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March 30, 2017

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JUSTNETNews is a service of the Justice Technology Information Center, a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System, a program the Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice. We are always interested in our readers' comments and feedback about this service. Please send your comments, questions, or suggestions to

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Federal Funding Opportunities:

W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Race and Crime FY 2017, application due date is March 31, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Research on Bias Crimes, application due date is April 3, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program FY 2017 Competitive Grant Announcement, application due date is April 4, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Research and Evaluation on Drugs and Crime FY 2017, application due date is April 24, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Program FY 2017 Competitive Grant Announcement, application due date is April 25, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program FY 2017 Competitive Grant Announcement, application due date is April 25, 2017 11:59 p.m.

FY 2017 Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence-Inventory, Tracking, and Reporting Program (SAFE-ITR), application due date is April 28, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Research and Evaluation in Safety, Health, and Wellness in the Criminal Justice System, application due date isMay 8, 2017 11:59 p.m.

NIJ Evaluation of OVC’s Vision 21: Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve: Supporting Collective Healing in the Wake of Harm Program, application due date is May 15, 2017 11:59 p.m.

FY2017 BJA National Initiatives – Adjudications: Training and Technical Assistance to Support the Protection of Constitutional Rights Under the Sixth Amendment, application due date is May 16, 2017 11:59 p.m.

PREA Program: Strategic Support for PREA Implementation in Local Confinement Facilities Nationwide FY 2017 Competitive Grant Announcement, application due date is May 25, 2017 11:59 p.m.

Give Us Your Tech Ideas
We are actively seeking ideas to help us identify technology needs and requirements as part of the National Institute of Justice's Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation process.

NLECTC Spotlight

Forensic Technology Center of Excellence Releases Report on Firearms Identification

The NIJ Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, part of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System, has released Forensic Optical Topography: Landscape Study. This 41-page PDF report discusses the application of optical topography in the crime laboratory, compares commercially available instruments and examines barriers to the broader adoption of optical topography-based solutions to firearms identification.

You can download the report from

FTCoE 2016 Annual Report Available

The 2016 Annual Report for the FTCoE shares key project accomplishments in the following categories: Online Events, Onsite and Blended Events, Technology Transitions, Success Stories, Databases, Evaluation and Guidance Documents, Special Projects, Web Statistics and Outreach. Each section begins with a brief description and overview of the activities contained in that section, followed by a summary of specific activities. The report can be found at

 Federal Investment in Forensic Science Research and Development: Landscape Study Released

NIJ is one of the largest federal stakeholders to support basic and applied forensic research and development. However, there are other venues that offer support to the community whose mission aligns with that of NIJ. The FTCoE developed a report to give a brief landscape of other agencies' research and development funding opportunities, which provides the forensic community with documented sources associated with agencies that have requirements and funding available to further the field of forensic science. The final report can be found at

New FTCoE "In Brief" Available

Applying Internal Validation Guidelines for Expanded STR Loci Kits, a new FTCoE "In Brief," can be downloaded from the Center's website at This In Brief provides application of already existing guidance documents. Organizations like the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees provide the forensic community with best practices and are continuously improving standards and recommendations as technology improves and changes. The recommended validation studies are foundational for laboratories to determine the effectiveness and reliability of any new system to develop standard operating procedures.

 Read About Pursuit Technology Evaluation in New Report

NIJ has released Pursuit Technology Impact Assessment v1.1, a research report produced by the National Criminal Justice Technology Research, Test and Evaluation Center, part of the NLECTC System. The report presents an independent assessment of the StarChase remote vehicle tracking system, and can be downloaded from

 Drugs and Crime Solicitation Deadline Extended

The National Institute of Justice has extended the deadline for the solicitation ( titled "Research and Evaluation on Drugs and Crime" to April 24, 2017. Under this solicitation, NIJ seeks proposals to conduct applied research that examines criminal justice tools, protocols and policies concerning drug trafficking, markets and use applicable to state, tribal and local jurisdictions. Applications must address either criminal investigation and prosecution or drug intelligence and surveillance, with priority given to proposals that focus on first, heroin and other opioids, then on synthetic drugs.

