Criminal Justice News

Monday, August 31, 2009

Governors Highway Safety Association Endorses Texting While Driving Ban for All Drivers

The membership of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has enacted a new policy encouraging every state to ban texting behind the wheel for all drivers. GHSA Members are appointed by their governors to lead state highway safety agencies.

According to GHSA Chairman Vernon F. Betkey Jr., "The action by the GHSA membership is based on the fact that texting while driving is indisputably a distraction and a serious highway safety problem. If every state passes a texting ban, it will send a message to the public that this dangerous practice is unacceptable. We can begin to change the culture that has permitted distracted driving." Betkey noted the recent study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute influenced the GHSA membership action. That study indicated that a driver who is texting increases crash or near-crash risk by 23 times.

GHSA continues to have concerns about enforcing text messaging bans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to begin an enforcement demonstration project later this year which the Association fully supports. GHSA is hopeful that U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood's upcoming summit on distraction and the NHTSA demonstration project will provide a roadmap for developing additional enforcement strategies and countermeasures.

Despite these concerns, GHSA Vice Chairman Lowell Porter is confident that, given all the focus on the issue, effective enforcement solutions are on the horizon. "In the past, there were challenges enforcing seat belt and drunk driving laws. However, the research and highway safety communities collectively worked together and developed successful enforcement programs like Click It or Ticket. I am confident that we can do the same thing with texting bans. GHSA's new policy will help move this process along."

Chairman Betkey noted that this meeting is the first time in a year that GHSA's full membership has met. In that time, texting while driving has gained considerable attention. According to Betkey, "We want to send the strongest message possible about texting behind the wheel -- it is dangerous and should not be tolerated."

GHSA's new policy was enacted during its Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. The conference runs through September 2.

Cell phone and texting laws are posted online at

GHSA's distracted driving policy is available at

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit

Top Highway Safety Awards to be Presented in Georgia

Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey & Wisconsin Home to Winners

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) will present its national highway safety awards during its Annual Meeting in Savannah. GHSA represents state highway safety agencies across the country. The James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award will be presented on Wednesday, September 2. All other awards will be presented at a luncheon on Monday, August 31.

The Association's highest honor, the James J. Howard Highway Safety Trailblazer Award goes to Illinois State Senator John J. Cullerton of Chicago. Senator Cullerton serves as President of the Illinois State Senate. The Howard Award is named after the late Congressman Jim Howard (D-NJ), who was known as "Mr. Highway Safety" for his work on many highway safety bills from the 1960's through the 1980's.

Throughout his 30-year career in the Illinois State Legislature, Senator Cullerton has amassed a traffic safety record likely surpassing that of any state legislator in the nation. He has led the effort in the state to enact safety legislation on a variety of issues, including: child passenger safety; primary seat belt use; mandatory motorcycle helmet use; .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC); graduated licensing; and alcohol interlock laws.

Among Senator Cullerton's many legislative achievements, Illinois' primary seat belt law has perhaps been the most significant. Senator Cullerton sponsored the bill and personally advocated for it across the state. At the time, a large majority of states did not have this lifesaving law. Largely because of the Senator's dedication and leadership, a primary bill was passed and signed into law in 2003. Since the law's enactment, the state's seat belt use rate has increased by 14 percent to more than 90 percent.

GHSA will present the Kathryn J.R. Swanson Public Service Award posthumously to Kevin E. Quinlan, who spent 35 years of exemplary service with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. Mr. Quinlan was a dedicated public servant who diligently worked to improve the safety of our roadways.

Mr. Quinlan was a tremendous resource to state legislators, highway safety offices and advocates throughout the nation. He frequently testified on a host of safety issues and worked tirelessly for the advancement of the safety agenda. The focus of his career was saving lives. It was his job, his mission and his passion. He was distinguished by his length of service, his breadth of contributions on a multitude of safety issues, and the gregarious, passionate and tireless manner in which he served.

GHSA is also presenting five Peter K. O'Rourke Special Achievement Awards for notable achievements in highway safety in calendar year 2008. These Awards are named in honor of former GHSA Chairman and Californian Peter K. O'Rourke. Winners are:

Illinois Operation Teen Safe Driving Program, recognizing the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic Safety for its unique, statewide teen driving program. This program has reached more than 99,000 teens and translated into lives being saved. Teen fatalities decreased from 155 in 2007 to 93 in 2008. The state credits this program, along with a new GDL law, for the dramatic drop in teen deaths. The program was supported by the Ford Driving Skills for Life program and The Allstate Foundation.

Indiana Supreme Court, Division of State Court Administration Judicial Technology & Automation Committee, for the development of a uniform, electronic ticketing system to enhance the efficiency and consistency of the traffic ticketing process in Indiana. Prior to this new system, Indiana's 92 counties struggled with paper tickets that did not provide any standardization or uniformity. Too often, important information was not collected. With the new system, efficiency is greatly enhanced, and police productivity has increased substantially.

Maryland's Task Force to Combat Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol, for its efforts in assessing the status and progress of statewide efforts to combat impaired driving, identifying deficiencies, proposing solutions, and submitting a comprehensive report to the Governor and General Assembly. Forty-two proposed recommendations were submitted, which included improvements in engineering, enforcement, intervention, treatment, education and the courts. Seven legislative initiatives were included. Four of these have already become law. This effort is a model for states that want to review their progress in addressing impaired driving.

New Jersey Teen Driver Study Commission, for its work in assessing the state of teen driving in New Jersey and making recommendations to reduce the number of teen driver crashes and fatalities. The Commission's final report included 47 recommendations, many of which were new and innovative. The Commission has had a substantial impact: already, new laws have been passed requiring a teen driver decal, lowering the curfew for provisional drivers to 11 p.m., and limiting the number of teen passengers to one unless a parent or guardian is present. This effort is a model for other states that want to comprehensively address the teen driving issue.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, for its year-long series, "Wasted in Wisconsin." Forty-nine journalists traveled the state and told the story of the abuse of alcohol and the profoundly tragic impact it has had on Wisconsin residents. The series generated substantial discussion throughout the state. While it is too early to assess legislative impact, more than 30 different legislative enhancements have been proposed. In today's economy, amid the decline of print journalism, it is rare for a newspaper to devote so much space to the issue of drunk driving - particularly a year-long series. "Wasted in Wisconsin" was a brave endeavor that will translate into lives being saved.

More detailed descriptions about the winners are online at To request a photo of a winner from the August 31 presentations, contact Jonathan Adkins, or 202-669-9746.

An agenda of the GHSA Annual Meeting is available online at:

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit

Thursday, August 27, 2009

National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims

The third annual National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims will be observed on Friday, September 25, 2009. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), and hosted by the National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. (POMC), in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center (MCVRC), this special observance honors the memory of homicide victims and acknowledges the resulting long-term trauma for families, communities, and the Nation.

With support from OVC, POMC has partnered with MADD and the MCVRC to hold a day-long symposium in Washington, D.C., to educate legislators, policymakers, victim advocates, and others about the issues faced by family members who have lost a loved one to homicide. This forum will take place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The symposium will be followed by a candlelight observance at the National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW., from 6 to 9 p.m. Members of Congress, family members of murder victims, and representatives of victim assistance organizations will honor the memories of loved ones and provide support to survivors.

