Criminal Justice News

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Prison Blazes Technological Trail With Kiosks"
Allentown Morning Call (11/26/06); Varghese, Romy

Lehigh County Prison in Pennsylvania will be in installing an ATM-like kiosk for friends and family members of inmates to deposit money into inmate accounts. The system will replace an intake clerk while expanding deposit hours to 14 hours per day, seven days per week. Compass Group USA will operate the kiosk as well as the commissary under a three-year contract that will cost Lehigh County Prison nothing. In fact the prison will receive 37 percent of gross sales, says Lehigh director of corrections Edward Sweeney. There will be fees to deposit into inmate accounts, such as a $1 fee for a $50 deposit or less, or a $2.50 fee for over $50. Inmates can use their accounts to purchase goods at the commissary or receive cash when they are released.

Police Use 'Black Box' Data to Investigate Car Crashes"
Associated Press (11/26/06)

Police in Ohio have used the event data recorders installed in newer vehicles in 43 accident investigations to determine culpability. "As opposed to wondering what happened, this black box takes all the guessing out of it," says Carmen Naso, an assistant prosecutor in Cuyahoga County. These "black boxes" can provide information on speed at the time of an accident, throttle pressure, and whether the brake was applied and a seat belt worn. Nearly 64 percent of all of last year's car models have the equipment, unknown to many owners. However, automakers will be required to disclose the existence of the recorders in owner manuals starting with 2011 models.

"Virtual 911 Tackles Online Child Threats"
Washington Times (11/24/06) P. A4; Seper, Jerry

American, British, Canadian, and Australian
police officials are partnering in an effort to curb crimes committed against children via the Internet. The Virtual Global Taskforce seeks to establish a "police presence" on the Web to protect children in partnering countries, according to the initiative's chairman, Jim Gamble. Investigators will share information concerning potential threats and can respond quickly to arrest suspects. A law enforcement agency in each member country shares the responsibility of monitoring Internet-based threats at different times of the day. The member countries indicated that they are interested in exploring the possibility of holding talks with industry officials about employing technologies that increase the safety of children.

"Posse Segways Into Mall Patrol Duties Over Holidays"
East Valley Tribune (AZ) (11/24/06); Martin, Nick

Maricopa County Sheriffs in Arizona will be patrolling area malls this holiday shopping season and using Segway Personal Transporters to do it. The department has decided to use Segways because these devices can move police officers quickly, and because they raise officers eight inches off the ground so officers can peer above and across crowds. Segway is now marketing two Segway models specifically designed for police use. Maricopa County began its holiday mall patrol in 1993, last year including some members of the heavily armed
SWAT team, which drew criticism as too much.

Police Getting New Guns"
Rock Hill Herald (SC) (11/25/06); Garfield, Matt

The Rock Hill
Police Department has supplied roughly four-fifths of its police officers with Glock handguns. The majority of officers working at other police agencies in York County already carry Glock pistols. Rock Hill Police previously used Smith & Wesson pistols, which feature the same firing and operating features of the Glock. However, the Glock is manufactured from materials that offer greater protection against rust and also have an extra safety mechanism.

Police Say Their Study Supports Request for More Tasers"
Columbus Dispatch (OH) (11/25/06) P. 1A; Ferenchik, Mark

The controversy over the safety of Tasers has not stopped the Columbus police department from attempting to purchase an additional 110. Two years ago, the City Council approved a $229,658 contract for the city to purchase 200 Tasers. Since Tasers have been introduced,
police have used Mace and batons less frequently, says Barb Seckler, Deputy Public Safety Director. The Tasers cost $100,000. The City Council is planning a meeting to discuss a police report on last year's Taser use and review the department's request. The report will be presented by Brian Bruce at the Police Division's defensive tactics unit, along with the division's Taser expert. Taser use was effective 70 percent of the time, according to Bruce. Others are not so sure about its effectiveness. "The concern is less about the technology and more about the person wielding the technology," says Gary Daniels at the ACLU of Ohio. Currently, more than 500 Ohio law enforcement agencies use Tasers.

"U.S. Shares Fingerprint Database"
Ventura County Star (CA) (11/26/06); Scheibe, John

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is taking advantage of the Department of Homeland Security and the
Justice Department's move to provide local law enforcement agencies with faster access to electronic fingerprint databases. Suspects were often freed in the past without police knowing whether they were wanted for other crimes because of the time required to conduct background checks. The new federal initiative has helped officers to more quickly identify illegal immigrants. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department, which is not benefiting from the faster access, reportedly plans to introduce a field system in roughly a year that will allow patrolling officers to conduct quick background checks. U.S. officials hope to grant all law enforcement agencies in the nation the opportunity to expedite background checks within two years.

"Helmet-Cams Help Police Crack Down on Crime"
CNet (11/21/06); Ferguson, Tim

police officers in the Haringey area of London will be using helmet-mounted digital cameras as a new crime-fighting and evidence-gathering tool as part of Operation Aventail. These AA battery-sized cameras store images on a special utility belt. The whole system costs around $3,402. Haringey Detective Superintendent Richard Wood says these small helmet cameras will help officers gather and provide "evidence" to document offenses and bring charges. If this limited use works, other Haringey officers may begin to adopt helmet-mounted digital cameras, says Wood.

"Squad Car Locators Blocked"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (11/23/06); Diedrich, John

Every squad car in Milwaukee's District 7 now has to be checked during patrol and at the start of every shift after Capt. Donald Gaglione noticed foil wrapped around the global positioning system (GPS) antennas on
police cars this past summer. The foil was apparently placed there to disable the GPS, which makes the car invisible to dispatchers. GPS devices can be used against officers by internal investigators. For instance, one assistant chief was fired when the GPS found his residence to be outside Milwaukee. Some say the incident is proof that the Fire and Police Commission should pay close attention to police behavior. The department installed GPS trackers in 2004 to roughly 650 of its squad cars. Milwaukee Police Association President John Balcerzak says he was not aware of the foil incident and that the union supports the system. "The MPA is not condoning disabling GPS or any other equipment issued to officers," he explains. "We would discourage anyone who might be thinking about doing that." An internal investigation into the incident has not been opened because someone besides officers may have sabotaged the vehicles.

"Eyes In the Sky Help Kentucky Authorities Cut Marijuana Trade"
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) (11/27/06)

This year, Kentucky
police burned 557,276 marijuana plants, a nearly 50,000 increase from last year. The Kentucky National Guard first started their efforts to destroy marijuana plants back in 1986 and that effort is still ongoing. Police made 475 arrests this year compared to 452 last year. Help has been coming in the form of helicopters and airplanes, which were brought in by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for six weeks this past summer. "Anybody in this business will tell you the more eyes you get in the sky, the more dope you'll find," said Lt. Ed Shemelya of the Kentucky State Police. Kentucky is one of the top-ranked outdoor marijuana producers in the country. Marijuana growers have become more sophisticated at hiding their plants, which is why Kentucky employs the use of the police, troops, and several state and federal agencies to assist with eradication. "They don't like the state police coming in messing with their economy," said Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb. Kentucky came in second to California last year in the number of eradicated plants, according to the DEA.

"Schools Train for Shooters"
Fort Payne Times-Journal (11/22/06); Burns, Kati

School counselors, school principals, and other school officials in DeKalb County, Ala., recently received a two-day tutorial on preparing for a school shooting. Local
law enforcement agents also attended the "Responding to Active Shooter Incidents for Patrol Officers" program, which was led by law enforcement officials associated with the University of North Alabama's Law Enforcement Training Center. The first part of the program, which consisted of a slide show and lecture, covered an array of topics, including school and workplace shootings; the tactics and equipment needed to immediately respond to such shootings; emergency planning for schools and workplaces; profiles of school shooters; how to respond to the media; a historical overview of school shootings; and tactics for rescuing downed officers. The second part of the program featured a live mock exercise at a local high school in which law enforcement reacted to a shooter inside the building. School officials were advised not to allow students to participate in mock exercises, because there has been at least one incident in the past where a student who participated in an exercise used this knowledge to launch a real attack on a school.

"Completing the Data Puzzle"
Government Technology (11/06) Vol. 19, No. 11, P. 36; McKay, Jim

The sharing of critical data by
police across the state of Florida is a major issue. The University of Central Florida implemented the Florida Integrated Network for Data Exchange and Retrieval (FINDER) system in 2003, and similar regional systems in Pensacola, Tampa, and Jacksonville were later launched. There is no communication between these four regional systems, so last year the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) embarked on Florida Law Enforcement Exchange (FLEX), a project to create compatible information systems to serve Florida's three remaining regions along with the department, and eventually connect to the other systems to form a statewide platform for information exchange. The first stage in FLEX's implementation, the development of similar data vocabulary across the state's seven regions, is complete. Stage two will involve the equipage of the three new regional projects with a common communications architecture, and the final stage will constitute the deployment of an analytical visualization application for mining information and developing investigative leads. By complying with the Global Justice XML Data Model, the systems will facilitate the statewide sharing of information. There will be one server or node in the FLEX system for each region and the FDLE, with data warehousing performed by each node. It is up to the individual regions as to what kind of data will be warehoused, but all data will be accessible to properly authorized law enforcement staff across the state.

"Talk Isn't Cheap"
Federal Computer Week (11/13/06) Vol. 20, No. 39, P. 33; Joch, Alan

Lack of interoperability between radio systems continues to be a vexing problems in many areas, as individual jurisdictions have had some success making their various agencies' systems interoperable but there has been more difficulty getting things aligned with neighboring jurisdictions. The ultimate answer could be for everyone to adopt industry-standard Project 25 systems and handsets, but the migration is costly and slow so far, so many officials have been looking at other solutions for the interim. Some ideas in use are having neighboring jurisdictions buy multiple radios so they can communicate with each other, putting together gateways to translate between different communications systems, or creating networks that can transmit radio communications that have been converted into data packets. The gateway concept uses system-to-system packages or voice-to-IP conversion, through systems available from companies such as Raytheon JPS, Motorola, Maycom, and SmartLink. Meanwhile, the network approach--vendors include Cisco Systems, Awins, and Codespear--links radio towers directly to network routers, which has the advantage of being able to handle many types of analog and digital systems as well as IP and cellular devices. One region that has put the network approach into practice is the area around Danville, Va., where regional officials found it to be more cost effective than other alternative such as adopting common frequencies or using repeaters to extend the city's radio coverage--Cisco is paying to put this system in place, with potential plans to charge for maintenance once it is working. A similar system is in place in Livingston County, Mich., but rather than link radio towers permanently to network routers, the county is using portable IP-based Codespear units along with Codespear's SmartMsg and Radio Interoperability Module. Implementing such a system requires non-technical management savvy as well: officials should have a long-range plan in place, seek stakeholder input and build consensus, put together a governance board for policy questions and modifications, and prepare ahead of time for potential manpower issues.

"City Port Security Gets Boost"
Chicago Tribune (11/29/06); Hilkevitch, Jon

For the first time ever, ports in the Chicago region have been listed on the top 100 most critical seaports in the country, and along with that ranking has come an influx of federal funding to help improve port security in the region. For the previous four years, Chicago received just $300,000 in federal funding for securing its ports, but this year the U.S. government is distributing $11.5 million in security funding to the ports, including $7.5 million to Chicago. The funding will be used to increase the amount of video surveillance at the ports; to enhance communications among local, state, and federal agencies; and to outfit container shipments with intrusion-detection security technology. As is typically the case at other U.S. ports, only roughly 5 percent of incoming cargo is randomly inspected at Chicago ports, and no cargo containers are X-rayed. Chicago is also applying for an additional $4 million to equip the Port of Chicago with security and inspection devices. Local officials at the Port of Chicago said that their greatest fear is that the port--which provides access to countless freight trains, long-haul trucks, ocean vessels, and river barges--will be targeted by a dirty bomb hidden inside a cargo container.

"NM Tech Designing High-Tech Mobile Command Shelter"
New Mexico Business Weekly (11/13/06); Trenkle, Jason

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and
Technology (N.M. Tech) plans to build a $5 million movable command center/shelter in Playas, N.M., that will also be used as a federal training site. The structure, dubbed the Command and Control System, may also be used to monitor illegal aliens along the country's border with Mexico, says Greg Mansfield, developer of the system at N.M. Tech. The shelter would resemble a trailer, but would be well protected from the weather, radiation, and electromagnetic interference, says Mansfield. The structure would be made from carbon, glass fiber, and composite materials in collaboration with a company called Alkan Shelters. A similar unit is now being used at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which employs the unit to perform nuclear contingency training, according to Lauren Whitehurst at Presence, an Alkan marketing affiliate. In addition, the shelter would be able to protect equipment that is used to deploy information in real time to distant central command centers. N.M. Tech has a roughly $1 million contract with the Department of Defense (DOD) to train DOD employees and enhance infrastructure. In 2003, the institute acquired a large section of land in Playas, and currently uses it to train members of the Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and the Army National Guard.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Orleans Police Ask Governor to Extend Guardsmen

By Jim Garamone

Nov. 29, 2006 – New Orleans
police officials have requested that Louisiana National Guardsmen remain on state active duty for another six months, a Guard spokesman said. Air Guard Lt. Col. Peter Schneider confirmed that New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren J. Riley has asked Gov. Katherine Blanco to extend the tours of 300 Guardsmen through June 2007.

Guardsmen have been patrolling neighborhoods in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged city since June, when five teenagers were killed over one weekend. If the governor does not extend the tours, the state deployment will end by the end of December.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, six people were killed in New Orleans.

The request has gone to Blanco. The governor's office wants a better plan for how the city will use the Guardsmen. Currently, Guardsmen patrol deserted areas of the city allowing New Orleans police to concentrate on high-crime areas. "If approved, we will keep doing this," Schneider said.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Department of Homeland Security Grants


Beginning December 4, 2006 at 8:00 a.m. eastern standard time, the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) will begin accepting applications for Fire Prevention and Safety grants (FP&S).

The deadline for receipt of FP&S applications is 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on January 12, 2007.

FP&S applications are automated and accessible via the program’s website: The web site contains important information on the FP&S, including the FY2006 funding priorities and program guidance, a web based tutorial on the application process, a listing of frequently asked questions, and other materials. Applicants that have questions regarding this grant opportunity should contact the Help Desk at 1-866-274-0960 or at During the application period, Help Desk hours will be from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

Additional help desk hours may be added if demand is high. The FP&S is administered by the Department of
Homeland Security’s Office of Grants and Training (G&T) in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration. The grants provide support for efforts to mitigate incidences of deaths and injuries caused by fire and fire-related hazards especially in high-risk target groups such children, adults over 65, and firefighters. Eligible applicants for FP&S grants include fire departments as well as national, regional, state, local, or community organizations that are recognized for their experience and expertise in fire prevention or safety programs and activities. FP&S also supports Firefighter Safety Research and Development activities. Private and public non-profit organizations, academic institutions, non-federal governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, and individual researchers (i.e. doctorial candidates) are eligible to apply for funding for research and development activities.

Through the Department of
Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2006, Congress provided $27 million for the Fire Prevention and Safety grants.

Using a competitive process and fire service subject matter experts, DHS will award grants to applicants whose requests best address the priorities of the FP&S program.

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Soldier Missing in Action from the Korean War is Identified

Editors Note: The use of forensic science to remains has now become a staple of many investigative agencies, specifically those involved in criminal justice.

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full
military honors.

He is Master Sgt. Robert V. Layton,
U.S. Army, of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is to be buried today at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.

Layton was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division (making up the 31st Regimental Combat Team). The RCT was engaged against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces along the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. After intense fighting from Nov. 27-Dec. 1, 1950, the battalion was forced to abandon its position, leaving its dead behind. Layton was listed as missing in action on Dec. 2, 1950, and was later presumed killed in action.

Between 2002 and 2004, joint U.S. and Democratic People's Republic of North Korea teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, seven times excavated a mass burial site associated with the 31st RCT along the eastern shore of the Chosin Reservoir. The team found human remains and other material evidence, including Layton's identification tag and part of his billfold containing a newspaper clipping reporting on a Bronze Star being awarded to "Sgt. Robert Layton" circa 1944.

Among other
forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Police Writers adds two local police officers and one international

November 24, 2006 (San Dimas, CA), a website dedicated to police officers turned authors added Dorothy Uhnak, Dick Kirby and Mark Mynheir.

Dorothy Uhnak worked for 14 years as a detective for the New York City Transit Police. Uhnak's debut book, The Bait (1968), received a 1969 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel. The Bait was also made into a 1973 made-for-television film of the same title. Her most famous novel is The Ledger, which was adapted for the TV film and series Get Christie Love! starring Theresa Graves. Uhnak died July 8, 2006 in Greenport, New York, reportedly of a deliberate drug overdose that may have been suicidal

Dick Kirby was born in the East-End of London, England in 1943. He joined the London Metropolitan Police in 1967. Dick worked as a detective sergeant in east and north London and served on Scotland Yard's Serious Crime Squad and the Flying Squad for half of his 26 years of service. Throughout his career he was commended on 40 occasions for courage, leadership and his detective ability. He retired from the police force in 1993.

In addition to having published a number of magazines and newspapers articles he is the author of two sets of memoirs: “Rough Justice - the memoirs of a Flying Squad detective” and “The Real Sweeney” A third set of memoirs, “You're Nicked!” is due to be published by Constable & Robinson in April 2007 and a set of stories told from the criminals perspective, “Villains' Tales” is due to be published by Constable & Robinson in February 2008.

Mark Mynheir was born and raised on the east coast of Central Florida. Like most boys growing up, Mark enjoyed sports, mainly football and martial arts. In 1983, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After serving four years in the Marines, Mark changed gears and pursued a career in law enforcement with the Palm Bay Police Department (Florida).

During his career as a
police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a SWAT team member, and a homicide detective. As a writer, Mark has begun a Christian orientated series of crime fiction books called the “Truth Chaser Series.”

His first book, “Rolling Thunder” is described as, “Law Enforcement Agents Can Do It All. But Forgive? John Russell is the Florida Department of
Law Enforcement agent assigned to the missing Dylan Jacobs' case. But while he's tracking down clues in his professional life, a murderer is hot on his trail - his own flesh and blood. John's father relentlessly seeks something John refuses to offer: forgiveness. Forced to face the source of his paralyzing fear of thunder and his stolen childhood, can John find the missing boy without his personal life completely unraveling?”

His second book, “From the Belly of the Dragon” carries the description: “Caught in a Cult People associated with him have been killed, but Dr. Walter Simmons is a successful man. His books and tapes incorporate psychological principles with New Age, feel-good spiritualism and are a hit on college campuses. But when his top students join him for an intensive "training" program, they are actually joining a dangerous cult. Florida Department of
Law Enforcement Agent Tim Porter's daughter, Ruby, is lured in like the rest, the heights of a dream plummeting her to the depths of a living nightmare. Tim and his ex-wife are driven to their knees for their daughter. But what about Ruby? To what lengths can they go to rescue her from Dr. Simmons's clutches? Complicating matters is an FBI investigation, a corrupt chief of police, and a mounting spiritual battle. How much time do they really have?” hosts 218 state and local police officers and their 589 books in six categories. Also, features listings of federal and international law enforcement writers.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Professors Devise Way to Detect Secret Data in Photos"
Des Moines Register (IA) (11/19/06); Rossi, Lisa

A pair of professors at Iowa State University (ISU) are teaming with law enforcement authorities in the state to create a better way to locate secret information concealed in photos that are transmitted over the Internet. Professors Clifford Bergman and Jennifer Davidson have trained current software to determine whether child pornographers and terrorists have included secrets in harmless-looking photos found on the Internet. The project was financed by a Midwest Forensics Resource Center grant for $80,000. The professors are currently awaiting approval to dispense the technology from the ISU Research Foundation, which takes care of intellectual property rights matters. The professors stated they hoped to hand out the software to law enforcement personnel at no cost within the coming few months. Bergman and Davidson trained the software to find the existence of secret information by placing concealed images in 1,200 photos in various ways until they had 10,000 images with different information included. They then introduced the vast database of images to the software, so it could tell the difference between a clean and an altered image. The university's new strategy should offer a more accessible and dependable way for authorities to discover whether or not a photo has a concealed image. Although commercial software now exists for these applications, it is costly and hard to study, as the technology utilized is a trade secret, Bergman and Davidson claim.

"Cameras Focused on Crime"
Dallas Morning News (11/16/06); Trahan, Jason

Dallas, Texas, began installing wireless surveillance cameras in its downtown core in mid November this year in an initiative to deter crime and reassure citizens that Dallas is safe. The surveillance initiative involves 40 cameras covering about one third of downtown Dallas. The goal is to reduce crime levels by 30 percent after six months, and the project has been funded with a two-year maintenance budget by a $840,000 grant from The Meadows Foundation. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle says downtown crime mostly involves the city's sizable homeless population, and fights among club goers and bar hoppers in the wee hours of the weekend evenings. Kunkle says crime is down already, and that cameras will help augment this perception. The department plans to monitor the cameras so police can be dispatched to the scene of an ongoing crime, as well as store images for two weeks to provide evidence for crime scenes. Dallas may expand this initiative if the project produces results.

"System Speeds 911 Cell Phone Calls"
Los Angeles Daily News (11/16/06); Orlov, Rick

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has launched a communications system that can save emergency personnel time in reaching accident or crime scenes by connecting 911 calls from mobile phones to local dispatchers, rather than the California Highway Patrol. A $2.1 million state grant covered the cost of the technology that is expected to aid 911 operators by allowing them to automatically determine the location of a wireless call. 911 calls are anticipated to grow by 1,000 per day to 1,500 per day, compared to the current amount of roughly 9,000 calls handled each day by the city's 911 operators. LAPD Police Chief William Bratton indicated that the system will allow the department to avoid boosting its staff of 911 operators by 95 employees as previously expected.

"U.S. File Access Aids Police"
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (FL) (11/15/06) P. 12A; Marquez, Jeremiah

A Mexican national, who has been deported from the United States a minimum of three times, was recently arrested again in California. Jesus F. Palacios has convictions for child molestation and grand theft auto. However, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department are focusing on preventing similar cases in the future by making federal fingerprint data more quickly available to local law enforcement officers. Roughly 50 law enforcement agencies in Southern California can now access fingerprint data within a shorter period of time to prevent the release of illegal immigrants. However, civil rights groups have expressed concerns that the new approach could discourage immigrants from providing important information to police because they want to avoid a check of their status.

"Camera Phones Focus on Police Use of Force in L.A."
Reuters (11/16/06); Serjeant, Jill

Cell phone cameras provide an easy way for citizens to record footage, including incidents in which police misconduct is alleged. For example, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton is conducting a probe of several police officers after video cell phones recorded recent arrests. The footage reportedly shows officers using excessive force when arresting the suspects. Some residents in the community complain that police unfairly target black citizens, with one activist stating that video cell phone footage would not be an issue "if the police were not overreacting."

"Adding Taser Technology"
Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN) (11/18/06) P. B1; Moore, Ronnie

Fort Oglethorpe, Tenn.'s City Council recently voted to purchase 30 of the most recent design in stun guns for the police department. The devices, equipped with video cameras that record picture and sound, cost $1,200 each. Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief Larry Black noted that police officers now handle the most violent and dangerous suspects he has ever witnessed during his time in law enforcement. Taser International is the sole firm that sells the $800 gun, the price of which increases to $1,200 when the camera is factored in. The connected camera starts recording when the Taser power is turned on. Black explained that studies have proven that when Tasers with cameras are utilized, there is a conviction or plea rate of 96.2 percent. He added that the camera-equipped Tasers will have the extra benefits of guaranteeing officer accountability, reducing the claims of too much force, discrediting false complaints, and lessening legal costs. Meanwhile, Officer Greg Plemons stated that the Taser is another means for helping law enforcement to protect both residents and themselves.

"Taser Death Raises Questions"
Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN) (11/17/06) P. A14

Memphis, Tenn., resident Darren Faulkner, 47, recently died after receiving two Taser shocks from an unidentified police deputy, after Faulkner allegedly attacked the officer. Though Memphis District Attorney John Champion says preliminary data shows officers involved "followed the policies" and exhibited restraint, Faulkner's death will revive concerns that Tasers can cause serious injuries in some people. Today there is international debate concerning the safety of electro-muscular disruption and the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a study to help understand whether the technology can contribute to or cause death and, if so, in what ways.

"Law Enforcement Pursuits: Managing the Risks" (11/20/06); Yates, Travis

Newly available technology can help reduce many of the risks associated with police vehicle pursuits, but many police departments are unaware of how to use the technology, and some improperly deploy it. However, better education about technology use can help make pursuits shorter and slower, and thus far less risky. One of the most important tools to reduce pursuit risks is the Tire Deflation Device, which can help safely reduce a pursued car's speed. The devices cost only around $400 each, which makes them a sound investment that pays for itself through collision and injury declines. Helicopters are also an effective tool for reducing the time and risk involved in vehicle pursuits by monitoring suspects' activities and alert ground officers when the suspects abandon their vehicles and where. The Pursuit Intervention Technique, which requires the police driver to ram the pursued car, is also effective, but must be used only with careful training. However, experts also note that officers need to be trained to maintain the safety of the roadways, surrounding drivers, and pedestrians above their desire to capture the suspect engaged in the pursuit.

"Va. Beach Police Trace Victim's Cell Phone"
Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) (11/15/06) P. B-7

Virginia Beach, Va., police were able to find a murder victim's killer by using her cell phone. The phone's global-positioning feature directed police to a house in Norfolk. At the home, police discovered the phone, the victim's purse, and a hooded sweatshirt covered in blood. A woman in the house informed police that she had loaned her vehicle to Christopher Eugene Hagans, her boyfriend; authorities located the car, with blood on the door of the driver's side, sitting on a street a few miles away. Hagans was arrested and is being charged with first-degree murder and robbery. He could be charged with capital murder, punishable by execution, because the victim, Elisabeth Kelly Reilly, was shot and killed during a robbery at a shopping center in Virginia Beach.