Questions concerning the solicitation should be submitted to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 800-851-3420; TTY at 301-240-6310 (for hearing impaired only); email; fax 301-240-5830; or web chat

New Test System Helps Officers Identify Illegal Drugs

Visit to read a brief article about a more reliable test system for police officers to detect and identify illegal drugs. In this report from the National Institute of Justice, researchers looked at transition metal cluster compounds for the fluorescent identification and trace detection of substances of abuse. The resulting test system allows investigators in the field to photograph the fluorescence spectrum with a smartphone and identify the substance through comparison to an online database.

2017 Specialized Analytic Seminar Series Underway

Registration is open for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's 2017 Specialized Analytic Seminar Series. The series offers training focused on peer-to-peer analytic collaboration; key audiences include state and major urban area fusion center personnel, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Investigative Support Centers staff, Regional Information Sharing Systems® (RISS) Centers personnel and major city/county intelligence units. Each seminar focuses on a particular topic area. Sessions include:

  • West Regional Jail/Correctional Intelligence: May 9-10, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • East Regional Jail/Correctional Intelligence: July 19-20, 2017, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Geospatial/Geographic Information System (GIS): Aug. 23-24, 2017, Bozeman, Mont.
  • Cybersecurity: Nov. 15-16, 2017, Frankfort, Ky.

To register, visit Space is limited.

Bureau of Justice Statistics Releases Updated Federal Justice Statistics Reports Series

The following reports have just been released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

These reports describe the annual activity, workloads and outcomes of the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment, using data from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Data include arrests by law enforcement agency, offense and federal judicial district; sentence length by type of offense and the proportion of offenders returning to federal prison within three years of release.

16th Annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month Set for April

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) offers campaign materials related to this year's Sexual Assault Awareness Month theme of "Engaging New Voices" at The materials, including social media promos, posters, postcards and more, can be downloaded in both English and Spanish versions. This year's campaign aims at involving four new audiences in sexual assault prevention: coaches, faith leaders, fathers and "Greek life" members.

Latest Issue of AJAlert Released

Visit to read the latest issue of AJAlert, the online newsletter of the American Jail Association. You can read news briefs and check out listings of upcoming events, as well as checking out links to additional information.

Criminal Justice Technology in the News

Law Enforcement News

California Police Officer Saved by Ballistic Vest, (03/28/2017)
An officer with the Anderson (Calif.) Police Department suffered non-life threatening injuries in an incident on March 26, as his ballistic-resistant vest saved him from more serious injury. The officer was investigating a report of a stolen vehicle at a local motel when the shooting occurred, a department spokesman said.
Link to Article

Law Enforcement Cautions Against New Social Media App
Arkansas Matters, (03/21/2017), Ellen Lampe
Investigators have given a warning about the lack of security on a new app popular with young people, Live Me. An officer from the Benton County (Ark.) Sheriff's Office and a reporter recently created accounts on the app and immediately gained access to details such as teens' age and location. Any user can gain access to any other user's livestream without being added to an account.
Link to Article

Officers Given New Uniform Options to Help With Comfort and Efficiency
Dakota County Star, (03/23/2017), Michelle Kuester
South Sioux City, Iowa, recently began offering its law enforcement officers a choice of continuing to use a traditional internal carrier for their ballistic-resistant vests or using uniform allowance funds for one of two new external carrier options. Some officers prefer to continue to wear the vest underneath the uniform shirts, while others opt for a new-style carrier that resembles the uniform shirt, goes on top and can be removed in appropriate situations. The other external option allows the officer to wear equipment such as firearms on the carrier instead of the traditional duty belt.
Link to Article

Corvallis Police Convert Shotguns to Use Less Lethal Rounds
Albany Democrat-Herald, (03/24/2017), Nathan Brutell for the Corvallis Gazette-Times
In Corvallis, Ore., every shotgun owned by the police department has been converted to fire "pancake bullets" made by Integrity Ballistics. Fired at roughly one-third the speed of a standard bullet, the synthetic polymer ball rounds "pancake" on impact and are designed to incapacitate suspects without killing them. A department spokesperson does caution that the rounds are "less lethal" and the potential for certain types of fatal injuries still exist.
Link to Article