OVC Acting Director Joye Frost will speak at both the symposium and observance. Register to attend both events by calling 1–800–438–6233.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Responding to Homeless Victims of Sexual Assault

On August 26, 2009, at 2 p.m. (eastern time), the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) will present a Web Forum discussion with Jessy Haywood and Katya Fels Smyth on best practices for responding to homeless victims of sexual assault. Ms. Haywood is a community educator and trainer with The Center for Women and Families, a private nonprofit organization with facilities in Kentucky and Indiana that works to end domestic violence, sexual violence, and economic hardship. Ms. Haywood provides education on domestic violence and sexual assault that raises awareness and helps to prevent these crimes, and works with victim services and allied professionals to develop and enhance their skills. Ms. Smyth is founder and principal of the Full Frame Initiative, a campaign to ensure that the most marginalized individuals, families, and communities throughout the country receive the tools, support, resources, and services they need to thrive. Prior to launching the initiative in 2007, Ms. Smyth founded On The Rise, Inc., an organization that provides innovative and effective support to the most disenfranchised women of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Visit the OVC Web Forum now to submit questions for Ms. Haywood and Ms. Smyth, and return on August 26, at 2 p.m. (eastern time) for the live discussion. Learn how to participate beforehand so you are ready for the discussion.

More Information

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Organizing Committee adds more sessions to conference as a result of delegates input.

August 17, 2009-- The International Swine Flu Conference organizing committee has responded to the needs of the ISFC delegates by adding more breakout sessions to the upcoming event. Sessions added include presentations on the school/university pandemic planning, continuity of operations (COOP) and government planning, Infectious Medical Waste, Psychological Issues and many more. ISFC will be held at the Hyatt Regency Washington DC on Capitol Hill, August 19-20 and will be followed by all day hands-on workshops on the 21st.

“Our delegates requested for more sessions at the conference and we responded.” said Ahmed Farajallah, Senior Vice President, events and conferences, New Fields. “Emergency Preparedness Leaders, Health and School Officials, Business, Public and Private sector Partners will have access to H1N1 Flu experts from around the world to address the issues of continuous planning for a possible severe outbreak of H1N1 flu this fall”

The ongoing Swine Flu pandemic proved that now more than ever health, education, government, non-profit organizations, and business executives need to focus, discuss and share best practices and lessons that will be learned during this pandemic in the age of globalization.

With delegates from Tribal, local, state, federal along with 32 countries already registered, the ISFC will provide a platform for public health officials and community stakeholders to come together, to network and exchange preparedness and response efforts. Priority will be placed on identifying the responsibilities of various stakeholders in order to improve global communication coordination and collaboration.

Each day of the conference will offer papers on a wide range of topics including:

Preparing Community Strategies
Local Partnership and Participation
Delivery of Vaccine and Antiviral Medication
Emergency Response and Hospital/Healthcare Coordination
Prevention Education Efforts and Risk Communication
Command, Control and Management
Business Community’s Role

Panel Discussions include:
Clinical Picture: Country Report & Situation Update
Clinical Picture: Impact of US Export Regulations on International Cooperation in the H1N1 Pandemic Flu Response
Risk Communication, Prevention Education Efforts and Risk Communication
Understanding the Connection Between Human and Animal Disease, Exploring One World, One Health
Vaccines delivery

Over 20 breakout sessions will be offered addressing a wide range of issues, including:
Breakout: Agricultural Perspective: Socio-Economic Impact on Swine Industry
Breakout: Schools/University Planning: How and When to Close Schools
Breakout: Mass Fatality Management Planning
Breakout: Business Continuity Planning, "Pandemic Showstoppers: What leads to Success or Failure at the local Community level"
Breakout: School Emergency Preparedness
Breakout: Hospital and Emergency Medical Services
Breakout: COOP and Continuity of Gov't Planning: "Gearing up for the Fall: Rapid Training & Exercises for Health Department Staff & Partners"
Breakout: Business Continuity: Preparing the Community for a Severe H1N1
Breakout: Business Continuity: Global Pandemic Planning at Visa
Breakout: Schools/University Planning: The Uniqueness of Planning for Swine Flu in Higher Education: We are Much Different than the k-12 System
Prevention of Schools for Students, School Personnel, Parents and Communities
Breakout: Emergency Management: States Perspective and Strategy for Pandemic Influenza- Command, Control and Management
Breakout: Hospital& Emergency Medical Services: Impact of Swine Flu on Emergency Medical Services
Breakout: Community-Based Planning, Community Preparedness
Breakout: COOP & Continuity Gov't Planning And many more…