"Policing Terror"
Federal Computer Week (11/13/06) Vol. 20, No. 39, P. 21; Moore, John

A recent report from Rand, called "Unconquerable Nation: Knowing our Enemies, Strengthening Ourselves," emphasizes the important role local police can play in homeland security beyond serving as first responders. In the Los Angeles area, local and federal agencies have put together a Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC) based on a Memex intelligence management and analysis system to track leads and information from all over a seven-county region. Such a solution can be difficult to scale when organizations begin linking to additional information sources, but JRIC is working around this problem through in-house replication of databases of interest. A similar system has been launched by the Louisiana State Police for counterterrorism and crime investigation, called the Louisiana Fusion and Analytical Center and put together by Apogen Services and based on Microsoft .NET and an SQL Server database. The system brings in incident information from police who contact the center, enabling state police to review leads and assign them to investigators with the help of an automated workflow script. Another component of the Fusion Center enables analysts to search multiple data sources with a single search. Another region that has put together this sort of system is the Seattle region, where the Law Enforcement Information Exchange Northwest has put together a data warehouse full of information from local and state agencies, with Northrop Grumman as contractor. Putting such systems into place involves more than just deploying the IT: there are also cultural, policy, and human-resources issues that have to be overcome in order for the systems to be a success.

"In-Car Computers"
Police (10/06) Vol. 30, No. 10, P. 34; Griffith, David

Computers have become so ubiquitous in patrol cars that some cars have more than one computer. A laptop that can be used in and outside of the patrol car remains the most popular patrol computer. These computers must be more rugged than typical laptops, due to the hard use they receive from officers and the constant vibrations produced by patrol cars. These types of computers, known as "ruggedized computers," have been tested for their durability, having been exposed to a variety of rough treatment, including drops, liquid spills, and shaking. Some of the leading manufacturers of these types of computers include Amrel, Data911, Datalux, Getac, Itronix, JLT Mobile Computers, Kontron, L3 Communications, and Panasonic. Popular computer models by these firms include Amrel's Rocky Unlimited and the Tracer from Datalux. The Toughbook from Panasonic is the most popular laptop used by law enforcement.

"Post-9/11, a New Push for Information Sharing"
Baseline (10/06) No. 64, P. 67; Gage, Deborah

The mission of the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC), which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the FBI, the Homeland Security Department, and the state of California, is to set up networks and policies for sharing information across agencies in the seven-county Los Angeles area for the purposes of bolstering public safety and deterring terrorist attacks. The center is designed to link the various agencies with international law enforcement agencies and local firms that watchdog potential terrorist targets or critical components of local infrastructure. Analysts think the time is ripe for JRIC because of technological advancements such as Global Justice XML and service-oriented architecture. These standards form the basis of Memex, the Windows-based collaboration software that lies at the heart of the center. Memex compiles, manages, secures, and circulates information according to participant-established rules; it looks for both structured and unstructured data, and can visually sort, connect, or display data. JRIC project manager Mario Cruz says the project's success does not hinge on the software, but on whether or not participating agencies can resolve their differences over what type of information to share and the manner of sharing. At this point no agency can link electronically to any other agency because information sharing agreements are still lacking. An array of analytical tools (Google Earth, Microsoft SQL, and ESRI's ArcView GIS software among them) are employed to filter information. "The people who work [at JRIC] now are interested in analysis and cooperation," reports LAPD detective Stanley Salas. "They really want this."

Article sponsored by Navy Gifts and police officer turned law enforcement writer.

Monday, November 20, 2006


A reader asks:Do you have any book recommendations?

The Answer is:
Chief's List
A few years ago the International Association of Chiefs of Police published a professional development and leadership reading list. It is broken down by four levels relating to rank. You can access it on the link.

Armed Forces Reading List
You didn't think the IACP came up with that idea on their own? Nope, many years ago, the Commandant of the Marine Corps began to publish a list of books he thought Marines should read. Over time this was formalized in to professional development and leadership readings that every Marine should read. As time past, the other branches, from the Army to the Coast Guard published lists. You can access them all at the hyperlink above. Each branch breaks the information down differently - some by rank, while others, like air force - by levels. Also, at the same site there are reading lists like "The Master Chief Petty Officer's Recommendation" and the War College recommended reading list on military history. Pretty cool stuff.

The Police Officer's Reading Lis
Yep, a year or so before the IACP got the bright idea, a bunch of us cops starting talking about books we thought other cops should read. This was more or less formalized - it is broken down by rank, crime and policing issue. If you have a recommendation (and you're a cop, send it along to the editor)

Police Writers
Lists over 210 state and local police officers and the over 550 books they have written. You can read about cop work from the eyes of cop, academic work on the criminal justice system and tactical stuff. Indeed, where else will you find a book of poetry written by a cop with the title "How to undress a cop."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Terrorism, safety and situational awareness

When the first aircraft struck the World Trade Center what were your thoughts? Was terrorism your first thought? Or, was your first thought more like How could that happen? The first crash caught most people trying to figure out what human or mechanical error could have caused the crash. However, a little over 15 minutes later and the instant Flight 175 came into view we knew we were under attack. As the jet slammed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center our view changed and the response of police and fire personnel to the WTC and the other incidents changed.

Our response changed because the additional information of the second aircraft changed our perception regarding the first. Our perceptions moved closer to the reality because additional information gave meaning and enhanced our comprehension of what we were observing. By gaining additional information we became aware of the true nature of the situation.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness was a term originally used to describe the tactical situation during aerial combat[i]. While the term doesn’t go back as far, the idea surfaces in World War I, when pilots first took to the sky in combat. At first, it was the ability of the pilot to know where he was in relation to the enemy and the other pilots of his flight. In reality that is only positional awareness. However, when pilots added their knowledge of aircraft capabilities and known battle tactics with positional awareness they were able interpret, comprehend and anticipate. Comprehension of observations is the essence of situational awareness.

Police officers use situational awareness daily. While it has obvious applications for street tactics it is likely most used in the development of reasonable suspicion (RS) and probable cause (PC). Both RS and PC are a police officers interpretation of observations based on their education, training and experience. Whenever you detain someone, conduct a warrantless search or make an arrest you are practicing situational awareness. Just as you and I were able to make better arrests as we gained knowledge on the job, we were also safer. Our safety was enhanced because there is a predictive element to total situational awareness.

Situational awareness has three levels perceiving critical factors, understanding those factors and finally understanding what those factors will cause to happen in the near future. Just as we gained an edge over the common
criminal element by education, training and experience, we can gain that edge over terrorists by enhancing our comprehension of what we observe as it relates to terrorism. We can protect our communities and ourselves by an enhanced situational awareness of terrorism.

Know what terrorism is

In the first article of this series, Terrorism: Crime or Asymmetrical Warfare, we noted that the the definition of a crime dictates our response. In that article we further explored the Federal Bureau of Investigations definition of terrorism:

terrorism refers to activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and, occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States[ii] .

You will increase your situational awareness, or he ability to use your comprehension of the facts to predict short-term future events, by understanding the history and nature of terrorism.

Know your beat

If you received a radio call of a shooting on the southwest corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Central Avenue you would have some positional awareness, but not much situational awareness. You would know the best route to get to the call, and probably the best way to approach, but little more. However, what if you knew the location was an apartment building rife with druggies? Alternatively, what if you knew the location was a Jewish Daycare Center? Either set of facts would add to your situational awareness, it would change the way in which you handled your approach and the call.

Most of the literature for first responders on
terrorism emphasizes the need to be aware of the critical infrastructure in your community. However, how you define critical infrastructure may somewhat limit your situational awareness. As an example, the Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets: Definition and Identification report to Congress ultimately defined critical infrastructure as:

"The framework of interdependent network and systems comprising identifiable industries, institutions (including people and procedures), and distribution capabilities that provide a reliable flow of products and services essential to the defense and economic security of the United States, the smoothing function of government at all levels, and society as a whole[iii].

Based on this definition, bridges, chemical factories and government facilities, etc. are part of the critical infrastructure. However, given the purpose of
terrorism, first responders should be aware of their community’s political, social and cultural infrastructure. The Jewish Daycare Center probably doesn’t fall into the category of critical infrastructure, yet it would be part of your community’s social and cultural infrastructure and in today’s world a potential terrorist target.

Know the groups, their goals, their tactics

Since 1996 the State Department has issues an annual report on patterns of global terrorism. Between 1996 and 2004, the varying reports list well over one hundred different foreign terrorist organizations. Furthermore, this does not include the large number of domestic terrorist or potential domestic terrorist groups and individuals. Clearly, it is impossible for the first responder to have an in-depth knowledge about the all the potential threats. Similarly, in Los Angeles it would be difficult to have an in-depth understanding of every gang[iv]; however, it would be possible to understand enough about gang members in order to increase your situational awareness. Here, in order to increase our situational awareness, we want to understand some overarching principles about terrorists:

For the
terrorist, the end justifies the means. The result is that no matter how bad the act, if the terrorist perceives the act as moving toward their goal, they do not consider the impact of the act on the individual or groups. Their only concern is the impact of the act on their end goal.

Terrorist Planning Indicators

1. Possession of extremist or radical literature;
2. Interest in law enforcement tactics, yet not in law enforcement;
3. Surveillance of critical infrastructure, or community political, cultural or social infrastructure;
4. Possession or attempts to obtain surveillance or planning materials, i.e., maps, photographs, blueprints, cameras, surveillance equipment;
5. Possession or attempts to obtain materials for improvised explosive devices i.e., chemicals, timers, wires or other components;
6. Possession (or the attempt to obtain fraudulently) identification documents;
7. The rental, or attempt to rent, storage units or a living space for a large group of people;
8. Economical and non-descript lifestyle;
9. The abandonment of typical cultural identifiers such as facial hair or clothing;
10. No interest in learning English; and,
11. Relationships with suspicious groups.

Note: This checklist is by no-means all-inclusive. It should be viewed as a place from which to start your discussion about terrorist planning.

The planning and execution of most terrorist acts seems to indicate that first responders are dealing with criminals that have an above average intelligence and are tactically astute. Research indicates that many terrorist leaders come from middle class families and are relatively well-educated.

The point of
terrorism is always publicity for the cause, through terror. Think of it this way in war, the point of a mine field is to slow or stop enemy progression; with terrorism, the point of an improvised explosive device along a highway is to gain publicity for the cause.

The target and the victim need not be the same. On September 11th, the victims who were killed or injured were not the targets. The United States government was the target. This concept reinforces the idea that for every terrorist the end justifies the means.
Know current intelligence

The current national system for a terrorist alert is almost to general to be of much use to the average first responder. There have been, however, instances when the Department of Homeland Security has issued alerts that were specific enough to be useful. An alert that says that financial institutions in a specific region should be in a higher state of preparedness is specific enough for the first responder to take action. Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security not only issues alerts, but general recommendations for action based on those alerts. Every first responder should have a good grasp of how a heightened alert impacts their assignment.

One of the most common deliver methods of explosives is through the use of a vehicle. Some of the indicators may be:

Vehicles that have a strong chemical smell, or the scent of something burning coming from them;

Signs of recent body work, especially of poor quality, or with patches welded to the cab or body of the truck;

Extra fuel tanks or extra antennas, or recent signs of a reinforced suspension;

Inappropriate license plates or misspelled artwork or badly executed stencil painting;

Heavily tinted windows, particularly if used in an unusual manner (for example, if the front screen of a delivery truck is tinted); and,

Signs that the vehicle is heavily over-loaded on its suspension.

One of the problems with American
law enforcement is that we tend to stove-pipe critical communications. That is, we send information up and down a specific chain of command, often failing a timely dissemination of the information to where it is most needed. You can work to short-circuit this by developing your own sources of information. Whether you subscribe to the Department of Defense email briefings, the State Department email advisories or any one of the great public sources of Open Source Intelligence, you should find a source of information that you continually and regularly consult for intelligence on the latest trends in terrorism.

Total situational awareness is gained through increased comprehension of what we observe. It results in a greater ability to make short-term predictions about what is going to happen and therefore make decisions regarding our response. Comprehension is gained through education, training and experience. If you attain total situational awareness you will be better able to prevent, respond and apprehend.

About the Author

Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA is author of Police Technology (Prentice Hall, July 2004), and co-author of Leadership: Texas Hold em Style (Quill Driver Books, August 2006), From NYPD to LAPD: An Introduction to Policing (Prentice Hall, July 2007), over fifty articles on technology, policing, leadership and terrorism and a dozen educational websites like Raymond can be reached at or through his blog at

Article Sponsored by
Marine Corps Gifts, Police Officer Gifts and Criminal Justice Online.

[i] Endsley, M.R. and Garland, D.J. (2000). Situational Awareness Analysis and Measurement. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates retrieved on July 1, 2006 from

[ii] Terrorism in the Unites States (1999) Counterterrorism Threat Assessment and Warning Unit

Counterterrorism Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

[iii] Moteff, J. and Parfomak, P. (2004). Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets: Definition and identification. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved on July 7, 2006 from

[iv] The
Los Angeles Police Department website states, There are more than 250 active gangs in the City of Los Angeles. Many of these gangs have been in existence for over 50 years. Sadly, these gangs have a combined membership of over 26,000 individuals (retrieved on July 10, 2006 from
Quite frankly, if the different sets, subsets and newly emerging gangs are including, this is probably a low number of the total number of distinct sub-units of gangs.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Convicted Cop Killer has Myspace Account

On death row for the murder of a Police Officer, he has a Myspace page where he, like millions of other people, talks about his daily life, his likes, dislikes, favorites, etc. In a recent new story, the mother of the slain officer was reported to have said, "To me, if ( had any sort of ethics whatsoever, they wouldn't want that sort of thing on their Web site,"

Find the hyperlink to the Myspace account, associated new stories, join the discussion and take a poll on the issue at:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News

NLECTC Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology News Summary
Thursday, November 16, 2006
"Video Spurs Bratton to Weigh Review of Pepper-Spray Policy"
Los Angeles Times (11/15/06); McGreevy, Patrick

A videotape showing a
police officer using pepper spray on a handcuffed suspect in a patrol car has spurred LAPD Chief William Bratton to consider reviewing the department's pepper-spray policy. Of particular concern to Bratton was the fact that the officer closed the car door, leaving the suspect alone in the vehicle, after the spray was used. "My interest there is: Was that pepper spray used to control the behavior of that individual or was it used punitively?" the LAPD chief noted. "If in my judgment the individual ceased to be a threat to the officer and other tactics could have been used, then I could conceivably find the officer out of policy." The ACLU and some police watchdog organizations urged the LAPD on Tuesday to reconsider when officers are permitted to administer pepper spray, especially in cases where suspects are handcuffed. The current allowance that spray can be used to subdue "combative" suspects is thought by some to be excessively broad.

"Computers Help Cops Predict Crime Times"
Chicago Tribune (11/13/06) P. CN6; Van, Jon

More and more
police departments are turning to predictive analytics software to assess past data to predict future occurrences. Police in Richmond, Va., for example, use software from SPSS to find trends in car thefts and other crimes. According to Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe, more car thefts are likely to occur during ice skating shows rather than monster truck shows or rap concerts. This is because more valuables are left behind in the car by parents during those events. The software has also helped Richmond police determine that more robberies occur on paydays near stores where people cash their checks, and that most victims of these robberies tend to be Hispanic, says Monroe. In addition, the technology is used to set objectives for officers who oversee particular sections of the city, he says. Monroe reveals that each district in the city now sees no more than 14 robberies per month, compared to about 20 robberies per month in the past. The software also helped police see that "our data showed a lot of nighttime robberies along one strip near the convention center," prompting the addition of more lighting to that area, notes Monroe.

"Eye In the Sky"
Wisconsin State Journal (11/11/06) P. D10; Balousek, Marv

Two Sun Prairie
police officers--Scott Timm and Michael Timm--launched their own company to develop and market tracking technologies to law enforcement agencies and other customers. Sky Shield opened for business in October and is marketing three new tracking products for monitoring the location of teens, police officers on foot, and suspects. The personal tracker allows police departments to monitor officers once they leave their vehicles, and the covert tracker can be attached to the undercarriage or trunk of a suspect's vehicle. In addition, the covert tracker can also be used for monitoring pets by attaching the device to a leash. The teen tracker is a cell phone that allows parents to monitor their son or daughter's location and dial three numbers. Parents can access location information by logging onto the Sky Shield Web site.

"Internet Cameras Let
Police Peek Into Businesses"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (11/13/06); Johnson, Annysa

Store owners can now check on their shops from any location at any time thanks to a new camera and surveillance system. The Wauwatosa
Police Department developed the video capability part of the system and is now testing the technology by linking it to their dispatch computers. The Internet-based cameras let dispatchers and patrol officers see what is happening at a particular address that dials 911. "If there's a robbery with a gun, the dispatcher can send that image to the squad," says Wauwatosa police Capt. Jeff Reit. "In a fire, we can see if it's flames or smoke." Information can be shared throughout the state by using the system and several suburbs in Milwaukee are already using it. In the past, police agencies had to access databases individually for information. A mapping system that relies on global positioning allows dispatches to see where squad cars are located and what officers are doing. The camera system costs about $800.

"Panel Works To Improve Tracking of Sex Offenders"
Fresno Bee (CA) (11/09/06) P. B5; Benjamin, Marc

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently created a task force to come up with ways to notify residents when sex offenders move into their neighborhoods. The task force also aims to provide sex offenders with housing, supervision, and monitoring when they are released from prison. Grier Weeks, director of the National Association to Protect Children, was the only person to testify at a recent meeting in Fresno to offer his suggestions. Weeks recommended that well-trained agents monitor sex offenders on global position units, that supervisors be provided for 10 years or more, and that the number of caseloads that parole agents are given be reduced. The California Department of Corrections currently has 10,000 sex offenders under supervision and about 3,200 of them are classified as high-risk offenders. California voters recently approved Proposition 83, which prevents sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared the proposition unconstitutional because it would ban paroled sexual offenders from residing in most of California's cities.

"'Being the Newest Kids on the Block, We Used the Latest Technology'"
Port Huron Times Herald (MI) (11/09/06) P. 1B; Murphy, Shannon

The Capac
Police Department has installed new digital in-car video technology in one of its police cruisers that connects to the Global Positioning Satellite system. The system only requires a tiny portion of space compared to the previous recording technology that required roughly 50 percent of a police cruiser's trunk space. Capac Police Chief Raymond Hawks noted that money obtained from drug cases is covering the roughly $4,200 cost of the system. Most of the camera technology is mounted to the cruiser's rear-view mirror. The camera can capture footage of suspects discarding evidence during police pursuits. The Capac Police Department is the sole law enforcement agency in Michigan that uses the new system.

"Phoenix To Buy New Tool To Find Stolen Cars"
Arizona Republic (11/08/06) P. 1; Villa, Judi

The Phoenix
Police Department has turned to the Automatic License Plate Reader to help locate and recover stolen vehicles. The state Department of Public Safety purchased five of the cameras from May to August. The camera is mounted on top of patrol cars and can scan as many as 10,000 license plates in one shift. The license plate numbers are compared with a database of stolen vehicles. An alarm goes off when there is a match. "It can help us try to locate the vehicles more efficiently," says police Lt. Giles Tipsword. "It can do more than we can do. There's no way I can go out there and have officers input all that data." Phoenix had the fourth highest auto theft rate in the nation last year with 53,291 vehicles stolen and 34,981 recovered. The new technology can also be programmed to track vehicles that traffic drugs or are linked to homicide, robbery, and sex offender suspects. Mesa, Tempe, and Glendale are currently using the cameras on a limited basis.

