politics.”

According to Foster, the website currently has 60 police authors who have written over 140 books. In addition to being accessed by author name, they are categorized by police department (29) and by subject. Hi Tech Criminal Justice realizes this is an ongoing research project and encourages submission of authors not listed. The website and contact information can be access at

Stolen VA Laptop Turned in to FBI

By Steven Donald Smith

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2006 – The stolen Department of Veterans Affairs laptop computer and hard drive containing the personal information of more than 26 million veterans were turned in to the FBI yesterday, the Veterans Affairs secretary said before Congress today. Reports indicate that the FBI has made a preliminary determination that data contained on the computer and hard drive has not been accessed.

There have been no reports of identity theft or other criminal activity related to the stolen computer, R. James Nicholson told the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He added that the VA would still honor its promise of free credit monitoring for a year. An unnamed individual turned over the laptop and hard drive to FBI officials in Baltimore. No persons are in custody at this time, officials said.

The laptop and hard drive were stolen from the Montgomery County, Md., home of a VA employee on May 3. Government officials do not believe the data on the laptop was the target of the burglary, and consider the break-in a random theft. "This has brought to the light of day some real deficiencies in the manner we handled personal data," Nicholson said. "If there's a redeeming part of this, I think we can turn this around."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

“Dirty Bomb” Attack: Assessing New York City’s Level of Preparedness from a First Responder’s Perspective

By John Sudnik
Deputy Chief, Fire Department City of New York (FDNY)

Past history and recent intelligence have shown that New York City (NYC), a critical node of the U.S. economy, is clearly in the terrorist’s crosshairs. In order to reduce the probability, lessen the risk, and minimize the consequences of a Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” attack, NYC’s first responders must be adequately prepared for its seemingly inevitable occurrence. This particular type of attack on NYC has the potential to create immense panic and confusion on behalf of the general public. Adding to the complexity of the problem is the notion that, since 9/11, the expected actions taken by employees in NYC high-rise office buildings in response to shelter-in-place instructions can be extremely difficult to predict. Therefore, a proposed public awareness campaign and a shelter-in-place plan are two cost-effective and easily implemented terrorism preparedness programs that would build the confidence and increase the capability of the citizenry. Since an RDD incident would likely result in a major inter-agency emergency operation, the unification of command, control, and coordination among NYC’s first responder community is an essential element to its overall success. Hence, an informed and collaborative response by both public and private sector entities could potentially reduce casualties and save lives.

Download a copy of the report

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More Sex Offenders Tracked by Satellite

"More Sex Offenders Tracked by Satellite"
USA Today (06/07/06) P. 3A; Koch, Wendy

Wisconsin has joined the growing list of states, now numbering at least 24, using GPS technology to track released sex offenders, many for life. The technology is now capable of monitoring a parolee's position to within 30 feet and can alert officers when a trackee has entered an "exclusion zone" at a fraction of the cost it takes to maintain prison inmates or track offenders using other methods. Some states even require offenders to foot the bill for tracking. Analysis conducted by the Florida Department of Corrections in late 2004 showed a 3.8 recidivism rate among offenders tracked with GPS within two years, compared to 7.7 percent for those not tracked with the technology. Meanwhile, lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House have each approved a measure that would provide federal funding for GPS tracking.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Urban Areas Security Initiative

Discussion of the FY 2006 Risk Methodology and the Urban Areas Security Initiative

The FY 2006 DHS risk methodology represents a major step forward in the analysis of the risk of terrorism faced by our Nations communities. Tremendous gains have been made in both the quality and specificity of information and analysis incorporated within the model, yielding the most accurate estimation possible of the relative risk of prospective grant candidates. The methodology is designed to inform a policy decision regarding the allocation and investment of Federal grant funding, and should not be confused with an estimate of absolute risk faced by candidate areas.