Workshops include:
Learn How to Plan- Contingency Scenario Exercise for Pandemic Influenza
Learn How to Plan
Protect Your Community
Enhancing Pandemic Preparedness Through Volunteer Resources
Know How to Respond
Plan to Continue

The 2-day event is open to all interested governmental agencies, organizations, and businesses from all countries. To register, Call us at 202-536-5000, or download a registration form:
Complete and fax to 202-280-1239

Those interested in making presentations related to the Swine Flu or pandemic preparedness, please contact our research department by e-mail at

Justice and Rate a Solicitor

Internet-based marketing continues to expand in the direction of customer feedback driven methodology. A common use of this feedback system is looking for a restaurant. By using a search engine you can usually find and limit your searches to the type of food and location; and, then, many website give you the opportunity to review customer feedback. Additionally, once you have selected the restaurant, you can use any variety of means to get driving directions and even a street level photograph of the location.

An example of customer feedback driven marketing expanding into the justice arena is the website
Rate a Solicitor. The United Kingdom based website provides people with legal problems the ability to find potential representation based on the past performance as judged by clients.

The website publisher said, “I started this website after a long and frustrating search for a good and reputable solicitor. Without any recommendations to go on I was basically in the dark. I managed to find a good solicitor eventually - after several false starts - but not before I had the idea of setting up a site that would help people who wanted to go beyond the efficient and professional looking advertisements that many solicitors have in publications such as the Yellow Pages, and find out what the service offered by that solicitor was really like.”

Editor’s Note: This was a sponsored review of the website.

Monday, August 17, 2009

VisionAIR, Inc. Recognized by IJIS Institute

Receives Member Appreciation Award Given by Institute

The IJIS Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on mission-critical information sharing for justice, public safety, and homeland security, announces the presentation of its Member Appreciation Award to VisionAIR, Inc. on August 7, 2009. The award was presented by Paul Wormeli, executive director of the IJIS Institute, and Kirke Curtis, chair of the IJIS Institute’s Membership and Outreach Committee, during the Institute’s Industry Briefing, held in Bellevue, Washington.

The IJIS Institute Member Appreciation Award is presented two times a year by the IJIS Institute to the member company that has demonstrated outstanding contributions to the IJIS Institute during the previous year. Candidates for the award are nominated by IJIS Institute leadership, staff, or committee chairs, and represent significant contributions to information sharing through their work at the IJIS Institute.

VisionAIR, Inc., provider of the integrated Public Safety Suite® of software, has been a member of the IJIS Institute since 2003. VisionAIR ranked among the leaders of all member companies in terms of the number of overall Institute-related projects with which they were involved, including: serving on technical assistance engagements, acting as trainers for educational events, representation at events, and participation in committees.

VisionAIR currently has a member on the IJIS Institute Board of Directors – Mike Lyons, CEO. Mike Lyons also serves on the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Personnel Committee. Other VisionAIR representatives serving on IJIS Institute committees include: Bob Koenig, Governance Committee; Jeff Beard, NIBRS/N-DEx Advisory Committee; and Wendy Gilbert, IJIS Public Safety Technical Standards Committee.

Kirke Curtis, chair of the IJIS Institute’s Outreach and Membership Committee, noted that, “So many IJIS Institute member companies stand out for their contributions, however, the depth of the commitment that VisionAIR has shown the Institute is second to none, in terms of both the length of time and consistency of their support to the IJIS Institute.”

About the IJIS Institute—The IJIS Institute serves as the voice of industry by uniting the private and public sectors to improve mission critical information sharing for those who protect and serve our communities. The IJIS Institute provides training, technical assistance, national scope issue management and program management services to help government fully realize the power of information sharing. Founded in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with national headquarters on the George Washington University Virginia Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, the IJIS Institute has grown to more than 250 member and affiliate companies across the United States. For more information visit

About VisionAIR® – Drawing on extensive industry experience, VisionAIR has developed an open, integrated software solution—the Public Safety Suite®. This proven solution includes Computer Aided Dispatch and Mapping, Records Management, Mobile Data, and Web-Based Data Sharing for 911 centers, law enforcement, fire service, and corrections. As a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, VisionAIR offers solutions built on industry standard platforms. With approximately 500 clients and over 34,000 individual users nationwide, VisionAIR and our partners provide cost-effective, competitive products to support Public Safety and Criminal Justice professionals. For more information, contact VisionAIR at 800-882-2108 or visit

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Community Based Policing

August 11, 2009 (San Dimas, CA) On October 1, 2009, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with former San Francisco Police Department Detective Linda Flanders on Community Based Policing.

Program Date: October 1, 2009
Program Time: 1700 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Community Based Policing
Listen Live:

About the Subject
Community based policing is one of the requirements for the new stimulus grants; the importance of getting all areas of a community on board and collaborating to solve their own problems. It's perfectly clear that law enforcement cannot do it alone. The question remains: "How do we do this?” As an example, we can do it through the development of a unique community-based Media Arts program that is designed specifically as a developmental and educational tool; one that captures the attention of kids and parents. It's one of the Midwest's most promising new programs; offering prevention and intervention, workforce skills and community activism. Law enforcement simply gets the ball rolling.

About the Guest
In the 1970s,
Linda Flanders was the first female police officer to join the Mill Valley police Department (California). By 1980, she had moved across the bay and joined the San Francisco Police Department. During her career she was promoted to the rank of Inspector and trained as a Child Interview Specialist. Linda Flanders worked for several years in the Juvenile Division’s Child Sexual Assault Detail.

Linda Flanders has a degree in Criminal Justice and became a Movement Education Teacher in 1991. Since 1999, she has worked as an independent educational filmmaker and, co-developed the “The Movie Making Process©” as a learning and teaching tool for today’s kids. Using a mix of art education, pop-culture and digital technology the process has developed into the 21st Century Prevention Program. The original work, “The Movie Making Process”© was recently nominated by the State of Wisconsin as their “Most Promising Prevention Program”.

Linda Flanders has published several articles on alternative learning styles and children who exhibit atypical behavior. And, is the author of the self-help Cinema-therapy book for teens Hollywood Endings and How To Get One. The prevention program for communities is called The Northern Lights; Shining The Light on the Meth-edemic and mixes entertainment and education to deal with methamphetamine specifically and addiction in general. Linda Flanders’ current project is to work with communities nationwide on the prevention program and evaluation, document it in a peer-reviewed article and submit the findings to the National Institute of Health as a model program. She is actively looking for communities to join this endeavor.

About the American Heroes Radio
The Watering Hole is slang for a location heroes go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. American Heroes Radio brings you to the watering hole, where it is: Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole.

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate TechSolutions program has launched a new Web site,, to provide a channel through which first responders can submit requests related to capability gaps that require technology solutions. TechSolutions provides first responders with a resource they can use to find solutions for these high-priority capability gaps. TechSolutions uses rapid prototyping, technical assistance and information sharing to save lives and maximize first responder preparedness. All submissions to the TechSolutions Web site must come from first responders. For more information on TechSolutions program, please visit or

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has a similar research, development, testing and evaluation process that aligns NIJ's portfolios with the technology needs of the criminal justice community. Principally working in partnership with technology working groups consisting of experienced practitioners from local, state, tribal and federal agencies and laboratories and the Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council, NIJ identifies criminal justice practitioners’ functional requirements for new tools and technologies. Individual criminal justice practitioners are also encouraged to submit their technology needs and requirements directly through the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center system by e-mail to or by calling (800) 248-2742. For more information, visit