"Photo Technology to Aid in Search for Abducted Children"
Associated Press (11/09/06); Mohajer, Shaya Tayefe

A database program called AmberView, developed by the West Virginia High Tech Consortium, will soon be launched across West Virginia. The database will contain school photos and physical descriptions of more than 300,000 students in grades kindergarten to 12. The photos allow the creation of three-dimensional pictures intended to boost people's ability to recognize a child; the database will be revised yearly. The information in AmberView is to be released right after the issuance of an AmberAlert. Bob Chico, the developer of AmberView, says the new system complements the AmberAlert system and will be especially useful for on-duty police officers. AmberView could also be used for monitoring sexual predators and aiding doctors to rebuild the faces of wounded children, he says. The program's creators anticipate that sales of AmberView to other states will help the program pay for itself. AmberView was developed using $1.4 million in funds from the National Institute of Justice.

"Brown Wants to Expand GPS Monitoring Beyond Tracking Sex Offenders"
San Francisco Chronicle (11/10/06) P. B1; Johnson, Chip

Jerry Brown, the current mayor of Oakland, will soon become California's attorney general. Brown struggled to find support for close monitoring of parolees who were convicted of violent crimes, but his new appointment will give him more leverage. Brown envisions using Global Positioning System monitoring technologies to track parolees in Oakland with violent histories because of the escalating crime rate in the community. Murders and other crimes have risen significantly in Oakland during 2006. The technology is currently used to monitor the location of approximately 500 sex offenders in the state, according to Bill Sessa with the state Department of Corrections. However, Sessa identified shootings as the main crime-related problem in Oakland. Brown hopes to make approximately 100 parolees convicted of violent crimes wear the tracking devices, which are attached to a person's ankle.

Police Eye Adding Laptops to Their Arsenal"
Anchorage Daily News (11/08/06) P. G11; Wellner, Andrew

police department of Wasilla, Alaska, is mulling the acquisition of notebook computers for its squad cars. Police Chief John Glass has inspected the "mobile data terminals" of other agencies, including those used in Fairbanks. WPD has determined that it would implement a system that relies on radio instead of wireless phone signals to send information. The computers would provide officers with data that is currently accessed via dispatchers' calls, such as state and national crime records and automobile information. The in-cruiser computers would also automatically update data about officers' whereabouts in real time, says Glass. In comparison, officers must now notify dispatchers where they are located. The new system would also allow silent interactions between officers and dispatch via computer messages. According to Glass, Wasilla's proposed system would necessitate the installation of new radio transmitters that would be affixed to existing towers or new towers. He says the Austin, Texas, police department is currently using such a system. It would likely take a year for WPD to deploy the mobile data terminals, which would be financed via a federal grant, says Glass.

Police, Mower Deputies to Get $2 Million Radio System"
Rochester Post-Bulletin (11/10/06); Ruzek, Tim

On Nov. 7, the board of Mower County, Minn., endorsed bids for a communications initiative valued at more than $2 million. About 60 percent of the cost--about $1.3 million--will be paid for by the county while the remainder will be covered by the city of Austin, Minn. The new technology will enhance the
Law Enforcement Center's dispatch system for the county and city's police and fire departments. The initiative also involves installing computers in all of the cruisers within Austin's police department and sheriff's department. These computers will facilitate officers' ability to access data and talk with dispatch without having to release information over the radio scanner, says Austin Police Chief Paul Philipp. A significant part of the plans involve the erecting of a 400-foot communications tower near Elkton, says County Coordinator Craig Oscarson. The tower is a joint undertaking with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where Mower County owns the tower's land, while the transportation department funded the construction of the tower and its facility. Both agencies will benefit from the agreement, says Oscarson. Philipp has told the county council, however, that if Mower County constructs a new criminal justice facility, it would be costly to relocate and rewire the new gear.

"Watching the Water Supply"
Business Week (11/06/06) Vol. 4008, P. 89; McConnon, Aili

Several groups of researchers are working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect the U.S water supply from biological
terrorist attacks. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati, Sandia National Laboratories, and Argonne National Laboratory, in collaboration with the EPA, have created a software program that performs real-time surveillance of municipal water systems. The WaterSentinel Program software is currently on trial in Albuquerque.

"What Every Sheriff Needs to Know About Cyberbullying"
Sheriff (10/06) Vol. 58, No. 5, P. 6; Aftab, Parry

There are two different types of cyberbullying, which is defined as any cyber-communication or publication posted or sent by a minor online that is intended to frighten, embarrass, harass, or otherwise target another minor. In the first type of cyberbullying, a direct attack, messages are sent to victims directly. For example, kids may send threatening messages to other kids via instant messaging or text messaging. A direct cyberbullying attack can also involve the perpetrator posing as the victim. For instance, a cyberbully could post a provocative message in a hate group's chatroom posing as the victim. These messages also typically include the name, address, and telephone number of the victim--which makes it easy for the hate group to locate them. Another type of cyberbullying is called cyberbullying by proxy, which involves using others to help cyberbully the victim, either with or without the accomplice's knowledge. For example, a cyberbully could provoke the victim in an online conversation, forcing them to lash back. After the victim retaliates, the cyberbully saves the communication and forwards it to the victim's parents--who, without seeing evidence of that their child was being provoked, think that they were the ones who "started it." This type of cyberbullying is the most dangerous kind, because cyberbullies can blame their accomplices--who have no legal leg to stand on when punitive actions are taken. Both types of cyberbullying are prevalent among children. According to a poll conducted by the National Sheriff's Association, 65 percent of students between the ages of 8 and 14 have been directly or indirectly involved in a cyberbullying incident, either as the one doing the bullying, the one being bullied, or a close friend of one or the other. The consequences of such incidents can sometimes be very serious, involving suicide or even murder.

"The Digital Roadmap"
Law Enforcement Technology (10/06) Vol. 33, No. 10, P. 80; Lyons, Troy

Law enforcement agencies switching to digital crime scene photos need to make several considerations before selecting a digital camera. Some courts and prosecutors want proof that images are indeed those taken at the crime scene, which can be accomplished with image authentication software. When it comes to image processing, they should select software that allows them to adjust size, resolution, color, brightness, and contrast. The application should also have a history log file. PhotoShop CS is preferred by some agencies for its ability to handle both processing and enhancement. Among other things, the program converts white-powder fingerprints on black backgrounds to black fingerprints on a white background. As for printers, they would be wise to select a dye sub printer that applies a protective coating to images to prevent fading and damage due to moisture.

Articles sponsored by
Police Officer Gifts and Police Officers turned law enforcement writers.