In Proposed Budget, Richmond Police Prioritize Gunfire Detection System Over Equipping All Officers With Body Cameras
Richmond Times-Dispatch, (03/27/2017), Ned Oliver and Ali Rockett
Richmond (Va.) Police Chief Alfred Durham has stated that in a budget crunch between equipping all of his officers with body cameras or installing a ShotSpotter gunfire detection system in one of three high-crime neighborhoods, he would choose to go with ShotSpotter. The chief has characterized use of the ShotSpotter system as "a matter of life or death."
Link to Article

Summit County Cities Awarded $500,000 Grant for Emergency Dispatch Software, (03/27/2017), Brittany Nader
A group of five cities in Summit County, Ohio, has received a half-million dollar grant from the State of Ohio Development Services Agency toward the purchase of a consolidated computer-aided dispatch software system. The system will process both traditional 911 calls and Next Generation 911 services, which include cell phone texts. Officials say the consolidated system will increase efficiency.
Link to Article

Corrections News

FCC Votes to Let Prisons More Easily Shut Down Contraband Cellphones
The Verge, (03/23/2017), Colin Lecher
The Federal Communications Commission has voted 3-0 to ease restrictions against the use of "cellphone interdiction systems" by corrections facilities. The order reduces paperwork and requires cellular carriers to work with the corrections system to block signals. Contraband cell phones have been linked to a number of illegal activities in facilities nationwide.
Link to Article

Watchtowers in Prisons: A Thing of the Past?, (03/23/2017), Raquel Martin
The Illinois Department of Corrections plans to use security cameras in place of watch tower guards at 23 medium- and lower-level prisons. The plan should save the state approximately $4 million. Staff would not face layoffs, but would lose overtime.
Link to Article

W.Va. Inmates Will Receive Photocopies of Mail to Prevent Drug Smuggling
The News Center, (03/24/2017), Loyd Price
In an attempt to cut down on smuggling synthetic drugs into correctional facilities by coating mail, inmates in West Virginia's 10 regional jails now receive photocopies of all mail rather than the originals, which are shredded and destroyed. Inmates also receive copies of photos, with the originals stored for them until their release. A similar program will soon go into place at state facilities as well.
Link to Article

U of Vermont to Start Teaching For-Credit Courses in Prison
U.S. News & World Report, (03/26/2017), Wilson Ring for the Associated Press
Starting in spring 2018, the University of Vermont will participate in the Consortium of the Liberal Arts in Prison. The program, which originated at New York's Bard College, enrolls inmates in state prisons in traditional liberal arts courses at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington.
Link to Article

New York State Prisons to Fight Contraband Smuggling by Banning Packages for Inmates
New York Daily News, (03/28/2017), Reuven Blau
The New York State Department of Corrections, in an attempt to cut down on the amount of contraband reaching the inside of its facilities, plans to no longer allow visitors to bring packages to prisoners. Items will instead have to be sent through "approved secure vendors." Officers search packages brought during visits or received through the mail, but feel that contraband is still reaching inmates.
Link to Article

Upcoming Events

For additional information on these events go to:

  • Collecting Footwear and Tire Impressions in Snow - On demand presentation
  • 11th Annual National Missing and Unidentified Persons Conference, Atlanta, GA, September 19-21, 2017

The JUSTNETNews Mailing List is maintained by the Justice Technology Information Center, a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center System, supported by Cooperative Agreement 2014-IJ-CX-K404 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Regular postings to JUSTNETNews include abstracted news articles on law enforcement and corrections technology topics, upcoming NLECTC and NIJ events, NLECTC services and activities, new publications, and other technology-related announcements. Please note that providing information on law enforcement and corrections technology or the mention of specific manufacturers or products does not constitute the endorsement of the U.S. Department of Justice or its component parts.

The National Institute of Justice is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART).