Our News Center features summaries of the latest technology, equipment, strategies and news releases of interest to law enforcement, corrections and courts professionals. In addition we offer a weekly news digest—JUSTNET-News—and our award-winning newsmagazine—TechBeat.
New Releases in the field of Corrections
Musician Performing at Prisons to Help Combat Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Recidivism Rates
Solo musical performer Matt Butler, a recovering addict with five years of sobriety behind him, has toured 50 prisons and developed a huge fan base that relates to his songs of addiction and recovery. Butler uses his musical performances to encourage inmates to continue on a path to recovery.
Jails, Prisons Slowly Loosen Resistance to Addiction Meds
Prisons and jails throughout the nation are slowly losing their resistance to drug-assisted treatment for addiction to opioids and other substances among the inmate population. Approximately 300 of the nation's 5,100-plus facilities presently offer some form of addiction medication to select inmates, including about 290 that offer a monthly injection of naltrexone to inmates shortly before they're released. Another 30 or so facilities offer two other federally approved medications, methadone and buprenorphine.
Oregon Jail Combating Contraband With Body Scanner
Several county jails in Oregon have added body scanners in the past year. Administrators are finding that although there is an initial expenditure in buying the devices, the savings costs in terms of decreased officer overtime, fewer legal proceedings and improved inmate health can far outweigh the monetary expense.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Expands to County Prisons
Pennsylvania is expanding to county prisons a medication that has proven successful in helping state prison inmates quit addictive drugs. State prisons use Vivitrol, which officials say is non-addictive and reduces heroin cravings.
Prison Inmates to Get Access to Tablets
Connecticut this summer plans to provide prison inmates with computer tablets in an effort to help their education, keep them connected to family, and reduce noise and violence in prison. The devices will be preloaded with e-books, educational videos and games.
First Inmates Graduate From Wesleyan Program
The first inmates have graduated from a prison education program in Connecticut. The 18 men and six women officially graduated from Middlesex Community College, which partnered with the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy served as commencement speaker at the ceremony at the Cheshire Correctional Institution. A similar ceremony for the women recently took place at the York Correctional Institution.
'It's a War': Golf Netting Goes Up Around SC Prisons
Broad River Road Correctional Institution in Columbia, S.C., recently received an installation of 50-foot netting designed to stop individuals on the outside from throwing contraband, such as cell phones, into prison yard. In all, 11 South Carolina institutions will have netting installed around their perimeters at a total cost of $8 million.
Full-body Scanners Finally Come to N.H.’s Prisons
New Hampshire recently implemented use of full-body scanners to check for contraband at correctional facilities, with more slated to follow later this summer. The state legislature approved funding for the scanners two years ago, but several issues related to their use delayed implementation.
Departing Prison Inmates With Drug-addiction Histories to Get Opioid Abuse Treatment
The Virginia Department of Corrections provides pre-release treatment and post-release referral, treatment and support through its Medication Assisted Treatment Reentry Initiative. Through the program, some individuals with a history of opioid addiction can receive a naltrexone injection to block the effects of opioids. The program is part of a study by the National Governors Association.
Jail and Opioids Keep More Men Out of the Workforce in the US Than in Other Big Economies: Goldman
In the United States, higher incarceration rates and opioid abuse have contributed to a low labor force participation rate among men of prime working age. According to research just released by Goldman Sachs, that rate is more than 3 percentage points less than the rate in other developed countries. The research says that one-third of the difference can be explained by opioid abuse and incarceration.
These Formerly Incarcerated Entrepreneurs Are Trying to Keep People Out of Prison
Unlocked Futures, a business accelerator, annually supports business ventures by eight entrepreneurs impacted by the criminal justice system to provide assistance. All of these initiatives offer help to others who have been incarcerated; this article profiles several of those initiatives.
College Degree Options Are Disappearing for Women in Texas Prisons
Texas A&M University-Central is in the process of phasing out several four-year degree programs offered to women in the state’s prison system, leaving women with access to only associate’s degree programs. Men in the state’s system can continue to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees
Injunction Stops the Nevada Prison Planning to Use Fentanyl in an Execution
Alvogen, the pharmaceutical company that made one of three drugs to be used in an execution in Nevada, sued to stop the July 11 execution because it did not want its drug to be used. The “drug cocktail” was also to include fentanyl, a key factor in the nationwide opioid crisis. It was the first time any U.S. prison had planned to use fentanyl in an execution.
Feds Ban Drones Over Many Prisons, Coast Guard Facilities
Federal officials are banning drone flights over 30 federal prisons and Coast Guard facilities around the U.S. The Federal Aviation Administration said that drones will be barred from the air up to 400 feet above the facilities. The FAA says it’s responding to requests from the Justice and Homeland Security departments.
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Nebraska Prisons Playing Major Role in Mental Health Care
This article discusses efforts by the Nebraska prison system to care for and help mentally ill inmates. The system has three full-time psychiatrists, two full-time nurse practitioners, two part-time psychiatrists, 19 psychologists and 23 licensed mental health practitioners.
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MDC to Scan Irises to Verify Inmates’ Identities
The Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque will begin scanning the irises of inmates booked into jail, according detention center Chief Greg Rees. Inmates eyes will be scanned again when they are leaving to ensure that the correct person is being released. Rees said he decided to use the new technology after the jail mistakenly released the wrong inmate, who was posing as his cellmate, in June.
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How Prisons Can Use Tech to Slow Their Ever-Revolving Doors
This article discusses the importance of training inmates on use of social media and other computer technology to prepare incarcerated individuals for a successful transition back to the community.
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With Idaho’s Inmate Population Skyrocketing, State Mulls $439M Prison Expansion
Idaho corrections officials recently presented to the Board of Corrections a proposal for a $439 million prison expansion, including a new 1,510-bed state prison. The proposal is aimed at providing the 2,400 new prison beds that forecasts show Idaho will need by the end of 2022. The proposal includes that the entire new 1,510-bed prison be devoted to special needs, from infirmary beds and mental health units to protective custody, a dementia and Ahlzheimer’s unit, and a relocated and expanded reception and diagnostic unit, through which every new state inmate passes for evaluation and classification.
In Louisiana Jail, Inmate Deaths Mount as Mental Health Pleas Unheeded
This article discusses problems with jails housing mentally ill prisoners and the deaths of several inmates that occurred in a Louisiana jail.
Metzgar Introduces Plan to Combat Assaults in Prisons After SCI-Somerset Incidents
A Pennsylvania lawmaker has suggested prison reform measures in the wake of assaults on corrections officers. Over the past six months, four corrections officers have been attacked and one of them killed by SCI-Somerset inmates. Legislation suggested by State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar would eliminate the possibility of parole for inmates convicted of staff assault, impose a mandatory five-year sentence and lower the threshold for what is considered an assault on staff.
NIST Adds Popular Drone Models to Forensic Reference Datasets to Assist Investigators
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has added forensic images of 14 popular drone models to its Computer Forensic Reference Datasets to assist criminal investigations involving drones. Forensic images consist of a complete data extraction from a digital device. The drone images include simulated digital evidence to help investigators recover data from actual drones.
Prison Chief: Better Pay, Tech Upgrades Helping Make Prisons Safer
Better pay for staff and technology upgrades are among the ways North Carolina officials are seeking to make prisons safer for employees, according to Reuben Young, interim chief deputy secretary of public safety for the N.C. Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice. New technology is designed to alert administrative staff more quickly when there is a problem in the facility.
Biometrics Finding New Uses Among Inmate Populations
This article discusses the use by corrections agencies of an Inmate Recognition Identification System. The technology uses a high-resolution digital scan of each inmate’s eye for identification, and can be used for quick verification of an inmate.
Some Maine Jails Have Used Naloxone on Inmates
A 2017 Maine state law allows certified corrections officers, for the first time, to administer naloxone. Previously only police officers and medical professionals could administer the drug. Correctional officers at jails in Androscoggin, York and Somerset counties in Maine have used already naloxone spray to revive overdosing inmates.
Students Use VR to Help Former Inmates
Students in the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois have designed a virtual reality program to help soon-to-be-released prisoners get used to the technology of the modern-day world. Scenarios help inmates deal with tasks such as using public transportation, buying self-serve gasoline or ordering food at a self-serve kiosk. The tasks were selected by polling former inmates about what caused them the most difficulty after release.
In Prison, ‘Reimagining Justice’ — and a Governor’s Legacy
In Connecticut’s Cheshire Correctional Institution, the 16-month-old T.R.U.E. Program provides a therapeutic community for inmates ages 18 to 25. Specially trained corrections officers and inmate mentors lead a program based on education and life skills that keep inmates busy with tasks throughout the day. All officers volunteered for the program, which has a goal of developing a model for a prison that is safer for staff and productive for inmates.
S.C. Prisons' Switch to Electronic Medical Records Expected to Improve Inmates' Care, Save Money
A pilot electronic records program launched in two facilities in 2017 is expected to go statewide in South Carolina correctional facilities before the end of this year. The system has been using a combination of paper records and an outdated system developed during the 1980s to keep track of the health records of approximately 20,000 inmates.
South Carolina Plans to Use Drones to Remotely Watch Inmates
South Carolina corrections officials plan to use drones to remotely monitor inmates at the state’s 21 prisons. The technology can be used to monitor a prison and the area outside, where contraband like cellphones and drugs can be launched over walls.
Ohio Prison Inmates Pirated Movies and Built Computers From Spare Parts, Inspector General Finds
Inmates at Ohio’s Marion Correctional Institution assembled several dozen computers from parts, pirated software and illegally copied movies to broadcast on the prison movie network, an investigation from the state inspector general has found. The findings, released in a report, stemmed from a previous 2017 investigation that found inmates hacked into the prison network, stole fellow prisoners’ personal information and applied for credit cards in their names.
Parole Official: State Needs More Housing for Ex-Inmates
New Mexico should invest in more residential treatment centers and transitional housing for people recently released from prison, according to Sandy Dietz, chairwoman of the New Mexico Parole Board. During remarks at a public safety task force meeting, Dietz indicated the inadequate number of supportive housing and treatment options for ex-inmates has resulted in some violating their parole and ending up back in prison.
Louisiana to Restore Voting Rights to People on Probation and Parole for Felonies
Legislation passed by the Louisiana state legislature would restore voting rights to potentially thousands of formerly incarcerated people convicted of felony crimes. The legislation, which went to the governor to consider for signature, would restore the right to vote to most felons after a five-year period after leaving prison, giving roughly 3,000 of the state’s 70,000 formerly incarcerated people a chance to vote.
Report: Juvenile Probation Should Focus on Help, Not Punishment
A recently released research report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Juvenile Justice Strategy Group recommends looking at alternatives to prison and jail time for the majority of juvenile offenders. The study says that juveniles respond better to a system of incentives and rewards than they do to punishment. Adopting such strategies would greatly reduce the juvenile incarcerated population.
"Women Can Do This": Female Inmates in Texas Find Fulfillment in Learning Technical Skills, But They Have Fewer Options Than Men
Some women in Texas correctional facilities are learning technical job skills, such as HVAC repair, but the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition says that incarcerated men in Texas are offered 27 more technical job skills courses than are women. The study said that compared to women in Texas’ criminal justice system, men are offered far more technical education options, including options such as truck driving and bricklaying. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice disputes the report’s findings. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/05/21/women-are-offered-variety-programming-while-prison-gender-disparities-/
NYS Corrections Looking Into Possible Hacking of Secured Prison Phone System
An online tech magazine has been contacted by an alleged hacker who claims to have broken into the secure telephone system used by inmates of the New York Corrections System and their families. If the hack actually took place, credit card information of inmates’ families stored in that system is at risk.
Yellowstone County Considers Trying Phone-based Court Date Reminders to Ease Jail Crowding
Using grant funds, Montana’s Yellowstone County plans to launch a pilot program whereby individuals charged with a crime provide a designated contact phone number at the time of booking. The system then uses that phone number make a call or send a text message reminding them about their court dates. In areas that already use the program, the rate of individuals showing up for their initial court dates has jumped at rates ranging from 25 to 50 percent
New Eye-scanning Technology at Monroe County Jail
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Rochester, N.Y., has enrolled more than 6,500 inmates in the Inmate Recognition Identification System (IRIS) system since its implementation in September 2017. Incoming inmates have their irises scanned in addition to being photographed and fingerprinted, and that information goes into a national database that can pull up previous criminal history from any participating jurisdiction.
In Decatur Prison, Technology Removes Barriers for Moms Behind Bars
Video link and email technology in 13 of 25 correctional facilities in Illinois helps inmates keep in touch with family members and friends included on their personal list of approved contacts. The technology allows inmates to conduct video visits from their cells rather than using a public kiosk. At Decatur Correctional facility for women, the staff has seen positive changes in women who are making contact with their children and keeping up with their activities.
Access to Maintenance Medications for Opioid Addiction Is Expanding. Prisons Need to Get on Board.
This article examines the use of the three Food and Drug Administration–approved medications to treat opioid addiction – methadone, buprenorphine, and injectable naltrexone – in the prisons and jails, and the positive effects those programs can have on the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic.
New Policies Implemented to Keep Contraband Out of South Dakota State Penitentiary
Body scanners, mail restrictions and the use of K9s are some steps the South Dakotas Department of Corrections is taking to try and keep drugs out of prisons. Every letter must have a return address with a first and last name, only white paper is accepted, and greeting cards and postcards are not allowed. K9s check visitors and search cells for drugs. About 1,500 to 1,600 inmates are body scanned at random per month.
Okaloosa County Jail Uses New Device to Stop Drug Smuggling
The Okaloosa County Department of Corrections in Florida is using a $115,000 mail screening system to detect drugs on mail coming into the facility. Mail is scanned and an image is sent to a computer that will indicate if it’s positive for illicit substances. In a two week period, the jail stopped 40 pieces of mail.
Prison, Wireless Industry Task Force Meets in DC to Talk Cell Phone Jamming in Prisons
Several leaders of state corrections departments met with representatives of wireless service providers in late April to discuss contraband cell phones in prisons. The meeting was facilitated by the Federal Communications Commission.
‘Dinosaur Eggs’ and Smugglers: Keeping Cellphones Out of Prisons is Tougher Than You Think
This article discusses the problem of contraband cellphones in prisons and efforts to stem the use of cellphones by inmates.
California’s Prisons Have New Simulation Software
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation now has a Multiple Interactive Learning Objective simulator in every adult institution to help train custodial and noncustodial officers. The simulator focuses on techniques for communication and de-escalation of threats or potentially violent interactions.
Inmates With Cellphones Are a Problem in SC Prisons. Is This the Solution?
Technology is being installed at the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina to thwart use of cellphones by inmates. Maryland-based Tecore Networks is installing managed access technology that will stop unauthorized devices from making calls, sending texts or connecting to the internet, without jamming all cell activity in and around the maximum security prison.
Arkansas Prisons Going Green, Saving Money
State prisons and other state entities in Arkansas are taking steps to improve conservation of resources and cut costs. Entegrity Energy Partners LLC of Little Rock in 2016 was awarded $26.5 million in contracts with the Department of Correction ($17 million) and the Department of Community Correction ($9.5 million) that promise to save the state at least that much in energy costs over 20 years. A state law allows agencies to treat utility savings as revenue that can be used to pay off capital improvement bonds as long as qualified energy efficiency firms are chosen for the work.
New App Aims to Keep the Poor Out of Pre-Trial Jail
A phone app aims to secure the release of poor people awaiting trial or sentencing through remote monitoring. Users receive reminders about court appearance dates and documents required. The Promise app is aimed at people who cannot afford bail. Promise assesses a defendant’s needs, then develops an individual care plan, downloaded to their phone, which monitors and supports them.
Eye Spy a Sex Offender: Jeffco Sheriff's Office Touts Use of Iris Scans in Fighting Crime
Nine months ago, the Jefferson County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Office became the first in the state to begin using the Inmate Recognition & Identification System (IRIS) to register and verify the identity of all of the county’s convicted sex offenders as well as to quickly and accurately identify inmates. Slightly less than 200 law enforcement agencies nationwide use the system, which stores the scans in a nationwide database.
Telecomm Expert Lists Ways to Block Cell Phone Signals Inside Prisons
In this article, a telecommunications expert discusses several technology solutions that could stop cell phone signals inside correctional facilities. Officials have blamed, at least in part, a recent riot at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina on disruptions caused by contraband cell phones.
Community Corrections Officers Become Narcan-certified
Community corrections officers from the Delaware Department of Correction recently received naloxone training, learning how to recognize the symptoms of an overdose and how to administer the life-saving drug when they suspect an overdose. All participating officers received certification and supplies of the drug.
FBI Sting Uncovers Bomb Plot, Drug-smuggling Operation in SC Prison
An eight-month FBI sting operation involving 40 agents and two Cessna surveillance airplanes led to charges against a South Carolina inmate involving use of an illegal cellphone to get on the Dark Web, run a drug ring and plot a murder by mail bomb. These details and more are coming out in testimony this week in the trial of accomplices from outside the institution who allegedly took part in the plot.
Lee Correctional Institution Riot Is Deadliest in Nation in 25 Years
In the aftermath of Sunday’s fights at the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, which left seven people dead and 17 others injured, state officials once again called on the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to block cell phone signals in correctional facilities. Preliminary investigations indicate the fighting broke out in a dispute over territory and contraband, including cell phones.
A Lesson From Camden: Fixing Jails and Health Care Together
The authors of a new report published by the Program in Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard Kennedy School use this article to examine the potential for achieving lasting solutions by Integrating health care and criminal justice data. Research has indicated that frequent users of the health care system also frequently interact with the criminal justice system, and looking at how these individuals use both systems can provide opportunities to develop meaningful programs and prevent problems before they occur.
Technology Assisting Local Deputies to Keep Cell Phones Out of th e Hands of Inmates
The Mecklenberg County Jail uses cell sense technology to check incoming inmates for contraband technology, and although searches often turn up weapons, so far there have been no attempts to smuggle cell phones past the detection hardware.
Drug Use Is Detectable on Your Fingerprints
This article looks at the pros and cons of using new techniques that can determine, from a single fingerprint, whether you have ingested cocaine, opiates, marijuana or other drugs. Researchers are looking to expand the controlled substances that can be detected to include methamphetamines and amphetamines.
Inmates Older Than 60 Could Get Parole Under New Plan to Ease Prison Crowding
A bill proposed in the South Carolina state legislature would allow some inmates who are age 60 or older to seek parole once they have served half their sentence. The bill would make a number of significant changes in the areas of sentencing, prison release, and parole and probation supervision.
N.J. Inmates May Soon Be Eligible for State Education Aid
A bill in the New Jersey state legislature would allow inmates to receive state aid for education courses. About 550 of the state’s prisoners take college courses, and the costs are paid through federal Pell Grants and philanthropic funds. Inmates are currently banned from receiving state grants and scholarships.
Locking Out Impaired Driving
This article looks at the positive impact that can be attributed to requiring all impaired-driving offenders to install alcohol interlocks. A new study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety concludes that such laws reduce the number of impaired drivers in fatal crashes by 16 percent, and if implemented nationwide, would save 500 lives every year.
New Study Could Aid PA Dept. Of Corrections with Efforts to Combat Recidivism
A new study by the University of Maryland, commissioned by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, has found that inmates who willingly relocated away from places where they formerly committed crimes were seven percent less likely to be rearrested/reincarcerated. The department is considering offering relocation support through halfway houses as a new policy, although inmates will not be forced to relocate.
Prison Inmates’ Access to Tablet Computers to Be Expanded
Delaware’s Department of Correction is developing a plan to eventually provide Wi-Fi-enabled tablet computers to more inmates. As part of a limited trial, inmates at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution have had access to tablets in the prison law library since October 2016. The department is wiring the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center for Wi-Fi as part of the plan to expand tablet access.
Florida’s New Criminal Justice Data Effort a Prelude to Sentencing, Corrections Reform
Beginning July 1, Florida will require counties to collect extensive criminal justice data and make it available in a publicly accessible database. The data-sharing requirement is “the first step” in gathering evidence to support the creation of a task force to identify ways to reform the state’s $2.4 billion courts and correctional system, according to Florida Policy Institute Executive Director Joseph Pennisi. He said the new data collection law will provide accurate, measurable information necessary for a state task force to examine how criminal justice programs could be more effective, efficient and responsive if information was standardized and shared.
In South Carolina, the Fight Against Prison Contraband Continues on Multiple Fronts
This article discusses efforts by South Carolina to stem the flow of contraband into the state’s prisons, including raising pay for correctional officers, hiring additional staff and plans to use drone detection technology.
As Opioids Land More Women in Prison, Ohio Finds Alternative Treatments
PRI, (04/02/2018), Allison Herrera
This article reports on a comprehensive treatment program offered to women serving time at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. The Tapestry program provides help to keep inmates drug free and sober, to increase chances of success outside of prison.
Outside Experts Looking for Ways to Make NC Prisons Safer
A new Prison Reform Advisory Board set up to advise the North Carolina Department of Public Safety on how to improve safety and security for prison workers held its first meeting in March. Department officials briefed the panel on changes that have already been made in the wake of five deaths last year. A corrections officer was beaten to death and four prison workers died in an attempted inmate escape. DPS has increased penalties for rules infractions by inmates, barred anyone convicted of a violent crime from working in prison industries that give them access to tools, increased hiring and training of corrections officers, and issued batons and stab-resistant shirts to more officers.
Bill Would Ban Drones Near Prisons
The New York state senate has passed a bill that would ban drone use within 1,000 feet of correctional facilities in an effort to thwart attempts to smuggle contraband into prisons. The restrictions would not apply to the operation of a drone approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for commercial purposes. The bill has been sent to the state assembly.
FDC Investigates After Drone Drops Contraband at Panhandle Prison
Authorities are investigating two confirmed drops of contraband using drones at Florida prisons in the last 30 days. One of those drops was discovered at a Panhandle prison after correctional officers spotted the drone, which was delivering a cellphone and tobacco.
Drone Flyovers Pose Problems for Southern Vermont Prison
SThe Vermont Department of Corrections wants the state legislature to pass legislation banning drone flights above prisons. Deputy Corrections Commissioner Mike Touchette recently told a senate committee that there have been about a dozen drones fly over the Southern State Correctional Facility in the last year. The committee subsequently approved a bill approved earlier in March by the Vermont House of Representatives that would limit how close drones can get to state correctional facilities. The bill now goes to the senate floor for consideration.
Drones Used to Deliver Drugs, Cellphones and Other Contraband to Delano Prison, Documents Say
Authorities have documented incidents where drones carrying contraband have flown inside the perimeter of Delano’s Kern Valley State Prison, according to court documents. Prison staff found a crashed drone in September and cellphones in a bag attached to the drone. In February, a prison staffer heard a noise that sounded like a drone and the sound of something hitting the dirt. Staff found bags containing cellphones, drugs and hacksaw blades.
Missouri Prisoners to Receive Smart Tablets
Missouri plans to provide smart tablets to prison inmates. About 33,000 tablets will be donated to the Missouri Department of Corrections and distributed to every inmate in the state. Inmates will have access to email that will be monitored. They will not have access to the internet. The tablets will be loaded with rehabilitative lessons and programs.
Alarming Spike in Panhandle Prison Deaths Reaches ‘Point of Crisis’
This article discusses inmate deaths and possible contributing factors in some Florida prisons. The three major prisons in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties — Century Correctional Institution, Santa Rosa Correctional Institution and Blackwater River Correctional Institution — investigated a total of six inmate deaths in 2016. That number rose to 23 in 2017, and so far in 2018, there have been seven deaths at those three facilities.
Introducing Inmates to Real Life via Virtual Reality
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is using virtual reality to try to prepare some inmates for release from prison. The program is for people convicted as juveniles and serving life sentences. The department implemented programs such as classes, training and virtual reality, which has been used to give inmates a glimpse of where they will live after release, such as a halfway house.
Yoga and Aromatherapy Behind Bars? Pa. Prisons Try Wellness Initiatives
Pennsylvania is trying out low-cost ideas generated by correction officers, chaplains, nurses and food service staff that include yoga, aromatherapy and linens in an earthy shade of green in an attempt to decrease violence and time spent in solitary confinement. Pilot projects are underway at 25 of the commonwealth’s correctional institutions.
City Program for Youth on Probation Successfully Reduces Recidivism: Study
According to the New York City Department of Probation, participation in the Arches Transformative Mentoring reduces one-year felony reconviction by 69 percent and two-year felony reconviction by more than half. Arches, which began operation in 2012, uses curriculum-based interactive journaling, group mentoring and individual mentoring to connect high-risk young people ages 16 to 24 on probation to mentors in their own neighborhoods. The Urban Institute and the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity have partnered on research into the program’s success.
Seattle Teens Teaching Former Prisoners How to Use Technology
Three high school students in Seattle are working on a project to create a series of short videos that will help formerly incarcerated individuals accommodate to the new technology they find outside prison walls. The teens are meeting with focus groups to help them develop a YouTube channel that will start with basics such as attaching a file to an email. The teens will receive community service hours for their partnership with the If Project, which focuses on helping incarcerated men and women with life skills both while they’re in prison and after release.
Teleconferencing Will Speed Up Jail Evaluations
Four counties in Washington state – Island, Snohomish, Yakima and Grays Harbor – will take part in a pilot program to see how well telehealth technology works with mental health evaluations. The goal is for teleconferencing to cut down on the time it takes inmates to receive court-ordered competency evaluations from Western State Hospital.
New Fence Patrols by Volunteer Guard Unit Hopes to Curb Cellphones in S.C. Prisons
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has signed an executive order allowing volunteers from the S.C. State Guard to patrol the fences outside state prisons to thwart efforts to smuggle contraband onto prison property. The volunteers will be able to man watch towers, walk fence lines and drive the perimeters of the state's high-security prisons. In the past, cellphones, drugs and tools have been tossed over fences. The State Guard is not the National Guard. It is a volunteer organization controlled by the governor that's most often called on to respond to natural or man-made disasters.
Corrections Rankings: Measuring the Efficiency of State Prison Systems
Using data from McKinsey & Company, this article looks at state corrections rankings for incarceration rate, juvenile incarceration, racial equality in jailing, three-year recidivism rate and sexual violence in prisons. In recent years, state funding for correctional facilities, parole, juvenile and other programs has increased at triple the rate of increase for public education. New Hampshire leads state rankings, followed by Maine and Hawaii.
Coffee Creek Inmates Help Sustain Endangered Butterflies
A group of inmates at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility are engaged in yearlong project to help save the endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly. The women say the program, which takes place in collaboration with the Oregon Zoo and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, gives them a sense of purpose in addition to teaching them laboratory skills.
At an Atlanta Jail, Inmates Aren't Allowed to Receive Letters With Postage Stamps — and It's a Security Measure the Guards Can't Afford to Ignore
Inmates at Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail may receive only postcards with metered postage, with all mail sent in envelopes or adhesive stamps confiscated by staff. Inmates had been receiving strips of the drug Suboxolone in the adhesive under stamps, and drugs can be smuggled in the glue or the inside of envelopes as well.
New Unit Aims to Improve Safety at NC Prisons
North Carolina has a new unit overseeing security at all 55 state prisons. About two dozen instructors will be a part of a new Security Accountability Unit established in the Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice. The unit will train prison staff on safety policies and travel around the state doing audits of facilities to ensure those policies are being followed.
Drone Delivery to Jail? VT Bill Aims to Thwart That
A bill introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives would limit how close drones can get to state correctional facilities. The bill seeks to prohibit drone flight within a horizontal distance of 500 feet and a vertical distance of 400 feet. Violators would be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500. The bill contains exceptions for drone use by the Department of Corrections, a law enforcement agency, a public safety agency responding to an emergency, a person engaged in emergency functions or emergency management, or a person operating a drone with the written consent of the correctional facility’s supervising officer.
96% of DUI Offenders Wearing SCRAM Device Remained Sober Last Year in Lancaster County
Over 96 percent of DUI offenders wearing alcohol-detection devices in Lancaster County, Pa., are avoiding alcohol. In 2017, 745 people on bail conditions or probation/parole in the county wore a SCRAM device under the county’s DUI repeat offender program. According to data released by Vigilnet America, which supplies and monitors the devices, 25 people violated the conditions by having a drink, which means 96.6 percent remained sober.
For Some Prisoners on the Cusp of Freedom, Virtual Reality Readies Them for Release
Colorado is using virtual reality to help some inmates prepare for possible life outside of prison. A program at the Fremont Correctional Facility is for people convicted as juveniles who have served at least 20 years of their sentences. As part of the program, virtual reality is being used to familiarize them with modern ways of doing activities such as grocery shopping and experiencing a job interview. Inmates must complete a three-year program to be considered for release.
The Good News: N.J. Bail Overhaul Is Working. The Bad News: It's Already Going Broke.
In the first year of implementation, a project to reduce the number of people charged with minor crimes kept in jail while awaiting trial has resulted in a 20-percent decrease. However, because the program is funded through court fees and does not receive state funds, it is already in financial jeopardy.
You Can Lie About Drinking, But Your Sweat Can’t. Why Aren’t More Offenders Wearing Monitors?
Idaho’s SCRAM alcohol monitoring program appears statistically successful, but the devices are still worn by only a small percentage of those eligible, largely due to the $285 a month it costs a defendant to wear the device as a condition of release. Many offenders elect to remain in jail while awaiting trial instead.
Researchers Use Technology to Help Keep Homeless Population Out of Jail
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center recently received a $3.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop an app aimed at decreasing homeless persons’ incarceration rate. The Link2Care app will connect them to resources such as substance abuse and mental health counseling, and if they choose to access services, agencies will work with them to keep them from returning to jail. Studies show the majority of homeless individuals do have cellphones.
Michigan Ex-con Helps Others Turn Around Lives
Finding jobs and permanent housing for individuals recently released from prison helps reduce recidivism rates, and former gang member and juvenile offender Mario Bueno has created a nonprofit organization and written a book dedicated at helping others stay out of prison. His foundation’s goals work in parallel with Michigan’s, as the state has recently implemented several programs aimed at reducing recidivism rates.
Proactive Probation Magic Valley Probation Officers Try New Approach
Some probation and parole officers in Idaho are using motivational interviewing techniques in an effort to foster changes in long-term behavior among offenders. This communications method focuses on building intrinsic motivation through self-reflection, rather than external pressures.
Corrections, Congress ‘Encouraged’ by Prison Phones Meeting
Corrections officials and members of Congress say they’re hopeful a recent meeting with wireless industry representatives will lead to a solution that combats security issues posed by inmates with cellphones. The Federal Communications Commission hosted the meeting in Washington, D.C. in an effort to facilitate a conversation among law enforcement, prison officials and wireless providers.
SF Sheriff Wipes Out Electronic Monitoring, Community Service Fees for Convicts
The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department will no longer force people convicted of crimes to pay fees for electronic monitoring and community service. Sheriff Vicki Hennessy said electronic monitoring had cost offenders $125 to sign up and up to $39 a day when they were placed on supervised release. In the work alternative program, people were charged $100 to sign up and $20 a day to participate. Hennessy announced the decision on the same day that Board of Supervisors President London Breed introduced legislation to wipe out a slate of fees that can cost offenders thousands of dollars.
Virtual Visitation Allows Loved Ones to See Inmates Without Stepping Into a Jail/Prison
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has three virtual visitation sites for people to use computers to visit with inmates. Visitation rooms are quiet and private. Officials plan to expand the program.
Sheriff’s Department Adjusts Rules After Finding Drugs in Packages
Because of an increasing amount of contraband, the Bartholomew County (Ind.) Sheriff’s Office will no longer allow mail on colored paper or envelopes, including cards and postcards. Mail written in crayon, colored pencils and markers is also banned, along with scented, stained or discolored correspondence. Stamps will be removed and a full name and return address are required for delivery.
Keeping Drugs Out of Jail Is a Never-ending Challenge
Three officers working at the Tippecanoe County (Ind.) jail recently required treatment with naloxone after exposure to an unknown substance. An inmate also required treatment, although it is not known whether he was the source of the drug exposure. Sheriff Barry Richard has suspended in-person visits for trusty inmates, and is looking into additional ways to combat the introduction of contraband.
In New York, All 51,000 State Prisoners Will Get Their Own Tablet Computers
JPay, provider of various technology-related inmate services, has entered into a contract to provide all New York State inmates with tablet computers. Individuals can use the devices to communicate with loved ones and take classes, but will not be able to access the Internet or social media.
Inmate Admits to Murder in Facebook Live From Prison Cell
An inmate in an Atlanta, Ga., federal corrections facility admitted to committing a murder during a nearly one-hour Facebook Live session apparently conducted with a contraband cell phone. Joseph Fletcher, from Akron, is serving a 39-month sentence on weapons charges, and claims to have committed a murder for which another man has been charged.
Environmental Programs Grow a Better Prison System
This article examines the various ways that “going green” can improve recidivism outcomes, including through providing stimulation and improving mental health as well as teaching inmates skills that they could use to find employment on release. In addition, implementing such programs can reduce operating costs.
Study: Pretrial Detention Makes Poor People Plead Guilty
This article briefly looks at recently published research that indicates holding individuals in pretrial detention makes them more likely to plead guilty than individuals on pretrial release. The latter individuals are also more likely to be employed several years after the hearing.
Over the Limit: DUI Solutions That Target Drinking Not Driving
Alcohol monitoring programs in North Dakota and Pennsylvania, profiled in this article, have helped reduce repeat DUI offenses by targeting individuals’ drinking habits. Each program uses a different type of technology to monitor alcohol consumption and potentially stop individuals from driving while intoxicated.
Wireless Industry: Court Orders Needed to Block Prison Calls
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association has written a letter to the Federal Communications Commission speaking out against proposals to allow blocking of cellular signals near correctional facilities to prevent prisoners from using contraband cellphones. Rather, the CTIA says that judicial review and court orders provide the most effective way to stop illicit use of the devices. Devices that mimic cell towers could be used to capture the numbers of phones that remain in inmate hands.
Pennsylvania Fighting Opioid Epidemic With Body Scanner
The Wernersville Community Corrections Center in South Heidelberg Township, Pa., is pilot testing a new $100,000 contraband detection body scanner. The scanner can detect weapons and drugs. Over the next few months, data will be collected to gauge the success of the program.
Indiana to Launch Coding Program for Women’s Prison Inmates
Indiana is introducing a new computer coding program for inmates at the Indiana Women’s Prison. The governor’s office said Indiana will be the second state to adopt, in a pilot format, The Last Mile coding program into one of its prisons. The first state to offer the program was California. The program will train inmates how to code with the goal of aligning them with gainful employment in the tech industry upon release.
Turning to Telemedicine for Prisoners’ Mental Health Treatment
This article discusses the use of telemedicine for the treatment of mental health issues in prisons in Texas and California. The practice can save money and improve timeliness of care.
Georgia Prisons Struggle to Fend Off Drone Deliveries
Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier says he will be asking state lawmakers to support a bill that makes it illegal for a drone to cross a prison’s airspace as part of an effort to keep contraband out of prisons.
Jury Scam Run From Inside Georgia Prison Using Cellphones
An ongoing investigation alleges that inmates used contraband cellphones to call residents of Georgia’s Gwinnett County and claim that they owed fines for missing jury duty and would be arrested if they did not pay. One inmate at Macon State Prison supposedly made more than 10,000 such calls in the span of a month. Inmates used PayPal to collect the money.
Bill Making It Illegal for County Jail Inmates to Have Cell Phones Draws Concerns
The Florida legislature is considering the possibility of making it illegal for inmates in the state’s jails to possess a cell phone. Cell phones are considered contraband in Florida prisons, but jails are run on a local basis, and present policies can differ greatly.
Netting Going Up at South Carolina Prisons to Prevent Contraband Being Smuggled In
The South Carolina Department of Corrections has begun adding netting around several of its facilities, with plans to expand the program in the future. Director Bryan Stirling says that searches by officers and K-9s are not able to stop the flow of contraband into South Carolina correctional institutions, and stronger measures are necessary.
State Outlines Plan to Shore Up Ranks at West Virginia Correctional Facilities
The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety has identified 93 personnel within its ranks who can provide short-term staffing to assist at state correctional facilities. The plan is the result of an executive order signed on Dec. 22, 2017, by Gov. Jim Justice when he declared a state of emergency due to the staffing levels of the state’s juvenile and adult detention and correctional facilities. These personnel will be used to free up correctional officers for more direct supervision of inmates, and will have no direct inmate contact. The additional personnel will be used to conduct outer perimeter patrols and help operate facility control towers.
Pulaski County Jail Screening New Arrivals’ Mental Health
People processed at the Pulaski County Jail in Little Rock, Ark., now undergo screening meant to quickly identify people who could have serious mental illness. Surveys, one for men and one for women, are filled out for every person who is processed at the 1,210-bed facility. The Correctional Mental Health Screen for Men and for Women was developed by two professors with a grant from the National Institute of Justice.
More Inmates Killed. More Assaults on Guards. What’s happening in SC Prisons?
This article discusses the rise in violence in South Carolina prisons. Reasons cited for the increase include more cellphones and other contraband slipping into prisons, problems in hiring enough corrections officers, and a higher percentage of violent prisoners among the prison system’s inmates.
Indiana’s Next High-Tech Hiring Pool: Prisons
Indiana is launching a program to train inmates nearing release to write computer code. The “Last Mile” program will begin in 2018, training inmates who have behaved in prison for several years. Gov. Eric Holcomb says Indiana will be the first to copy a California program that began three years ago. He says it’s a chance to simultaneously help inmates contribute to society, help companies find workers with the tech skills they need and reduce the three-quarters of a billion dollars Indiana spends on prisons.
DOC Making Improvements to Stop Smuggling of Drugs into Facilities
Improving intelligence-gathering capabilities is among the steps the Alaska Department of Corrections is taking in an effort to deter inmates and others from smuggling drugs into corrections facilities. The DOC is also trying to offer more and better treatment options. Recently, the group announced a $2 million deal with the Salvation Army.
New Law Means Less Prison for Repeat Drug Offenders
A new Michigan law eliminates a mandatory life sentence without parole for repeat drug offenses involving narcotics or cocaine. It also allows a person convicted of certain drug offenses to be eligible for parole after serving five years for that sentence. Other new laws require criminal background checks and fingerprint samples to work at child care centers, family child care homes and group care homes.
Sheriff's Office May Expand Breath-Test Kiosk Program
The Racine County Sheriff’s Office is considering possibly expanding its breath-test kiosk program to track offenders’ sobriety. To provide a sample, program participants go to the automated kiosk, which is in the lobby of the Racine County Jail. Before the kiosk was in place, deputies traveled across the county, testing people required to remain sober by taking a portable breath test to each of their residences. Enrollees are nonviolent offenders; as terms of probation, they may be required to maintain sobriety. Scheduled alcohol and drug screenings ensure an offender stays sober. Since its implementation, more than 150 enrollees have participated in the program.
Prison Smoking Ban Starts Next Year
The Missouri Department of Corrections will ban smoking in its correctional facilities in 2018. The ban follows a court case brought about by an inmate who suffered health effects from secondhand smoke. All DOC facilities will be tobacco-free starting April 1, and the ban applies to staff, offenders, visitors, contractors, etc.; no one will be allowed to possess or use tobacco products inside DOC facilities. A smoking area will be provided outside the perimeter for staff and visitors.
ACLU Objects to Pennsylvania’s Protection-From-Abuse Monitoring Proposal
This article discusses a proposed Pennsylvania state law that would use electronic monitoring to try to protect people who have obtained protection-from-abuse orders. The proposal, which the state Senate has approved, would allow judges to require electronic monitoring of people with PFA orders against them. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania says the law would hamper the freedom of people who haven’t been convicted of any crime.
Duke University Lays Out 9 Recommendations to Make NC Prisons Safer
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety recently announced a dozen new steps to improve prison safety, including frisking almost everyone who enters the prison, giving batons to officers in medium-security prisons and updating security cameras. A new report from Duke University is encouraging state officials to make more changes to improve prison safety. The study includes nine recommendations that address, for example, staff training, enhancing perimeter security and mounting a cell phone interdiction initiative.
Electronic Monitoring Can Be a Boon to Criminal-Justice Reform
This opinion piece takes the position that increased use of GPS monitoring of individuals on probation or parole can offset the dangers generated by shortened sentences and bail reform. The author states that monitoring has been proven effective in reducing incarceration while at the same time keeping the community safe.
Texas Prisons Ban 10,000 Books. No ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ for Inmates.
For a variety of reasons, the Texas Department of Prisons has banned a list of 10,000 books, including a specific popup edition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Color Purple” and the 1908 Sears, Roebuck catalog. Publications have been banned for their content and also their structure, which could potentially be used to smuggle contraband. However, inmates may still read Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and a number of books written by white nationalists.
Drone Delivers Marijuana into Georgia Prison
A new pilot project at the Autry State Prison in Pelham, Ga., alerted staff to the possible presence of a drone on facility grounds. Although staff did not locate the drone, they found two packages of marijuana on the grounds apparently dropped by it.
Mecklenburg Jail Visits Are Now Solely by Video. Critics Say That Hurts Inmates, Families
A growing number of North Carolina jails, including the one in Mecklenburg County, have ended in-person visits in favor of video-only visitation. Research indicates that inmates who receive visits and remain connected with family and friends are less likely to reoffend, and that in-person visits return greater results than do video-only visits.
Drones Are Caught Flying Drugs or Mobile Phones Into Jail Every Five Days: Specialist Squad Has Seized 120 Devices Since the Start of 2016 and Convicted 17 People
In the United Kingdom, a new specialist squad established in January 2016 has recovered 120 drones used in attempts to smuggle contraband into the nation’s jails. The team’s efforts have led to the conviction of 17 individuals.
New AEI Report Suggests Reforms to Curb Recidivism
The American Enterprise Institute recently released “Rethinking Prison: A Strategy for Evidence-Based Reform,” a 37-page report in which the author calls for reforms aimed at reducing recidivism rates. The report calls for an increase in instructional programs, a reduction in the number of prisoners and increased use of risk assessments.
Anti-drone Systems Could Keep Contraband Out of Ohio Prisons
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction may begin using DroneDefender or a similar technology, according to published reports. The technology disrupts the signal to the drone and causes it to land. There have been more than a dozen recorded attempts to smuggle contraband into Ohio correctional facilities using drones.
Congress Is Looking to Stem the Illegal Flow of Cellphones Into Jails, Prisons
A rising rate of inmates using contraband cellphones to coordinate crimes from inside correctional facilities has led to a bipartisan Congressional effort to stop the devices from coming into jails and prisons. A letter signed by 52 House members and senators asked the Federal Communications Commission to coordinate a meeting among corrections officials, major cellular providers and the FBI.
Hartford PD: High-Tech Trifecta Leads Police to Parolee Who Fired Gun
A gunshot detection system, surveillance cameras and GPS all combined to help police in Hartford, Conn., capture a parolee who fired shots and then ran away without injuring anyone. The gunshot detection system reported the shots, officers located surveillance video that helped them identify the suspect and a parole officer tracked the suspect using his GPS monitoring device.
Memphis Authorities Fight to Clamp Down on Smuggled Cellphones Behind Bars
District attorneys in Tennessee are asking state legislators to change the law to make possession of cellphones by inmates a crime. Under current law, a person caught trying to bring a phone into a prison can be charged with introduction of contraband into a penal facility, but if authorities catch an inmate with the phone in prison it is not a crime. Prosecutors want legislators to close the loophole in the law. In Tennessee, inmates lose visitation privileges and are fined if they are caught with cellphones. But they are not criminally charged.
Hancock County Jail Sees Less Contraband With Body Scanner
The body scanner at the Hancock County Jail in Indiana has detected about 60 contraband items so far this year, including drugs, a cellphone, tobacco and lighters, according to jail staff. The county started scanning inmates in January 2017. In 2015, 17 people made it through book-in with drugs later found in the jail. So far this year, fewer than six people snuck in contraband.
Ankle Monitors, GPS Devices Help Drug Courts Save Taxpayer Money
The Third Judicial Drug Court in New Mexico has invested $25,000 in monitoring equipment to better track the clients in the program. The new equipment includes SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) ankle monitors and GPS monitoring equipment, according to a press release. The ankle monitors are already used in many parts of New Mexico. Drug court participants that use the ankle bracelet have a 98.4 percent compliance rate, according to the Third Judicial District Court. Defendants can either sign up to use the monitoring device that tracks their alcohol intake and location, or go to jail.
At Philly Reentry ‘Hackathon,’ Using Tech to Drive Down Recidivism
An eight-hour “hackathon” resulted in a bilingual website called “Mission: Reentry” that will offer formerly incarcerated persons essential services and resources. These services and resources can help individuals regain a place in society by providing leads on jobs and places to live. A flip-phone option to text for help is available to those who have limited or no Internet access. About 35 people, including coders and formerly incarcerated persons, worked together during the hackathon to brainstorm key re-entry points and potential solutions. Working in four teams, they created the website, apps and low-tech solutions to assist with the re-entry process.
Cell Game: Novel Software Helping Inmates Find a Home
A team from Lehigh University has won the Wagner Prize, the top international prize in the field of operations research practice, for developing software that assists the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in placing inmates in the most suitable correctional facility. The software can assign hundreds of inmates simultaneously, taking into account demographics, criminal history, mental illness, and educational and vocational interests. It also identifies gang members and potentially violent inmates and separates them.
First Class of Prison Entrepreneurs at Donovan Graduates
Some 22 inmates from California’s Donovan State Prison recently completed Defy Ventures, a program to develop entrepreneurship. The 100-hour, five-month course includes videotape lectures from Stanford and Harvard professors and a work book. About 70 percent of the coursework focuses on life skills, including modifying behavior, improving self-image, writing a resume and preparing for job interviews. The remainder of the course helps inmates develop a business plan. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/technology/sd-fi-senturia-1023-story.html
Professors Win Grant for Next-Gen Electronic Monitoring
Three members of the faculty at UMass Lowell have teamed up to develop “next generation” electronic monitoring using smartphones, sensor technology and GPS tracking to not only record individuals’ whereabouts, but also to reward constructive behaviors. BEACON (Behavioral Economics Application with Correctional Opportunities Notification) recently received a $99,000 National Science Foundation planning grant, part of a national push for criminal justice reform based on research evidence.
Southern Prisons Have a Cellphone Smuggling Problem
NBC News research shows that nine of the 10 states with the highest ratio of confiscated cellphones to prisoners are located in the southern part of the United States, where rates climb as high as one cellphone confiscated for every three inmates in No. 1 South Carolina. Only California among the top 10 lies outside the South. Some experts believe there is a connection between these high rates and low pay for corrections officers.
Electronic Monitoring Device Helps Authorities Capture Missing Furlough Inmate
Thanks to his electronic monitoring device, a work furlough inmate who failed to return to the corrections center on Oahu was arrested in Waikiki. Approximately 60 work release inmates wear the monitoring devices, with plans calling for expanding the program to 100 individuals.
Drone Breach at Michigan Prison Went Undetected for 2 Months
A report from the Michigan State Police says two cellphones confiscated at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in July apparently were dropped via drone on May 29. Prison officials confiscated one package from the drone drop, but an examination of video surveillance footage showed that two packages succeeded in reaching inmates.
Prison Reassignment Optimization Model Saves PA Estimated $2.9 Million
An optimization model is helping Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections streamline the assignment of inmates to the state’s 25 correctional institutions. The model developed by engineers at Lehigh’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science can make hundreds of inmate assignments in a few minutes. Corrections officials say the Inmate Assignment Decision Support System has “transformed” the inmate assignment process and in the long run could shorten prison stays and reduce recidivism by giving inmates more timely access to the treatment programs they need to earn parole.
New Drug Test Can Detect Cocaine in a Fingerprint in Seconds
A team of researchers in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands has developed a simple paper-based test that can detect in seconds whether a person has recently been using cocaine. The technique involves “paper spray mass spectrometry,” which allows researchers to determine the identity of a substance by measuring the mass of its molecules. The method can potentially be applied to a variety of substances.
Why Many Deaf Prisoners Can’t Phone Home
This article discusses issues surrounding technology used by deaf prison inmates to communicate with family.
Jail Staff Trained to Use Narcan to Prevent Opioid Overdoses
The staffs at jails and work release facilities in Northampton and Lehigh counties in Pennsylvania are now trained to use naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses. Despite efforts to keep contraband out, authorities acknowledge that drugs still make it into jails. This summer, both county jails announced a program to offer inmates Vivitrol, a drug used to block cravings for opioids and alcohol. The program also offers inmates educational therapy, including advice on coping skills and strategies to stay clean.
Jail Training Aims to Improve Addiction Treatment
North Dakota jail administrators and medical and mental health staff met in September to discuss issues surrounding inmate addiction treatment. The Heartview Foundation and Community Medical Services contracted with the North Dakota Department of Human Services for correctional training and technical assistance, working with jails to help develop policies.
Lancaster’s Life-Training Boot Camp Keeps People From Returning to Prison
A Pennsylvania intensive care-management program to help incarcerated individuals succeed after release is having impressive results. The Lancaster model has a recidivism rate of just 15 percent among former inmates who participate in the program in Lancaster. Program participants are provided with transitional housing and job workshops on personal finances, resumes, and learning how to talk about the offense that landed them behind bars. Each person is assigned a case manager, who monitors weekly goals. Probation and parole officials in Lancaster are partners in the program.
How Tablets Are Helping Us Clean Up Our Prison
Those on both sides of the debate as to whether prisons should take an approach that favor punishment or one that favors rehabilitation appear to agree that allowing prisoners restricted access to tablet computers can be a useful tool. In this opinion piece, the corrections captain from the Pima County (Ariz.) Sheriff’s Department lays out the reasons why use of tablets can be beneficial.
Police, State Authorities Use GPS to Track Down Suspect Who Fled Into Cornfield
The Pleasant Prairie (Wis.) Police Department used GPS monitoring technology to track down a man suspected of assault who hid in a cornfield. Marteese L. Gaither had been sentenced to wear a GPS monitoring device, and authorities set up a perimeter around the field and pinged his tracking device to determine his location.
At County Jail, Opiate Epidemic Forces a New Way of Thinking
A new body scanner that searches individuals for drugs and new treatment programs are two steps taken in the Richland County (Wis.) Jail to help combat the growing opioid epidemic. Grants paid for the implementation of the scanner in the wake of a July 2016 death from an overdose. Although such overdose incidents have been rare, the jail does see numerous individuals suffering from withdrawal, who can be referred for needed treatment.
State Officials Show Off New Contraband Detectors for Prisons
Maryland corrections officials have announced $1.8 million worth of advanced metal detectors that can locate the smallest pieces of . The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has purchased 161 Cellsense metal detectors. Officials said they are being used in all 24 facilities across the state to curb smuggling of drugs, weapons and other items. The state purchased them after federal authorities announced the largest federal indictment in Maryland history last year at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover. Dozens of corrections officers and inmates were charged in an alleged conspiracy to smuggle heroin, cocaine, cellphones, pornography and other contraband into the facility.
Michigan Residents Can Now Receive Voice Message Alerts From Department of Corrections
Michigan residents can now receive public safety alerts from the Michigan Department of Corrections’ Nixle service on their landline telephones in addition to their cell phones and email. Nixle is a community notification system that provides real-time information through text message, email, voice messages, social media and a mobile app. Residents can select whether they want voice message alerts sent to their cell phone, landline or both. Since 2015, more than 7,000 people have signed up to receive alerts.
South Carolina Prisons Attempting Trial Run for New Opioid Treatment Drug
Under a new pilot program, the South Carolina Department of Corrections will administer the treatment drug Vivitrol to inmates with opioid addiction problems. Officials hope the treatment program will help incarcerated people avoid drugs once they are released. The trial run of Vivitrol will begin with 10 prisoners. Corrections staff and drug treatment specialists will manage the medication and counseling, either in person or through telemedicine conferences.
Michigan Doubles Capacity to Prep Inmates for In-Demand Jobs
The Michigan Department of Corrections has established a “vocational village” at the minimum-security Parnall Correctional Facility near Jackson. The facility helps train inmates in skills such as masonry, robotics, truck driving and fork lift operation. It’s the second school to be launched by the department, more than doubling capacity from about 200 inmates to roughly 550. Soon-to-be released prisoners who qualify are assigned to the exclusive village for housing and job training that simulates a regular work day.
Incoming: Drone Drug Drop in Prison Third in a Year
Packages containing marijuana, a cell phone and a razor blade fell from a drone onto the grounds of the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, Mich., in the predawn hours of August 17. Area law enforcement officers have arrested three men from the Detroit area on charges of smuggling contraband into a correctional facility. The men face sentences of up to five years on the felony charges. Prison authorities are trying to identify the intended recipients.
New Technology at Mahoning Co. Jail Prevents Inmates From Hiding Drugs
The Mahoning County Jail in Youngstown, Ohio, recently implemented use of a body scanner in an effort to cut down on the amount of contraband smuggled into the facility. Although all incoming inmates are hand-searched, individuals have become more creative over the years, and this scanner will help officials find items that have been swallowed or are being held in body cavities.
Bristol Prisoners to Get In-cell Phones and Computers
Prison cells in Bristol, England, will be equipped with telephones and computers in the cells, meaning that inmates will no longer need to line up to use communal phones. The computers can be used to order food from the canteen or to sign up for classes, but will have no Internet access. The move is an attempt to cut down on incidents of use of contraband cell phones.
UChicago Health Lab and Community Partners Open Center for Individuals Exiting Jail
A Supportive Release Center in Chicago provides short-term, critical services to individuals with mental health issues who are exiting jail. The center, opened by the University of Chicago Health Lab in partnership with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities and Heartland Health Outreach, is located adjacent to the Cook County Jail and provides assistance for those who suffer from mental illness and are discharged from the system without clean clothes or a place to go. The center also connects individuals with social services and other resources. The center began serving released individuals on June 5 and so far has served about 70 people.
Jails Trying to Stay as Creative as Inmates in Stopping Drug Trafficking
Indiana jail officials are taking steps to keep illegal drugs out of correctional facilities. Birthday cards mailed to Porter County Jail inmates are copied, and the copies are then passed on to the inmates. Also, inmates no longer are allowed to receive books from the outside. Officials at the jail stepped up their inspections of mail after a discovery that drugs were being smuggled in using greetings cards, stamps, envelopes and books.
Tablet Technology Beneficial for Pima County Jail Inmates, Officials Say
Tablets designed to help manage inmate behavior at the Pima County jail allow inmates to take classes and obtain education certificates. About 1,700 inmates currently use tablets. Capt. Sean Stewart with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said inmates’ activity on the tablets is monitored around the clock through a server system and they do not have access to the internet.
Drones Are Flying Contraband Into NC Prisons. Now Their Pilots Can Wind Up There Too.
A new North Carolina law bans private individuals from flying drones within 250 above or 500 feet around correctional facilities. Using a drone to fly contraband into a facility is a felony; other instances are misdemeanors. There are two known instances of drones crashing inside perimeter fences in the state.
S. Carolina's Sanford Urges FCC to Combat Prison Cellphones
South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford recently wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to allow states to use jamming technology to combat the use of contraband cell phones in prisons. The congressman, a former S.C. governor, has been outspoken about the dangers of contraband cell phones for a number of years.
Prisons Director Says They've Stepped Up Contraband Control
Stepped-up searches by both drug dogs and human staff members and increased use of metal detectors, X-ray machines, video surveillance and drug testing are among the measures that Nebraska has taken in the wake of a recent inmate death due to an overdose of methamphetamine and Ecstasy. An estimated 80 percent of inmates struggle with substance abuse issues.
Local Jail Ending In-Person Visits; Switching to Video Chats
WPRI, (07/20/2017), Alexandra Venancio and Tim White
The Bristol County House of Corrections in North Dartmouth, Mass., will soon replace in-person visits between inmates and their family members and friends with video calls. Officials said the switch is to prevent drugs and contraband from coming into the facility. Visitors will use a converted trailer on the grounds of the facility containing video units to connect with inmates.
Jails Had Different Experiences With Inmate Tablets
The Times Herald, (07/13/2017), Bob Gross
Two Michigan jails have had varying success with providing tablets to inmates. A pilot program at the Sanilac County Jail was suspended after about four months because jail officials were not able to control use of the tablets beyond taking them away, rather than being able to deny access remotely. A one-year-old program that provides inmates at the St. Clair County jail with tablets requires inmates to sign in with a PIN specific to them. Sergeants can go into the administrative system and deny access. Each housing unit has eight tablets, rather than the tablets being assigned to individual inmates. Both jurisdictions say the tablets keep inmates occupied and can provide a means to contact family and connect with educational opportunities.
Threat From the Sky: 35 Drones Already Spotted at GA Prisons This Year
Prison staff have spotted 35 drones near Georgia State Prisons so far this year, compared to three spotted from 2013 through 2016. Officers have recovered several drones along with the contraband attached, usually with some fishing line that can be released by remote control. Typically, the packages include cell phones, chargers and tobacco. The Department of Corrections plans to test an early detection system for incoming drones.
COMET Uses GPS, Polygraphs to Keep Tabs on Sexual Offenders
In the state of Maryland, Division of Parole and Probation agents use GPS tracking devices to supervise nearly 3,000 sex offenders under the Collaborative Offender Management Enforcement Treatment (COMET) program. Individuals enrolled in the program have committed offenses such as rape, attempted rape and other sex offenses. Various factors such as age, type of offense and prior record are considered when determining the level of supervision for each offender.
Alcorn County Prison on Lockdown After Largest Contraband Bust This Year
The Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility in Jackson, Miss., recently went on immediate lockdown when a search turned up more than 100 contraband cellphones in addition to bags of loose tobacco and inmate-made weapons. Officers found contraband hidden in ceilings, in the back of television sets, inside garbage cans and in one employee’s desk. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2017/jul/13/alcorn-county-prison-lockdown-after-largest-contra/
Lawmakers Question Effectiveness of GPS Ankle Monitors Following Murder of OSU Student
Two Ohio state legislators have begun inquiring into whether offender tracking devices gives Ohio residents a false sense of security. Brian Golsby is accused of killing Reagan Tokes, an Ohio State University student, while wearing a GPS monitoring device. Golsby’s device had no exclusion or inclusion zones, and he is accused of committing a number of robberies and assaults while wearing the device.
Correctional Officer Intercepts Fentanyl Mailed to Edmonton Prison Inmate
The Correctional Service of Canada says an officer intercepted a package of fentanyl that was mailed to an inmate at the Edmonton Institution, a federal maximum security prison in Alberta. The drug was found on paper that was in a package. Police are investigating to determine who mailed the drugs.
More Eyes Being Fixed on Volusia-Flagler Juveniles on Probation
Volusia County sheriff’s deputies have joined Daytona Beach police officers in keeping track of juvenile offenders. Daytona Beach police use smartphones to track offenders, while the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office just took over the monitoring of offenders wearing Department of Juvenile Justice-issued ankle monitors in West Volusia and in Flagler County. This year, Daytona Beach police went from a one-piece ankle device to one that works in tandem with a smartphone carried by the person on probation. A Bluetooth system wrapped around the ankle is paired with the smartphone. Unlike the Daytona Beach police, the sheriff’s office will not equip juveniles with ankle monitors, but will only monitor Department of Juvenile Justice-placed devices.
Inmate Tablets Have Now Been Delivered to All South Dakota Prisons
Inmates in South Dakota adult correctional facilities now have closed-network tablets. Tablets were distributed to inmates who want them. Inmate-paid subscriptions provide access to ebooks, games and streaming music.
Inmates Fly Mobile Phones, Drugs and Porn Into Jail — Via Drone
An investigation by USA Today staff into U.S. Department of Justice documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show more than a dozen attempts to smuggle items such as cell phones, drugs and pornography into federal prisons over a five-year span. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/06/15/inmates-increasingly-look-drones-smuggle-contraband-into-their-cells/102864854/
Tennessee Prisons Will Serve as a Guinea Pig for On-Site Cell Phone Forensics
Tennessee will soon begin on-site analysis of contraband cell phones confiscated in the state’s correctional facilities. Special computers required for the analysis will be installed in all facilities; the hardware will be paid for by a federal grant.
Data From Electronic Monitoring Helps Greensboro Police Connect Man to Attempted Robbery
Forensic evidence and data points collected from an electronic monitoring device have connected a Greensboro, N.C., resident with an attempted commercial robbery. Adam Parker was wearing the device while on release pending trial on charges of possession of firearm by a felon and felony carrying a concealed weapon.
Law Enforcement Agencies Join Forces to Combat Contraband in Tennessee Prisons
More thorough searches of inmates and of vehicles and people entering prison property are among the measures the Tennessee Department of Correction plans to take to reduce the amount of contraband in the state’s prisons. Helping in the effort are the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Safety, the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The partnership’s first initiative involved a search of more than 300 vehicles and resulted in the recovery of cellphones and drug paraphernalia. The task force of nine agencies includes the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Metro Nashville Police.
Appeals Court Tosses FCC Cap on Cost of Calls to Prisons
A federal appeals court has struck down regulations intended to cap the price of some calls to prison inmates. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Communications Commission lacked authority to set rates for calls between inmates and people in the same state. Companies that provide prison phone service sued to stop the 2015 FCC rules. The in-state rate caps, intended to stop high charges between inmates and people in the same state, were suspended by earlier court decisions and never went into effect.
34 Indicted in Meth Trafficking Operation Run From State Prisons
Thirty-four people in South Carolina, including state prison inmates, have been indicted as part of an investigation into a methamphetamine trafficking organization that largely operated out of state prisons. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office announced that between January and May, a state grand jury investigation returned 19 indictments alleging multiple but connected conspiracies each related to trafficking 400 grams or more of methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine and heroin, firearms charges and other crimes. The inmates ran the meth trafficking organization using contraband cell phones and smart phones to direct drug deliveries, sales, payments and other trafficking-related activities of co-conspirators on the outside, the release said.
Painesville Judge Requiring Drunk Driving Defendants to Download Uber, Lyft on Smartphones
An Ohio judge has begun requiring offenders guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) to download the Uber and Lyft apps to their smartphones and enter a credit card number as a condition of probation and to inspire them not to drink and drive. Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti said, “It’s just common sense. Now that we have the technology and most people have the ability to do that, why not make it part of their sentence?” In 2016, there were 604 citations for OVI issued for defendants who appeared in Painesville Municipal Court.
New York Spreads Crime Analysis Tech Across the State
The state of New York is opening up crime analysis centers across the state for local police. The centers provide local law enforcement with increased data sharing capabilities along with access to social media mining software and geospatial data systems to help map crime hot spots. In addition to connection with each other, centers have access to information from the State Police, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the federal probation system.
Polygraph Therapy Faces Scrutiny in Child Porn Cases
This article examines issues surrounding the use of therapeutic polygraphs for sex offenders. The article discusses what occurred during a hearing in New York after an assistant U.S. attorney asked that a sex offender take a polygraph as a condition of his supervised release.
Imprisoned by Technology
This audio recorded at Swinburne University in May discusses use of technology such as surveillance, home detention and electronic bracelets as alternatives to incarceration, and whether technology can do everything expected in prisons: punish offenders, keep the community safe and reduce re-offending. The guest is Mirko Bagaric, professor of law and director of the Evidence-based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project at Swinburne University.
County to Arm Correctional Officers With Pepper Spray
Guards at the Luzerne County (Penn.) Correctional Facility will begin carrying pepper spray with them on a routine basis. Prompted by the death of corrections Officer Kristopher Moules in July 2016, the new policy represents a change from the facility’s previously only making the spray available on every floor of the facility.
KSTP Investigation Leads State to Ban GPS Tracking of DUI Offenders
Investigative reports by KSTP have led to a new Minnesota law that will halt GPS tracking of Minnesota residents who must pass an ignition interlock system’s breathalyzer test to start their vehicles. The reporting indicated that the Minnesota Department of Public Safety required the DUI offenders to install the new systems without informing them that the devices had GPS capabilities that would allow the state to track their driving patterns.
Drone, Drugs, 10-inmate Fight Lock Down Auburn Correctional Facility
A fight broke out in the exercise yard at New York’s Auburn Correctional Facility on May 23, spreading to involve 10 men before corrections officers broke up the fight with pepper spray and a gas canister. Following the fight, officers confiscated two inmate-made slashing weapons. The previous day, a contraband search had turned up a knife and a drone inside the facility, which remained on lockdown.
Cell Phone Smuggling in Richmond County Jails Have Decreased
In Georgia’s Richmond County, Jail Warden Evan Joseph says that mixing up contraband searches on a random basis to include weekends, as well as the addition of 32 more surveillance cameras, may be behind a recent decrease in the number of contraband cell phones found by corrections staff. Inmates often use the phones to arrange for the smuggling of additional contraband and to continue their criminal activities while behind bars.
Three Arizona State Prisons Plan to Add Employment Centers to Help Soon-to-be Released Inmates Find Jobs
Inside three state prisons, the Arizona Department of Economic Security has partnered with the Arizona Department of Corrections to launch an employment program staffed by employment specialists from ARIZONA@WORK to help inmates find employers who are willing to hire them despite their backgrounds. A pilot program in the Mesa and Tucson parole offices led to the centers in the
Tucson, Lewis and Perryville correctional facilities.
Hundreds of Missouri Sex Offenders Now Required to Wear GPS Monitoring Devices for Life
A revision to the Missouri state criminal code that took effect on Jan. 1, 2017, requires individuals who were convicted of 13 specified sex crimes based on actions that took place on or after Aug. 28, 2006, to wear GPS monitoring devices for life – even after they have completed serving their sentences. Several individuals are suing the state for imposing the retroactive sanctions. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/hundreds-of-missouri-sex-offenders-now-required-to-wear-gps/article_2f21d6bb-1dc2-5395-9513-016fc05ae333.html
Washington Prisoners Get Chance to Pursue 2-Year Degrees
A new Washington State law will open doors for programs that offer state-funded associate's degree and certificate instruction to qualified individuals among the 18,000 inmates in state correctional facilities. Previously, inmates only had access to one-year vocational certificates and privately funded academic degree programs. Research shows that inmates who receive such education are 43 percent less likely to recidivate and 13 percent more likely to become employed.
California Shifts From Scanners to Dogs to Catch Smugglers
As a three-year, $15.3 million program that used a variety of techniques to try to stop contraband from entering California correctional facilities comes to an end, the state has decided not to continue many of the technical aspects of the program. Rather, funds will go toward ensuring that each prison has a minimum of two dogs that will sniff out contraband, including cellphones and drugs. Facilities will also continue to use a less intensive technological approach.
New Technology Being Used to ID Offenders
The Milwaukee County Jail recently began using iris scans to identify individuals booked into the facility. The Inmate Recognition and Identification System compares the scans to those of more than 1 million individuals whose scans are recorded in databases across the country.
Guernsey Prison Testing Pioneering Anti-drone Tech
Skyfence, a new technology that detects and deflects incoming drones, will be used in a pilot project in Les Nicolles Prison in Guernsey. The use of drones to bring contraband into correctional facilities is an increasing problem in the United Kingdom.
TCSO Detention Officers Utilizing New Stab Resistant Body Armor
Officers in Georgia’s Tift County Jail now have stab-resistant body armor to wear for protection during their shifts. Tift County Sheriff Gene Scarbrough said that more than 100 homemade weapons have been confiscated from inmates in the past five years, during which six corrections officers have been attacked.
2 Accused of Trying to Fly Drones at SC Prison
In South Carolina, two men have been arrested for attempting to smuggle contraband materials into the medium-security Kershaw Correctional Institution. The suspects were carrying knives, marijuana and cell phones when they were arrested after a police chase.
Delaware County Sheriff’s Department Looks to Buy Full Body Scanner to Combat Drug Problem Inside Jail
So far in 2017, the Delaware County Jail in Indiana has had 18 drug-related incidents, including several overdoses. In order to combat the problem, the sheriff’s department has asked the county commissioners to purchase a $200,000 full body scanner, similar to the ones used in airports.
State Correctional Facilities Cracking Down on Employees Two Years After Dannemora Escape
Employees of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS) must now bring their lunches and other personal belongings in clear plastic bags, aimed at reducing the amount of contraband smuggled into the state’s correctional system. The change is a response to the 2015 escape of two convicts from the Dannemora facility; the escapees used tools smuggled to them by a corrections employee. http://www.localsyr.com/news/local-news/state-correctional-facilities-cracking-down-on-employees-two-years-after-dannemora-escape/694549757
Ohio Prisons Are In The Midst of a Suboxone-Smuggling Crisis
Random drug tests conducted in Ohio prisons in December 2016 indicate that 1 out of every 20 inmates had used Suboxone, the addiction treatment drug that has become a highly sought-after form of contraband. Suboxone comes in small strips, similar in appearance to breath strips, and is easily converted to forms that can be smuggled into correctional facilities. A black-market strip may sell for as much as $100.
W.Va. Begins Crisis Intervention Training for Prisons and Jails
West Virginia crisis intervention teams will be trained on safely defusing and de-escalating incidents involving inmates with mental illness. The state Division of Corrections received a grant from the National Institute of Corrections last year, through which an initial class of correctional officers will receive 40 hours of intensive training adapted from the Memphis Model for crisis intervention. http://www.register-herald.com/news/w-va-begins-crisis-intervention-training-for-prisons-and-jails/article_a90ec60d-68bc-522a-a2ca-753acadbf81f.html
Addiction Drug Suboxone is Popular Prison Contraband
Prison inmates in Ohio are abusing Suboxone, a prescription drug usually used to treat people with opioid addiction. Prison officials say a strip of Suboxone the size of a postage stamp, which melts on the tongue, sells for about $100 or more in a prison black market.
Jail Study Points to Alternative Methods for Housing Pretrial Inmates
A report proposes alternatives to housing pretrial inmates in the Boone County jail in Missouri, rather than increasing the size of the jail or building a new one to alleviate crowding. http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/jail-study-points-to-alternative-methods-for-housing-pretrial-inmates/article_965814ba-1fb7-11e7-8f42-ffcc4260fd30.html
Tablets Let Inmates Go Online at Polk County Jail
Inmates in the Polk County (Iowa) Jail can explore the Internet, watch movies and contact their loved ones as part of a pilot project providing access to tablet computers. Provided by Telmate, use of the tablets costs inmates three to five cents a minute, which is deducted from their commissary accounts. The program began operation March 9.
For Jail-hardened Inmates, Dogs Are Bringing Out a Softer Side
Home for Hounds, a new program at the Dallas County Jail, pairs inmates with shelter dogs in a program aimed at teaching both men and dogs “new tricks.” Inmates adhere to a strict training schedule, getting up at 5 a.m. to feed the dogs and teach them basic obedience. The animals were scheduled to be euthanized, but the hope is that with their newly acquired skills, they will become strong candidates for adoption. The program is funded by commissary funds.
Manatee Jail's 'Recovery Pods' a Success in Year One, With Room for Improvement
In the past year, more than 500 men and women have participated in a “Recovery Pod” program in Florida’s Manatee Jail, receiving around-the-clock counseling for more than 90 days. Run by volunteers and encompassing 30 beds each for men and women, the program’s goal is to change the way that inmates think about their addiction and to promote focus on recovery.
FCC Votes to Let Prisons More Easily Shut Down Contraband Cellphones
The Federal Communications Commission has voted 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. http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/23/15034718/fcc-cellphone-contraband-wireless-vote
Watchtowers in Prisons: A Thing of the Past?
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.
W.Va. Inmates Will Receive Photocopies of Mail to Prevent Drug Smuggling
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. http://www.thenewscenter.tv/content/news/WVa-inmates-will-receive-photocopies-of-mail-to-prevent-drug-smuggling-417032363.html
How Community Paramedics Improve Care, Reduce Costs in Correctional Facilities
In Scott County, Minn., a new program uses the skills of community paramedics to improve and expand health care provided to persons incarcerated in the local jail while also cutting health care costs. A community paramedic receives supplementary training in providing an expanded scope of care, such as extended assessments and exams, under the supervision of a licensed physician. https://www.correctionsone.com/correctional-healthcare/articles/301228187-How-community-paramedics-improve-care-reduce-costs-in-correctional-facilities/
Judge Allows Vocational Nurses to Administer Naloxone in Prisons
A federal judge has granted a waiver requested by California Correctional Health Care Services that will allow licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) to administer naloxone in prison settings without first obtaining permission from a doctor. Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose within minutes. Drug overdoses are among the leading causes of death in the state prison system.
2 Mississippi Prisons Searched in Contraband Shakedown
Inmates at two Mississippi correctional facilities face disciplinary action after a predawn search operation on March 16 resulted in the confiscation of homemade alcohol, cell phones, cigarettes and suspected illegal drugs. Searches took place at the Yazoo County Correctional Facility in Yazoo City and the Holmes-Humphreys County Regional Correctional Facility in Lexington.
Plan to Build Prisons Advances in Alabama Legislature
An Alabama state Senate panel has approved a plan to borrow up to $775 million to build three state prisons and renovate existing ones. The bill would allocate $125 million for renovations. Under the plan, most of the existing men’s prisons would close and be consolidated into three larger, regional prisons at sites to be determined. http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2017/03/plan_to_build_prisons_advances.html
State Grant Would Help Santa Barbara County Keep Mentally Ill Out of Jail
Santa Barbara County has applied for a $3.4 million grant from the California Board of State and Community Corrections for a program to promote alternatives to incarceration for the mentally ill. The county is competing with more than 50 other counties in the state for a portion of the $103 million in Proposition 47 funding, which would pay to start a pilot post-arrest diversion and support program in Santa Barbara. http://lompocrecord.com/news/local/state-grant-would-help-santa-barbara-county-keep-mentally-ill/article_e2133460-b2d9-59a8-a1ee-647d8a49a676.html
Connecticut Prison in Cheshire Launches Program to Help Young Males
A pilot program in the Cheshire Correctional Institution in Connecticut targets young men in an effort to keep them from becoming repeat offenders. Modeled on a program in Germany, the state Department of Correction’s pilot program is for 70 male inmates between the ages of 18 and 25. http://www.middletownpress.com/article/MI/20170314/NEWS/170319862
Video Visitation Could be Key Point in Relocation of Nevada Inmates
The Nevada Department of Corrections plans to provide video visitation services to inmates being sent out of the state to serve their sentences. The state will soon seek bids to provide housing services to some 200 inmates and Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda wants provision of that service to be included in the request for proposals.
North Carolina Bill Would Make Drone Flight Near Prisons Illegal
The North Carolina House Transportation Committee has approved legislation that would prohibit flying an unmanned aircraft system within 500 feet of a correctional facility located in the state (or up to 250 feet above the location). Attempting to use a UAS to deliver contraband would be a low-grade felony.
State Prison System Launches New Offender Look-up Website
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has implemented an improved offender look-up website featuring more advanced search capabilities. The general public can search the DOC’s database by race, age, conviction and sentence, among other identifiers. The system lists inmates as “active” or “inactive,” but does not give a release date; the state is still working on revising other parts of its tracking system.
Larimer County Jail Adds $200K Airport-Like Body Scanner
The Larimer County Jail in Colorado has a new full-body X-ray scanner. The $200,000 device scans inmates and can reveal contraband such as concealed weapons or drugs. During its first month of use, the scanner led to detection of a lighter, drugs and a radio.
This Drone Crashed Inside a Prison. Under New Bill, Pilot Could Wind Up There, Too.
Legislation introduced in North Carolina would make it a crime to fly a drone over prisons and jails in the state. The bill would prohibit anyone but law enforcement officials from flying drones within 250 feet above or 500 feet around prisons and jails. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article134734954.html
California Corrections CIO Says Everyone Inside Prison Walls Should Get a Tablet
Projects are underway in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to expand controlled digital connectivity in the prison system, give staff and inmates digital devices and replace outdated systems with interoperable tools that can provide new data for analysis.
UMMS Partnering With New England States to Improve Addiction Treatment in Prisons
The University of Massachusetts Medical School is partnering with some corrections departments to improve treatment of substance use disorder among inmates. The collaboration between the medical school and departments of corrections in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and the sheriffs in Middlesex and Barnstable counties in Massachusetts, will address substance use by assessing current screening and treatment practices for opioid addiction, making recommendations for improvements, and implementing proven practices to create a model.
SC Prisons Agency Seeks to Reduce Contraband With Netting
The South Carolina State Fiscal Accountability Authority has approved $113,400 in funding for the design phase of a project designed to reduce the amount of contraband reaching the state’s correctional facilities. The state corrections agency wants to install 50-foot-high poles, mesh designed to withstand up to 160 pounds of force and rope borders with a breaking strength of 5,500 pounds, rising nearly 40 feet higher than existing fencing.
New Twist on File-in-Cake Scheme: Drones Flying Over Prison Walls
As drones become less expensive, they more often become the avenue of choice for individuals intent on smuggling contraband into correctional facilities. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article131423329.html
DOC Requests Nearly $1 Billion for Two New Prisons
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is asking state lawmakers to approve nearly $850 million to build two new prisons.
Lawrence County Jail to Partner With Centerstone to Help Inmates
The Lawrence County Jail in Indiana will participate in a state pilot project to connect offenders with services needed to be successful following release. The Recovery Works Jail ReEntry Program will feature skills development and treatment access. http://www.wbiw.com/local/archive/2017/01/lawrence-county-jail-to-partner-with-centerstone-to-help-inmates.php
Jail Renovation to Eliminate Face-to-Face Visitation
Due to a $250,000 renovation to improve security, inmates in the Spartanburg County jail in South Carolina will communicate with visitors via video monitors. http://www.goupstate.com/news/20170117/jail-renovation-to-eliminate-face-to-face-visitation
CDCR Awards $14.5 Million to Expand Rehabilitative Programs
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the recipients of $14.5 million in grants to boost innovative programs and increase volunteerism in prisons. During this grant cycle, the Innovative Grant Program, which began in 2015, will establish 43 programs at 20 adult institutions. Read more here.
New Screening Tool, Vigilance Lead to Drop in Texas Jail Suicides
Inmate suicides in Texas county jails have sharply declined since the jails began using a new intake form to determine if inmates are suicide risks, along with better follow-up and services. http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article118826053.html
Lower Inmate Population Results in Unit Closures
Connecticut recently closed four units at the Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers due to a drop in crime in the state and fewer inmates. The units once held 400 prisoners. The state is experiencing a drop in crime and a 40 percent decline in the recidivism rate. http://www.thehour.com/local/article/Lower-inmate-population-results-in-unit-closures-10780952.php
Prisons Set to Receive $1.3 Million to Fight Illegal Cell Phone Use
South Carolina plans to operate a $1.3 million system to detect and target illegal cell phone use by inmates in restrictive housing units in four state prisons. It is seen as the best option available to combat illegal phone use, since federal law prohibits cell phone jamming. In 2015, the Department of Corrections reported 1,610 incidents involving cell phones, or their accessories, by inmates.
CDCR Launches Email Notification System for Victims of Violent Crimes
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has launched an email notification service to inform violent crime victims when their offenders are being released from custody. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2016/12/01/cdcr-launches-email-notification-system-for-victims-of-violent-crimes/
Sheriff’s Office Rolls Out Inmate Search Database
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office website has a new search feature to ease access to information about inmates in county detention centers.
Behind the Bars: Phones in SC Prisons Putting Public at Risk
South Carolina Department of Corrections officials say contraband, especially cell phones, is an ongoing problem in every facility in the state in spite of a number of proactive countermeasures. http://wach.com/news/local/behind-the-bars-phones-in-sc-prisons-putting-public-at-risk
Cook County Jail Population Drops With More Electronic Monitoring
The population at the Cook County Jail has dropped below 8,000 for the first time in years due to more detainees being sent home on electronic monitoring, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. The number of detainees at the jail recently fell to 7,999. As of November 4, the jail had 2,207 detainees at home on electronic monitoring.
Drone Makers Asked to Hard Code Prisons As No-Fly Zones
Prison officials in the United Kingdom want drone manufacturers to hard code prison locations into their products to stop attempts to use the devices to deliver contraband to inmates. The unmanned aerial vehicles have been detected in fly-and-drop schemes to deliver mobile phones, weapons and drugs to inmates. A recent report on Prison Safety and Reform says together with vendors, the prison system plans to trial “the inclusion of prison coordinates in no-fly zones” in the hard wiring of the devices.
Dog-Training Program for Inmates Expands in Maryland
A Maryland correctional facility is considering expanding its inmate dog-training program. The Happy Hounds program at the Roxbury Correctional Institute near Hagerstown allows inmates to train rescue dogs from shelters to prepare them for adoption. The current program allows for six to 10 dogs for training purposes.
Use of Force Simulator Demonstrated
The Moraine Park Technical College criminal justice-corrections program recently hosted a use of force simulator demonstration for local corrections and law enforcement agencies. The simulator allows students at the Wisconsin college to respond to real-life crisis scenarios in a simulated, virtual environment. http://www.wiscnews.com/bdc/news/local/article_4ab716dc-3f20-5a37-810b-c592e84b7dd0.html
Putting Telemedicine Behind Bars
Correctional facilities are turning to telemedicine as a cost-effective solution for providing high quality care. In May 2016, New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex began using telemedicine to treat its inmates. Since the initiative began, 52 inmate patients have had virtual checkups and information visits with infectious disease, gastroenterology and urology specialists. The visits allow doctors to spend up to 30 minutes with a patient. Although Rikers’ telemedicine program has started small, the facility has a robust inmate intake program that could help NYC Health & Hospitals quickly ramp up telemedicine visits. Read more here.
Corrections Canada Trying to Stop Inmates From Overdosing on Fentanyl
In the last three years, the synthetic opioid fentanyl has been linked “in some way” to 27 overdoses within the Canada’s federal prisons. Because fentanyl is often disguised as another kind of less-potent opioid, such as oxycodone, officials say inmates sometimes don’t know what they're taking. The correctional service is conducting awareness campaigns for inmates and offering programs to reduce their dependence on drugs, while continuing to try to stop drugs from getting inside through the use of ion scanners and drug detector dogs.
Jails Consider Body Scan Devices to Curtail Contraband
Some Kentucky jails already use low-dose radiation full-body scans to search persons entering the facilities for contraband. Others are considering buying the equipment, as the scanners become more advanced, more compact and less expensive. At a cost of $200,000 each, many jail systems consider the purchase price worth it in terms of the contraband that they stop. Read the story here.
DOC Groping for Alternatives After Ditching X-ray Body Scanners
The Maine Department of Corrections has stopped using transmission X-Ray scanners to detect contraband, following a citation from the Bureau of Labor Standards for "serious" safety violations related to operation of a body scanner at Maine Correctional Center. Corrections officers had voiced concerns about having to operate the scanners, which were more irradiating than the controversial backscatter X-ray systems previously used in airports.
Contraband Drugs in W.Va. Jails Are an Epidemic: State and County Officials
State and county officials agree that contraband drugs are a problem in the state’s jails, but express varying opinions on whether, and how, to address the issue.
Suboxone -- the New Jailhouse Drug of Choice
Large amounts of contraband prescription opiate Suboxone are finding their way into correctional facilities in Massachusetts. A prescription drug intended to help fight opiate addiction, the drug is easy to smuggle because large quantities of the strips fit into very small packages. Read more here.
Report: Probation, Parole Sentences Decrease without Risking Public Safety
Individuals convicted of lower-level, usually nonviolent, felonies in Missouri can earn early discharge credits from probation or parole. Offenders can shorten their sentences by 30 days for every calendar month they follow the conditions of their sentences. A Pew Charitable Trusts study suggests that they are not re-offending at a higher rate than individuals who serve their full sentences. Read more here.
Use of Electronic Offender-Tracking Devices Expands Sharply
The number of accused and convicted criminal offenders monitored with electronic tracking devices in the United States increased 140 percent between 2005 and 2015, from approximately 53,000 to more than 125,000, according to a survey. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2016/09/use-of-electronic-offender-tracking-devices-expands-sharply
Incarceration in the U.S. Costs More Than $1 Trillion a Year, Washington University Study
The economic toll of incarceration in the United States tops $1 trillion, and more than half of that falls on the families and communities of the people incarcerated, according to a study by Washington University researchers. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/incarceration-in-the-u-s-costs-more-than-trillion-a/article_070eecea-42c1-5258-a508-062079e9b333.html
Arkansas Prison System to Shut Down Its Boot Camp
The Arkansas Department of Corrections will discontinue its boot camp. The program was created in 1989 to enforce military-style discipline with inmates before their release. But the program has had high recidivism rates and was not filled to capacity.
Prisons Chief Orders Sweeping Accuracy Check of Inmate Sentences
The Washington state Department of Corrections has directed staff to verify sentencing information before anyone is released from prison or community supervision to ensure offenders serve the correct amount of time. Staff are checking whether forms used by the courts are clear on whether sentences are consecutive or concurrent, according to a DOC spokesman. The review follows revelations of sentence-calculation problems. For example, in December it was announced that between 2002 and 2015, some offenders convicted of violent crimes had been mistakenly released early, an error that may have freed as many as 3,100 prisoners overall.
Adult Probation & Parole Making Changes to Enhance Parolee Monitoring, Keep Public Safe
The Utah Department of Corrections is taking steps to keep better track of offenders. The Adult Probation and Parole Division has expanded its partnership with the Utah Division of the U.S. Marshals Service's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team to apprehend more than 50 high-priority fugitives. Other improvements include the implementation of a statewide broadcast system to law enforcement agencies to notify them of high-profile fugitives, and the authorization of enhanced GPS monitoring in all community correctional centers.
Data Analytics Helps Bexar County, Texas, Reduce Inmate Population, Save Millions
In the past seven years, the jail in Bexar County, Texas, has achieved a 25-percent reduction in inmate population and eliminated an overcrowding problem thanks to the use of data analytics. Using Microsoft’s SQL Server Reporting Services, staff can better manage cases and identify inmates who are candidates for drug court, those who are ready for transfer and those who could potentially be released. Reducing the jail’s population also saves the county money.
Data-Sharing Efforts Aim to Improve Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Charles Rotramel of Houston reVision, a non-profit agency that works with at-risk youth, is leading an effort to get agencies at both the local and state government levels and from various nonprofits to share data and enable the development of a better picture of how many youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system are also involved in the child welfare system. Such data can prove vital in developing accurate case management pictures.
Addressing Real-World Stab and Slash Threats
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is examining the current Stab Resistant Body Armor Standard in an effort to revise it to enhance officer safety. Corrections officers are faced with significant danger on the job and this fact sheet addresses threats and how a revised standard can mitigate them.
National Institute of Justice Releases New Offender Tracking Standard
Criminal Justice Offender Tracking System Standard NIJ Standard-1004.00, a new standard released July 13, 2016, includes minimum performance criteria and test methods for systems used by criminal justice agencies to monitor individuals on probation, parole, work release and more. NIJ Standard-1004.00 is the first standard to address these complex electronic systems; it was developed over a six-year period by an NIJ Special Technical Committee composed of practitioners, laboratory representatives and other subject-matter experts.
Find the standard here: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249810.pdf.
SC Hopes Telemedicine Will Improve Inmate Care and Cut Costs
The South Carolina Department of Corrections plans to begin using telemedicine to examine inmates. The agency will partner with the Medical University of South Carolina. Using tools such as videoconferencing, doctors at the Charleston hospital can examine inmates remotely, doing routine exams and diagnosing illnesses. Read more here.
Dane County Health Center Testing Drunken Drivers Using Fingernails, Not Blood
A Wisconsin mental health center is testing repeat drunken drivers using fingernail clippings instead of blood. The Journey Mental Health Center in Dane County switched the testing method from blood to fingernail clippings earlier this year. Drunken drivers convicted three or more times undergo assessments and treatment for a year, during which they are tested periodically to see if they have been drinking. Read more here.
Exclusive Footage: SC Prisoner Live-Streams From Inside Prison
An inmate in a South Carolina Department of Corrections facility used a cell phone to live-stream from inside his prison cell with help from the mobile app Periscope. In the footage streamed on June 26 and 27, there were three to four other prisoners in the cell drinking from an orange cooler and smoking a substance. Viewers were able to comment and ask questions as prisoners responded in real time. Read more here.
Mahoning Jail ODs Prompt Move to Buy County Scanner
The Mahoning County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office has again requested funding to purchase an airport-style full-body scanner for use with all inmates entering or leaving the county jail. Sheriff Jerry Greene and Maj. Alki Santamas, jail administrator, recently requested funding from the county commissioners; it was the second such request in 2016. Two county jail inmates recently overdosed on a drug allegedly smuggled in by a third inmate; both survived. Link to Article
Cell Phones in Prisons Continue to Cause Problems for States
The use of contraband cellphones to carry out scams and arrange for other crimes from inside correctional facilities has led 10 governors, led by Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, to request permission to jam cell phone signals from inside prisons from the Federal Communications Commission. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has stated that in the hands of an inmate, a cell phone is a weapon, indicating he may favor the proposal. Link to Article
BJS reports: Prisoners age 55 or older made up 10% of the state prison population in 2013, up from 3% in 1993
Prisoners age 55 or older sentenced to more than one year in state prison increased from 26,300 in 1993 to 131,500 in 2013. This represented a growth from 3% to 10% of the total state prison population during this period. From 1993 to 2013, the median age of state prisoners increased from 30 to 36 years.
Two main factors contributed to the aging of state prisoners between 1993 and 2013: a greater proportion of older prisoners were serving longer sentences, predominantly for violent offenses, and the number of admissions of older persons increased. Both the admission rate and yearend imprisonment rate for state prisoners age 55 or older increased from 1993 to 2013, which indicates that the aging U.S. resident population was not solely responsible for the growth in older offenders in prison.
Read a Summary of the report here.
Read the Full Report here.
Field Search software provides non-technical criminal justice personnel with a free yet powerful tool to quickly and efficiently search a target computer and create a detailed report of findings.
Fostering Innovation in Community and Institutional Corrections
This report presents the results of the Corrections Advisory Panel, a group convened in fiscal year 2014 as part of the NLECTC Priority Criminal Justice Needs Initiative to identify current challenges and innovation needs in both community and institutional corrections in the United States.
The electronic version of the 160-page report is available for free and in multiple formats for use in desktop, eReaders and mobile devices. Visit the Rand Web site to read key findings and recommendations and download the ebook.
An NCJRS abstract for Fostering Innovation . . . and links to the report in multiple formats are also available online.
Test and Evaluation of Hand-held Cell Phone Detection Devices
This report presents the result of an operational test and evaluation of four hand-held cellphone detectors in a correctional setting. Criminal justice personnel may request a copy by sending an email to email@example.com
Cell Phone Forensics in a Correctional Setting Guidebook
This guidebook provides correctional administrators with a brief, yet comprehensive and informative, view of cell phone forensic technologies. It also addresses the opportunities and challenges involved in selecting technologies and implementing them in correctional settings.
The electronic version is available here on JTIC. Download the Cell Phone Forensics Guidebook (PDF 900 kb, 38 pages).
New Releases in the field of Courts Technology
County Bans Cell Phones, Electronic Devices From Courthouse
Cell phones and other electronic devices will be banned from the Wayne County Courthouse in Richmond, Ind. The Wayne County Commissioners passed the new ordinance on Jan. 10, but no enforcement date has been established. Lockers purchased for people to store their devices while in the courthouse must be installed, and signage is planned to alert the public to the new policy prior to enforcement. The small size and multiple functions of electronic devices makes enforcing long-standing policies against photography and recording court proceedings difficult to enforce. County employees, court employees and elected county officials, judges, attorneys and their staff, law enforcement officers on official business and jurors or prospective jurors would be exempted from the ban, but would still be prohibited from having the devices on inside a courtroom.
Dodge County Emergency Management Conducts Courthouse Shooter Drill
Personnel from 25 different law enforcement and government agencies participated in a simulated active shooter drill at the Dodge County (Wisc.) Courthouse on Martin Luther King Day. A starter gun was fired on each floor of the courthouse to begin the exercise, although participating officers did not carry live weapons. The exercise was based on the “Run, Hide, Fight” principles, although participants were told to stay indoors because of the extreme cold outside.
County Gets Boost in Battling Drug Crime
The Kankakee County State’s Attorneys’ Office in Illinois has been awarded $100,000 in grant funding to help stem drug-related crime. The money from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority will fund a full-time complex narcotics prosecutor and a part-time complex narcotics investigator. The two additions will focus on cartels, drug manufacturing and trafficking, and drug-induced homicides.
FBI’s Dark Web Sting Activity in SC Prison Mail Bomb Plot Kept Secret by Judge
In South Carolina, Federal Magistrate Judge Paige Gossett has agreed with prosecutors that FBI agents need not answer defense questions about how an FBI dark web sting made a prison inmate believe he was ordering a bomb through the mail. The inmate, who is serving a sentence for murdering his ex-wife’s father, is accused of plotting to order a bomb through the mail and having his nephew use it on his ex-wife.
State Grant Will Help Boost Courthouse Security
A state grant will be used to increase security at the Rice County courthouse in Minnesota. The $25,334 grant is part of $1 million in grants through the state’s Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative. The money must be matched by the county, either in cash or in-kind services. The grant will pay to upgrade security cameras and add distress buttons throughout the courthouse, which was built in 1934. The alarms will allow courthouse personnel to press a button to alert sheriff’s deputies of an emergency and that law enforcement’s assistance is required.
2 Tenn. Deputies Wounded, Suspect Dead in Courthouse Shooting
Two deputies have been treated for injuries sustained when an inmate took a gun from one of them at the Coffee County, Tenn., courthouse and used it against both men before escaping to the street. Michael Eugene Bell shot himself in the head two blocks away; he was at the courthouse on charges of facing charges for kidnapping, domestic assault and evading arrest.
Inquirer Editorial: Witnesses' Fear of Seeing Photos on Social Media Has Been Eased
This opinion piece by Philadelphia Inquirer staff applauds a new policy at Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center that requires people to put their cellphones in a pouch that blocks their use. The city has purchased 4,500 pouches at a total cost of $50,000, aimed at blocking attempts to intimidate witnesses by taking their photos during testimony and posting them on social media.
New Mental Health Court Hopes to Rescue Select Inmates
Lake County, Ind., will launch the state’s fourth mental health court. The court will collaborate with local mental health facilities to keep individuals diagnosed with mental illness who commit non-violent crimes out of correctional facilities.
Marion County Prosecutor Partners With NextDoor App
The Marion County (Ind.) Prosecutor’s Office and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department have begun a partnership with the NextDoor app, the first involving a prosecutor’s office. Residents who sign up for the free service will be able to see everything Curry’s office shares and engage with the office about crime watch efforts.
The National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) is hosting the Court Safety and Security Conference, March 7-9, 2017 in Appleton, WI. Learn effective strategies and best practices for responding to security threats in and around the courthouse and network with other criminal justice professionals. Register here.
County Will Upgrade Its Electronic Court System
Courtrooms in Huron County, Mich., are getting an upgraded communications system. The existing system has saved taxpayers and authorities close to $3 million since 2010. The updated Polycom systems will be installed in early 2017. The system is used to conduct arraignments electronically and handle other proceedings, including video testimony.
Shelby Court to Get New Justice Information System
Shelby County, Tenn., plans a major change in November to the computer system that tracks information about criminal cases. As part of a $9.7 million project to integrate criminal justice information systems with new technology, information from cases since 1981 will be reformatted into a new system for people who need minute-by-minute access. The project will bring new websites to the public and software to public defenders and prosecutors, as well as launching a new offender management system for the Shelby County Sheriff's office, Shelby County Jail and Division of Corrections. Read more here.
Court Security Officers Get Time on Simulator
Court security deputies and transport officers in Garland County, Ark., recently took “shoot/don’t shoot” simulator training by using the safety of a projection screen to test their ability to make split-second decisions. Read the story here.
Judicial Council Approves Process for Awarding $25 Million for Court Innovations
California’s Judicial Council has adopted a process to award $25 million in grant funding to promote innovative and efficient programs in the courts. The council is the policymaking body of the California courts. Funding for courts will be available beginning fiscal year 2016-17, and will support innovative programs in areas such as technology, collaborative courts, and family and juvenile courts.
Forensic Science: A Time of Transformation
The criminal justice community is currently looking at the role of forensic science and the certainty of evidence presented in the courtroom. A NIJ Journal article by Jim Dawson examines the issues around developing a whole theory and setting principles for forensic science. The article looks at how a shift in thinking can change how forensic science functions and how the broader legal community perceives it. Read the article here
Corrections Technology Resource Center (CTRC)
May is National Drug Court Month. Read the message from Denise O’Donnell Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance, on the value of drug courts and BJA’s ongoing support of them. http://1.usa.gov/1WjosLz
This online resource is dedicated to providing public-sector agencies with information regarding a wide variety of technologies used in correctional settings. Members can gain access to a repository of documents and publications as well as a forum that can be used to communicate directly with each other to discuss areas of common concern. This site is strictly for active, public-sector criminal justice professionals and the intent is to provide a secure environment for sharing information and exchanging ideas.
Find it here: https://www.justnet.org/resources/ctrc.html
10 Essential Elements for Court Security
Read the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators CCJ/COSCA Court Security Handbook: Ten Essential Elements for Court Security and Emergency Preparedness. It covers plans for courtroom safety and security planning, emergency preparedness, disaster recovery, threat assessment, security equipment and more.
Nevada Awards $106,500 for Court Security and Technology Needs
The Nevada Supreme Court awarded $106,500 in grant money to be used in the state to upgrade audiovisual systems and courthouse security improvements. The money comes through the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
Link to Nevada’s Supreme Court Press Release
NIJ's Court Research Portfolio
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsors research on courtroom security technologies and forensic science that supports criminal case processing. See NIJ’s Courts Research Portfolio, information on technology related to courts, and other resources.
New Releases in the field of Law Enforcement Technology
New Bullying Hotline Fully Deployed Throughout Nevada
With the start of the new school year, every school in Nevada will be connected to the SafeVoice Communications Center 24/7. Students can use the SafeVoice tool to report bullying issues via the Internet, a toll-free telephone number or through a smartphone app.
Ohio School Districts Permit Police to Aerially Survey Schools for Public Safety
In order to improve the quality of their safety plans, the Lorain and Avon school districts have opted to allow the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to use drone technology to collect aerial images of school buildings. BCI’s fleet of six drones are mainly used to document crime scenes and on search and rescue missions, but the bureau has offered services to the state’s schools as an option to use in re-assessing safety plans.
Midland Police First to Complete One Mind Certification
The police department in Midland, Mich., has become the first in the state to complete One Mind, which seeks to improve police response to individuals with mental illness. Participating departments pledge to work with community mental health, provide officers with training in mental health first aid and crisis intervention and develop policies on how to deal with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The program was started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Sheriff’s Forensics Unit Receives Advanced Equipment to Dry and Store Evidence
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Forensics Unit now has new, advanced equipment to dry and store evidence. Forensic Evidence Drying Cabinets were recently installed at sheriff’s stations in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.
Smyrna Police Introduce Online Crime Mapping Feature
Police in Smyrna, Del., have launched an online interactive crime map that the public can view. Crimes are shown with category icons on a town map at the scene of an incident, and can be customized to a certain time frame to indicate trends.
No More Handwritten Speeding Tickets. Anderson Police Are Switching to Etickets.
Police in Anderson, S.C., will be issuing electronically produced tickets. Etickets will be used when people commit low-level offenses worthy of citations, and will replace handwritten tickets. Officers will have computers in their vehicles and handheld scanners to scan a driver’s license. The information will be transferred onto an electronic ticket that can then be printed and handed back to the driver.
FirstNet Brings Internet to Tribal Police
The Oglala Sioux Police Department in South Dakota has implemented FirstNet, the country’s nationwide public safety broadband network. Now the department’s 32 vehicles are equipped with Mi-Fi devices that connect to a cellular network and create a mini wireless broadband cloud or hotspot to provide internet access for the vehicles’ devices such as computers and cameras. Officers can now drive across the entire Pine Ridge Reservation without losing connectivity.
Atlantic City Police Debut Mobile Observation Tower
The Atlantic City Police Department has begun deploying a moveable Skywatch tower for crowd control and observations, specifically for special events but for routine observation as well. The $235,000 tower, funded by an FBI grant, has a monitoring station where an officer can observe seven camera feeds and then radio reports of suspicious activity to officers on the ground.
Law Enforcement's '9 p.m. Routine' Meme Catches on in Greenfield
The Greenfield Police Department has joined a number of other agencies around the country in using the “9 p.m. meme” to send messages reminding area residents to lock their cars, turn on exterior lights or take other basic precautions. Some of the memes are original to Greenfield and others have originated with other departments.
Meet the Robots Helping Keep North Texas Safe, and the Bomb Squads Who Operate Them
This piece profiles the use of robots by bomb squads at several North Texas law enforcement agencies. It looks at how they can be used in dangerous situations to save lives.
South Florida Boat Owners Turn to Social Media to Prevent Marine Thefts
A group of South Florida boat owners decided to band together with a Facebook page to share information about property thefts; a few months later, the group numbers more than 5,000 members. Local law enforcement agencies have monitored the page and found it helpful in solving crimes.
City to Launch 'Smart911' Allowing Citizens to Create an Emergency Profile
Cincinnati area residents now have the option of registering both cellphones and landlines with the city’s SMART911.com system. Users can create a Safety Profile that can include persons to contact, medical notes, car make and model, and more; this profile will display whenever that number calls 911.
Secret Service Issues "Actionable" Guide to Help Identify Students Who May Be a Threat
The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center has released a new step-by-step guide aimed at helping schools identify students who might be a threat. A threat assessment program helps students and teachers identify individuals who might be exhibiting questionable behavior or experiencing some sort of distress.
The Unlikely Crime-Fighter Cracking Decades-Old Murders? A Genealogist.
Since law enforcement used genealogical data to build a profile and locate a man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, other departments have adopted the technique for use in solving cold cases. A team based at Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Va., has proven instrumental in using similar techniques to solve several cases, most recently one in Indiana involving a case from 1988. However, there are a number of concerns about law enforcement’s use of genealogical data as a crime-solving tool.
Houston Forensic Center Will Spend $2 Million Outsourcing DNA Testing to Cut Rape Kit Backlog
Houston’s independent crime lab has a plan to clear a backlog of hundreds of rape kits and other DNA evidence. Over a 10-month period, the Houston Forensic Science Center plans to spend $2 million to outsource analysis of nearly 1,000 cases and cross-train staff with the hope of preventing similar backlogs in the future.
Link to article
Kettering to Spend $624,000 to Upgrade Police Systems
The city of Kettering, Ohio, plans to spend $624,000 to update and replace the police department’s current computer-aided dispatch and records management system. The system will be used by both the police and fire departments.
Link to article
$1.4M to Build Real-Time Crime Center for Laredo Police Department Approved
The Laredo City Council has approved $1.4 million to build a real-time crime center. Police could use the center to gather camera feeds from around the city, mine data in real-time situations and relay it to investigators who may be responding to a crime scene.
Link to article
Dickinson Police Department Shows Off Simulator
The Dickinson Police Department in North Dakota has a new simulator to aid in training officers. The $226,000 simulator offers more than 140 scenarios, including de-escalation. The simulator is one of only three in the state, and other agencies in the region will be able to use it for training.
Link to article
New Team of Crime Analysts Dig Deep into Databases to Help Police in Hudson Valley
A new crime analysis center is providing support for investigating crimes in the Hudson Valley. The Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center in Goshen serves 65 police agencies and is connected to a state-supported network of records from police departments, motor vehicle departments, jails and the federal probation department. Crime analysts are trained on the latest social media mining tools, facial recognition software and license plate recognition software.
Police Giving Deaf Drivers Cards to Help Them Communicate
The New York Police Department is giving deaf drivers information cards to help communication with police during traffic stops. The laminated visor cards have symbols that officers can point at to indicate speeding, running a red light and other common violations. The cards are being mailed out and will also be available for download on the department's website.
Little Rock Approves New Gunshot Detection System
Officials have approved installing a gunshot detection system in a 2-square-mile area in Little Rock, Ark. The system immediately alerts police with a time stamp and geographic location when a shot is fired within range of one of the system's acoustic devices.
Law Enforcement ‘Safe Zone’ Patrols Start in Downtown Minneapolis
Minneapolis Police, Metro Transit Police and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office are stepping up patrols in downtown Minneapolis this summer as part of the Safe Zone program. More squad cars and uniformed officers will be present during the day. The patrols are expected to end after Labor Day.
‘We’re in a Different World’: Law Enforcement Agencies Train in Active Shooter Scenarios
About 60 officers from law enforcement agencies in Southern Utah attended a recent active shooter training session hosted by the St. George Police Department. The training includes several mock scenarios.
Leland Police Department Releases Digital Crime Map Tool
The Leland Police Department in North Carolina is offering near real-time crime information through its Community Crime Map digital tool. Leland residents can view the map and grid of reported crimes, sign up for emailed neighborhood watch reports and submit an anonymous tip about a crime to police.
Norwalk Police Welcome Bomb-Sniffing Dogs
The police department in Norwalk, Conn., has added two K-9s trained in explosives detection. After more than 400 hours of training in a public settings, police say the two black Labradors can detect the scents of more than 30 different explosives.
How Can Police Presence in Schools Help With Prevention?
This article presents a panel interview with four RCMP officers who talk about the pros and cons of school policing, and how it can impact students’ actions.
California Testing Digital License Plates
California has launched a pilot program that allows drivers to buy digital license plates. The digital plates eliminate the need for registration stickers and can be used to track the car if it is stolen. The plates will retail for $699, and privacy concerns have already been raised.
AT&T Presents an 'It Can Wait' Virtual Reality Simulator to New York Police Troop A
AT&T has donated an “It Can Wait” 3-D virtual reality simulator to the New York State Police Troop A in Batavia. The VR can be used across Western New York for public safety education and programing. Troop A covers Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Police Shine Spotlight on Homeless Pets
The Texarkana (Texas) Police Department is using its Facebook page to spotlight pets from the Animal Care & Adoption Center. Dubbed “Too Cute Tuesday,” the project attempts to put a human face on the police department and encourages local residents to think of the shelter first when they’re looking for a pet.
Law Enforcement Agencies Turning to Drones to Fight Crime
The number of public safety agencies with drones has more than doubled since the end of 2016, according to data collected by the Center for the Study of the Drone at New York’s Bard College. The center estimated that just over 900 police, sheriff, fire and emergency agencies now have drones, with Texas, California and Wisconsin leading the way.
New Program Allows Teachers to Alert Police in Seconds
A new program is being implemented in some western Massachusetts schools that will allow teachers to alert police in seconds in an emergency. The In Force app can be launched from a cell phone or a computer, and within 12 seconds, an alert is sent to local police with the location. Officers will join the alert, and a chat bubble will open where the sender can add a description of an assailant or about an emergency.
Officials Demonstrate Getting into ‘Warm Zones’ During Mass Attacks to Treat Victims
Pittsburgh police officers, firefighters and EMTs recently participated in training to prepare them to treat victims of mass shootings or other attacks before the scene has been cleared. Previously, protocol has required emergency medical teams to wait until a building is entirely cleared before sending in medics. The new method is to provide police protection that will allow teams of medical personnel to enter areas of a building that police have deemed free of immediate threats without having to wait until the entire building is clear.
Need a Safe Place to Exchange Goods? Sunnyvale Police Has Just the Place for You
People in Sunnyvale, Calif., can now exchange goods purchased from online sites in an area in front of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. The exchange zone is two well-lit, marked parking spaces that are monitored by surveillance cameras 24 hours a day. The cameras keep a log of transactions that officers can go back and review in the event of a dispute or safety violation.
Clearwater Police Real-Time Crime App Keeps Residents Up To Date
The Clearwater (Fla.) Police Department recently joined Neighbors, an app created by the makers of the Ring Video Doorbell. The app allows residents to receive local, real-time crime and public safety information and monitor neighborhood activity. It also makes it easier for detectives to access video that could help them solve criminal cases.
Police Used a Fitness App to Find Man Accused of Knocking Bicyclist to the Ground in Virginia
The Loudon County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office used the fitness app Strava to track a man who knocked another bicyclist to the ground on April 22, causing serious injuries. The man turned himself in after the sheriff’s office used publicly available GPS data from the app to identify him.
Database Will Give Police Info on People With Disabilities
Ohio residents can voluntarily enter information about themselves and family members who have communication disabilities into a new database accessible by law enforcement officers. When the database goes online in early August, it will include information that ties individuals to specific vehicles and links to license plate reader system databases.
“Stay in the Game” Media Campaign to Reduce Underage Drinking and Drug Use
Police departments in Richmond and Berea, Wisc., have teamed up with local drug-free student-athletes and Madison County Youth in Action to produce a media campaign against drinking and driving called “Stay in the Game.” The campaign targets youth celebrating graduations and summer break, reminding them of the danger of mixing alcohol and/or drugs with driving.
Seymour Police Use School Bus to Nab Distracted Drivers, Seat Belt Violators
Police officers in Seymour, Ind., are catching a ride on local school buses in an attempt to spot distracted drivers and seat belt violators. Using the elevated height of the bus, officers spot violators and radio other officers to pull them over. Local drivers have given the tactic mixed reviews.
New Police SUV? Fiat Chrysler Offering Dodge Durango Pursuit
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced a new police model, the Dodge Durango Pursuit. The all-wheel-drive vehicle will be powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and will offer a two-speed transfer case for low-range off-roading needs and anti-lock brakes that have a 60- to 0-m.p.h. stopping distance of 134 feet. The company has not announced pricing.
Deputy K-9 Busts Student Who Hacked Teacher's Computer, Changed Grades
Use of an electronic sniffing dog by the Contra Costa (Calif.) Police Department led to the discovery of a hidden SD card and the eventual arrest of a juvenile who first “phished” a teacher to gain access to a school’s computer system, then hacked in and changed grades. The hack did not involve any breach of personal information.
Dark Sky: 'Things Need to Break a Little Bit ... That's How We Learn the Best'
First responders throughout Wisconsin will participate in Operation Dark Sky, a three-day exercise simulating a total loss of power in an area. More than 1,000 people will test the readiness of private utilities, law enforcement, first responders and the National Guard. https://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2018/05/15/dark-sky-exercise-focuses-finding-and-fixing-cracks-system-wisconsin-power-grid-attack-cyber/611308002/
US Border Agency Tests Body-Cam Use by Agents in 9 Locations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has begun testing the use of body cameras at nine locations. The agency previously concluded in 2015 after a study that body cameras were not yet suitable for widespread use due to cost, technological challenges and the need for labor union approval. Officials said technology has evolved since the 2015 test, and the cameras used in the current field tests will build on lessons learned.
DNA Technology Helps Maryland Law Enforcement ID Victims
Some Maryland law enforcement agencies have been using Snapshot, a technology that can take a DNA sample from a crime scene and read tens of thousands of genetic variants to predict a facial image. A few agencies have said in cases where there are no witnesses, the technology has helped narrow down investigations into potential suspects and victims.
Computer System Expands to Most First Responders in Santa Cruz County
A new emergency-management call system removes low-priority calls from public airwaves and put computers in most participating first responders’ vehicles. The Santa Cruz Regional 911 system, also known as Netcom, is the emergency communications center for most police and fire agencies in the county. The new system will relay incident information to all responding units.
K-9 Units at Risk for Fentanyl Exposure
Some West Virginia law enforcement agencies are taking precautions to ensure police canines are not exposed to potent drugs such as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. For example, some departments are training dogs to stare in the direction of the odor or sit when they detect something, rather than being more aggressive when searching an area.
Tulsa Police Facebook Page Begins ‘Behind the Badge’ Series
The Tulsa Police Department has launched a new Facebook series called “Behind the Badge” to provide the public a behind-the-scene view of operations within the department. The first video in the series gives viewers a look at the department’s forensics lab.
Grant Will Help LA Clear DNA Testing Backlog
The Los Angeles Police Department will use a $1 million federal grant to clear a backlog of over 500 investigations awaiting DNA testing results. The grant from the National Institute of Justice will be used for salaries, travel for training workshops, equipment and other costs at LAPD’s Forensic Science Division and Serology/DNA Unit, according to city officials.
Madison Police to Get Body-Worn Cameras and Phase Them in This Year
The police department in Madison, Ala., will purchase 63 body-worn cameras. The department will phase in the cameras, with a goal of having them all operational by Sept. 1. The plan is to equip school resource officers and then the traffic unit, before moving on to the rest of the force.
Newark ‘Virtual Police’ Initiative Will Allow Residents to View Police Cameras
Newark, N.J., has launched the “Citizen Virtual Patrol” program to encourage citizens to aid police during investigations and deter criminal activity. Under the program, 62 surveillance cameras will be installed around the city. Anyone will be able to log onto the Newark Police Department’s website and view the surveillance cameras.
Maine Police Start Selfie Hashtag to Drum Up Support
The #SelfieWithACop hashtag campaign started by the South Portland (Maine) Police Department has a goal of promoting a partnership between law enforcement and the local community. Residents are urged to take a selfie with an officer and submit it to the department, which will post it on its Facebook page.
Houston Police, ATF to Unveil New Crime-fighting Tool
Houston has become the third city in the nation to begin using a new tool from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that processes gun-crime evidence in hours instead of days. The department has a new van that will be used to collect and compare evidence against the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. Houston will be the first department in which its own officers, using ATF training, will process the evidence.
Cleveland to Upgrade Street Lights, Post Security Cameras to Bolster Neighborhood Safety
Cleveland plans to convert its 61,000 street lights to a remote-controlled LED system that provides more illumination, visibility and clarity. Law enforcement will be able to brighten the lights in an emergency situation and the city camera system, mounted on the same poles, will give police real-time access to surveillance video.
Local School Installs Active Shooter Alert System
St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in San Antonio recently installed a new rapid alert response system that automatically alerts law enforcement when anyone pulls the fire alarm. The system immediately uses telephone, text and email to send alerts to campus staff and local law enforcement dispatch. The alert gives officers access to a campus map and real-time access to security cameras.
New Tool Will Let Citizens Send Crime Videos to Police
The police department in Evanston, Ill., has expanded its Axon body-worn camera program with a new system called “Axon Citizen” that allows citizens to upload video from cell phones and other electronic devices. If the agency learns that video or other media relevant to an investigation exists, they can contact the individual and invite them to upload to the Evidence.com account at no charge.
New York, Baltimore Coach Drug Users, Cops on Good Sam Overdose-Prevention Laws
Drug users can be part of the solution to preventing overdose deaths, this article says, but at times ignorance of the protection offered by Good Samaritan laws can lead to unnecessary deaths. In both Baltimore and New York City, promotional material and other materials are components of education campaigns aimed at drug users and law enforcement to ensure that both groups understand the meaning of the laws.
District Attorney's Office Donates Chip Scanners to Reunite Pets With Families
The Washington County (Pa.) District Attorney’s office has used $7,000 in vice-related asset forfeitures to buy 30 microchip detectors that will help police departments and humane officers identify lost pets and return them to their owners. The DA’s office is also encouraging pet owners to have the identity microchips implanted in their pets.
Law Enforcement Officials Considering Cameras to Detect, Automatically Cite Drivers Using Phones
This article looks at emerging technologies that will let police departments detect driver cell-phone use, thus giving agencies the ability to automatically ticket drivers. The technology is similar to the way cameras catch speeding drivers.
Pelham Police Department Debuts New Drone
The Pelham Police Department in Alabama has acquired a second drone. The device is equipped with a low-light and thermal imaging camera, and uses will include search and rescue operations, suspect apprehension, and crime scene and traffic crash investigation.
Why Plano Police Officers Are Using Thermal Cameras on Patrol
Police in Plano, Texas, are using thermal cameras attached to spotlights of patrol cars. The cameras connect to an officer’s laptop inside the car, and can help police find suspects in the dark. Officers also use the cameras during traffic investigations to determine where skid marks are or if a person applied the brakes before a collision. Weapons used during crimes have also been recovered with the cameras.
Akron Firefighters and Medics Will Start Wearing Ballistic Vests and Helmets
Firefighters and medics in Akron, Ohio, are now wearing ballistic vests and helmets when they are called out to a violent or potentially violent situation. The protective equipment was purchased using a combination of city funds and a grant.
FBI Shares New Tool to Help Police and Public Catch Thieves
In the past month, the police department in St. Peters, Mo., has begun using a new software tool made available by the FBI to pause, zoom in and include graphics in surveillance video posted for public viewing. The software allows police to highlight characteristics that may make an individual stand out, such as a tattoo, and has already proved useful in helping identify suspects in several cases. http://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/fbi-shares-new-tool-to-help-police-and-public-catch-thieves/63-537100452
Sheriff’s Office Enhances Digital Forensics
A detective from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio was among two dozen law enforcement officers nationwide selected to attend a four-week digital forensics training course at the National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover, Ala. The course included training on computer and cellphone forensics, and will allow participants to perform digital forensics themselves, rather than using outside help.
Fremont County Offers New 911 Text Service
Fremont County, Idaho, has launched a text-to-911 emergency service. People can send a short text message to 911 for help when unable to make a 911 voice call, such as when the caller is hearing or voice impaired, a medical emergency renders the person incapable of speech, or in situations where speaking out loud could put the caller in danger,
AAA: Distracted Driving Now Biggest Danger on Roads
Distracted driving has surpassed other behaviors as the biggest danger on the roads, according to a new AAA study. The organization’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index found distracted driving surpasses aggressive, drunk, drugged and buzzed driving. The index measures attitudes and behaviors of people related to traffic safety. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said they’ve talked on handheld cellphones while driving, and 35 percent admit they’ve sent a text or email.
Evolving Technology Enhances Safety, Reach of Law Enforcement
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia has initiated an Information Sharing Hub. A data specialist and analyst examine data from various sources and compile it for patterns of crimes or drug overdoses. It is an example of how law enforcement agencies in the state are using advanced technology to enhance law enforcement operations.
Distracted Driving Simulator Comes to Pensacola State College
A simulator showing the dangers of distracted and impaired driving was part of Pensacola State College’s campus safety day. The simulator allows participants to experience the potential consequences of texting and driving and driving under the influence. Also on hand for the event were the Florida Highway Patrol, Pensacola Police, Escambia County EMS and Pensacola Fire Department.
Police Asking Homeowners to Register Home Surveillance Cameras to Fight Crime
The Gaston County Police Department in North Carolina is asking homeowners to voluntarily register their home surveillance cameras so investigators can solve crimes quicker. Locations of the cameras will be mapped. Detectives will only use homeowners’ cameras if they volunteer, and the department will not be able to remotely access the cameras.
Three Universities Launch National Database to Track School Shootings
Three universities have created a national, open-source database to track school shootings and develop strategies for countering them. The partnership between John Jay College, the University of Texas at Dallas and Michigan State University, will track fatal shooting attacks that targeted K-12 students or teachers. It also includes cases that resulted in injuries but no deaths; domestic violence; workplace violence; and suicides on school grounds involving a firearm. The database will include data about all publicly known school shootings that resulted in at least one injury from 1990 to Dec. 31, 2016. It will be made public in the spring of 2019.
MCC’s Active Shooter Drill Prepares First Responders
Meridian Community College in Mississippi was recently the scene of an active shooter drill. The training drill is held every other year to prepare law enforcement and paramedics for an emergency. Participating agencies included the MCC, Meridian and Marion police departments, and several other MCC departments. This is the fifth year the school has done disaster response training.
Pittsburgh Council Backs Expanding Gunshot Detection System
The Pittsburgh City Council has endorsed expanding the city’s gunshot-detection system to reach all six police zones. Pittsburgh began a pilot with the technology in January 2015 in one zone, and the system has pointed to more than 2,200 gunfire incidents, according to the Department of Public Safety. Police have made 48 arrests and responders have located 83 shooting victims. Under the planned expansion, the detection technology coverage would include about 18 square miles citywide, targeting areas that account for the majority of gun-related incidents.
Delaware Pilot Program Will Replace Driver’s License With a Smartphone App
The Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles has launched a pilot program to test use of electronic driver’s licenses. The program will include about 200 DMV employees and stakeholders using the technology for the next six months. According to DMV, features of the mobile driver’s license will allow, for example, enhanced privacy for age verification, ease of use and secure access.
Analysis of Arkansas School Security Kicks Off
The new Arkansas School Safety Commission formed to make recommendations on school safety held its first meeting in March. The panel is to identify gaps in school safety and how to make schools safer. It is to submit its preliminary report by July 1 and a final report by Nov. 1. The panel includes educators, members of law enforcement and mental health professionals.
Medford Police Report Increase in Use of Overdose Reversal Medication
The police department in Medford, Ore., has seen an uptick in the need to administer naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses. The police department began administering naloxone in 2015, and since then, has deployed it 39 times, saving 37 lives. By this time in 2017, police officers had administered naloxone three times. So far this year, the drug has been used eight times by the department.
Schools Across Northwest Indiana Update Their Safety Plans in Wake of Latest School Shooting
In response to a wave of school security threats in the aftermath of the shooting at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School, school districts across Northwest Indiana have begun working closely with local police departments and holding joint active shooter trainings in school buildings. The schools are working on updated safety and security plans as well.
Officers Learning New Ways to Respond to Emotional Crisis
Officers in DuPage County, Ill., are taking a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team training course that includes simulations to help them learn to de-escalate calls involving persons with mental illness. Individuals take part in simulated scenarios and receive feedback from mental health professionals after each drill. More than 200 officers have taken the training in the past year.
Washington, D.C., Launches 'Crime Cards' Search Tool
The new Crime Cards tracking system recently launched by the city of Washington, D.C., is designed as a responsive website that citizens can access from mobile devices via a fill-in-the-blank system. The system replaces a 12-year-old crime mapping technology and allows users to create precise charts, graphs and maps of the data that interests them.
Columbia Police and Fire Stage Large Active-Shooter Simulation
The police and fire departments in Columbia, Mo., recently held an active-shooter training exercise on the campus of Stephens College. More than 200 Columbia servicemen and women participated in the training, which was meant to simulate an active shooter situation involving a gunman and multiple civilian casualties.
Baltimore to Nearly Double Size of Speed and Red Light Camera System
Baltimore is expanding the city’s speed and red light camera system, nearly doubling the size of the program. Department of Transportation officials said in a statement that they were adding 44 cameras across Baltimore to an existing fleet of 56, bringing the total number of traffic cameras to 100. The additions will include 19 speed cameras, 19 red light cameras and six cameras designed to catch large trucks traveling on roads where they are not allowed.
They Died Near the Border. Art Students Hope to Bring Them Back.
Students in a workshop in forensic facial reconstruction at the New York Academy of Art learn to fuse science, art and anthropology to use skulls to reconstruct individuals’ facial features. Taught by a forensic artist with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the class seeks to help law enforcement identify individuals found dead in the desert near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Criminal Justice Program Opens Lab
The University of Indianapolis Criminal Justice Department plans to open a criminal justice education lab where students will participate in mock crime scene investigations. The university partnered with the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensics Services Agency to have property rezoned for educational use, and will renovate a house on the property to establish the lab. Marion County officers will also use the lab to train and test their agents.
New Police Community Programs Coming
The police department in Jacksonville, Ill., plans to add new programs to connect officers with senior citizens and teenagers. The department will hold classes to educate seniors on scams and offer personal safety tips. It will also launch a “SWAT for a day” program in which teens will spend time with the special response team.
Shootout, Standoff in Glasgow Village Ends With Gunman Dead, Officer Saved by Bullet-Resistant Vest
A police officer shot while part of a U.S. Marshal’s Service task force attempting to arrest a suspect in north St. Louis County was saved from serious injury by his ballistic-resistant body armor. Authorities said the suspect opened fire when the task force arrived at his home. Task force members returned fire, and the fugitive retreated. He was later found dead near a carport. A St. Louis County police spokesman said it appeared the man died from shots fired by officers but emphasized the investigation is in the early stages. The officer, who is with the St. Charles County Police Department but was assigned to the fugitive task force, was taken to a hospital and later released.
New Orleans Opens Real Time Crime Monitoring Center
New Orleans officials say the city’s Real Time Crime Monitoring Center is proving to be a valuable asset since it opened in November 2017. Center technology can capture video footage from strategically mounted cameras and license plate scanners for real-time use during violent crimes. During the first weekend of operation, the center provided video evidence for police in incidents including armed robberies and assaults. During the first weekend of the February 2018 Mardi Gras celebration, the center assisted in 17 cases. The technology aggregates and integrates streaming video, real-time alerts, advanced data analytics, resource tracking, social media analytics, voice, computer aided dispatch and records information with layered geospatial mapping so command center staff can communicate actionable intelligence via voice and data to field staff.
Alabama Attorney General Launches Lab to Fight Cybercrime
Alabama has announced plans to create a lab that will use cutting-edge technology to focus on the investigation of cybercrimes such as online exploitation and human trafficking, fraud and more. The state will work in cooperation with federal law enforcement, according to the Attorney General’s office.
New Richmond Police Data Portal Reveals Numbers on Traffic Stops, Use of Force and More
The city of Richmond, Calif., has launched a new online portal that provides access to data on the city’s law enforcement activities. Richmond Open Data provides a spreadsheet of information on calls for service, use of force, traffic stops and more, and is part of the city’s commitment to transparency.
Commerce Police Enter Online Suspect Identification Program
The police department in Commerce, Texas, is expanding its social media outreach by participating in the “ID This Person” website. Participating law enforcement agencies enter mugshots and information about individuals they are seeking, and citizens are eligible to receive a $25 gift card if they assist with identification.
Mental Health Intervention a New Line of School Security in the Lehigh Valley
Since 2015, the Bethlehem (Pa.) Area School District has trained staff to recognize students struggling with emotional or mental health issues in order to help connect them with needed services and possibly promote school safety as well. In nearby Allentown, the district is pursuing a similar initiative with similar goals.
Law Enforcement Agencies Launch Heroin Task Force
A task force in Monroe County, N.Y., is targeting heroin dealers. The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed 169 opioid overdose deaths in the county in 2016; so far this year, 112 overdoses have been reported, 17 of which were fatal. Working with the Monroe County Crime Analysis Center, the task force will collect data about heroin overdoses and route intelligence to local agencies in the hopes of building strong cases against heroin dealers.
Anne Arundel’s 911 System Sees $2.2M Overhaul
Maryland’s Anne Arundel County has installed a new 911 dispatch system to reduce response times and offer geo-location tracking of emergency service vehicles. The $2.2 million system is used by police and fire departments and replaces a 20-year-old dispatch system.
New Equipment Will Assist Preston Law Enforcement
The Preston Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia is outfitting 23 vehicles with new, front and back view cameras using money from a $65,000 Homeland Security grant. In addition, new software will provide officers with real-time visual information through computers.
911 Is Able to Receive Texts
The Salina Police Department’s Emergency Communications Center’s 911 equipment is now able to receive 911 texts from a cell phone. Sending a text to 911 instead of calling could be a lifesaving option for people in situations where they can’t speak safely, such as being in close proximity of a perpetrator. It could also benefit people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have difficulty speaking.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Has Life-Saving Plans for New Drone
The Gear Up for Game Wardens program, which has collected more than $100,000 in private donations to purchase specialized equipment for the game wardens of Texas, recently purchased a search-and-rescue drone that the agency plans to use to help its efforts in hard-to-reach areas. The agency plans to use the UAS to locate missing persons in areas that are less readily accessible by its helicopter.
Texarkana Police Receive Prescription Drop off Box
The Texarkana Emergency Center has purchased a prescription drug drop-off box to place at the Texarkana Police Department. The goal is to remove unused and unwanted prescription drugs from residents’ homes; dropped off prescriptions will be immediately destroyed. The efforts are intended to provide a year-round supplement to the semiannual National Take Back Initiative days. https://txktoday.com/crime/texarkana-police-receive-prescription-drop-off-box/
State Police Open New 24/7 Non-Emergency Line
The Oregon State Police have launched a new non-emergency line for reporting traffic issues, highway hazards and minor accidents. *OSP (*677) serves as a mobile phone direct call number that motorists can use to request assistance. Emergency calls should continue to go to 911.
BYU App Now Offers Students ‘Virtual Escort’ With Campus Police
The Brigham Young University Police Department has added a new feature to its app that allows students to request a “virtual escort” from the agency. The Safewalk feature allows an officer to track a student on request and turns the tracking capability off when the requester turns the feature off.
Proper Needlestick Hand Protection Amidst the Opioid Crisis
This article takes an in-depth look at why needlestick protection for first responders, including law enforcement officers, is more important than ever in light of the increasing opioid epidemic. Agencies are encouraged to take a close look at their PPE and training programs.
State Police Recovering After Gunfight Near Union City
Two members of the Michigan State Police involved in a cold case murder investigation were wounded by a suspect on Jan. 23 as they attempted to serve a search warrant while in the company of four other officers. One of the officers took a shot to his chest that was stopped by his ballistic-resistant vest; the other was shot in the collarbone above his vest. The suspect was later found dead of a gunshot wound in a nearby field.
Blue Line Beasts: Wood-Ridge Officer Runs Social Media Monster for Fit Cops
In 2015, Wood-Ridge Officer Mark Torsiello started the Blue Line Beasts Facebook page to inspire his fellow law enforcement officers to take more time to ensure physical fitness. The site now has more than 110,000 followers and in addition to inspiring officers to work out more and become more fit officers, it has also taken on a number of fundraising causes and created a nationwide sense of community among its followers.
Canal Fulton Police Use ‘Cop Trading Cards’ to Help Connect With Youths
Several police departments near Akron, Ohio, have revived a decades-old concept of handing out police trading cards. The cards, which resemble major league baseball trading cards, contain photos of officers and personal information that helps young residents connect with officers on a personal level.
Sheriff Asking People With Surveillance Cameras to Sign Up for Eye Watch
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office in Florida wants residents and business with surveillance cameras to sign up for a voluntary program to share video in the event of a crime in their neighborhood. Registering for the Eye Watch program will help the sheriff’s office quickly identify the location of cameras that may have useful video. About two-dozen homeowners and businesses with external surveillance cameras have signed up so far.
How to Implement and Justify a Drone Program
This article discusses use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by law enforcement, how agencies can obtain permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate UAS, cost benefits of a UAS program and other considerations.
Arizona K-9 Teams Undergoing Extensive Training to Detect Explosives
Police in Goodyear, Ariz., recently hosted a training event to help K-9 teams better detect explosives. The Department of Homeland Security provided the training to several law enforcement agencies as part of its Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative.
First Responders Simulate Fentanyl Hazmat Situation for Training
First responders in southwest Virginia recently attended a training session on responding to calls involving the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. The session involved a training scenario in which EMTs are called to respond to people who were unresponsive. In the scenario, the EMTs got exposed to fentanyl on the scene, and a hazmat team was called in to access and decontaminate people.
State Police Drones to Fly Over Central New York
The New York State Police Unmanned Aerial System program plans to provide drones to Troops A, D, F and G. The drones will support disaster response and traffic safety missions; an UAS can conduct a motor vehicle documentation and reconstruction much more quickly than it can be done manually.
Pilot Making It Easier to Search for Missing Kids With Disabilities Could Go Statewide
A pilot project that has run successfully in five Florida counties could soon expand statewide. Project Leo, named after an autistic boy named Leo Walker who drowned near his home in 2014, uses GPS tracking devices to track registered users should they ever wander. The pilot program registered several successes, and pending legislation would retain and expand the program.
Texters Beware: Elk River Police, Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office Target Motorists Who Text While Driving
The Elk River (Minn.) Dept. recently used two undercover spotter vehicles to conduct a crackdown on motorists who text and drive. The spotters called in officers in law enforcement vehicles to write citations when they spotted drivers violating the state statute. The department adopted the strategy because drivers often put their phones down when they spot a law enforcement vehicle.
Chief: York City Schools' Body-cam Rollout Going Smoothly
For the past six months, officers with the York (Pa.) City School District have been wearing body-worn cameras, and the department’s chief says the implementation has gone well. The 14 officers wear the cameras at all times, but they only record when activated. The school district has greatly increased the number of stationary surveillance cameras in its buildings in recent years as well with the aim of deterring crime.
911 Emergency Text Messaging Now Available in Imperial County
Several law enforcement agencies in Imperial County in California are now equipped to receive and respond to 911 text messages. The Brawley Police Department, California Highway Patrol, El Centro Police Department, Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and State Emergency Communications 911 officials can now receive and respond to mobile phone SMS Text-to-911 messages. The service is accessible to help hearing and speech impaired people and in situations where it is too dangerous to make a voice call to 911.
Police Begin Enforcing Washington’s E-DUI Distracted Driving Law
Police in Washington State have begun enforcing a new distracted driving law following the end of a six-month grace period. The law means drivers may not use hand-held cellphones while driving, stopped in traffic or at a stop light. This includes tablets, laptops or other hand-held electronic devices. Drivers caught with a cellphone in hand will be issued a $136 ticket.
Pa. EMS Agency Gets Equipped With Body Armor
Officials of Yellow Breeches EMS in Mt. Holly Springs, Pa., have purchased body armor for their crews. The company received a $1,000 grant to help offset the $3,000 cost for 15 protective vests, and is applying for other grants.
Most Austin Police Officers Will Soon Have Body Cameras
Austin police officials plan to have all patrol officers equipped with body cameras by the end of the first quarter of this year. Since October, the police department has equipped officers at three of its four substations with body cameras. The department plans to implement the cameras for officers at the north substation next.
DHS Finds Security Flaws in First Responder Apps
“Securing Mobile Applications for First Responders,” a joint pilot project from the Homeland Security Advanced Research Project Agency’s Cyber Security Division and Office of Science & Technology’s First Responder Group, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials and Kryptowire, LLC, has found potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in a number of apps used by the nation’s first responders. The project involved 33 apps from 20 developers and involved three months of testing. The project discovered flaws in 32 of the apps, 18 of them critical, and worked with developers to remediate the vulnerabilities.
Technology Is Turning Wrong-Way Drivers Around
In the aftermath of a number of serious accidents caused by wrong-way drivers, the Arizona Department of Transportation has installed thermal cameras on more than 30 off-ramps and along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17. When the cameras pick up a wrong-way driver, flashing signs alert other drivers while the system warns local law enforcement and highway officials. Officials can then broadcast warnings, close ramp access and broadcast an alert to drivers who have signed up for an app.
Some New Tennessee Laws Target Distracted Driving
New Tennessee state laws that go into effect with the New Year include two that focus on distracted driving. One law prohibits non-hands-free use of cell phones in active school zones. Another allows the use of only white or amber headlights. Colored headlights will still be allowed if a vehicle is stationary, such as a classic car at a cruise-in.
Standoff With Suspect Over After 2 Officers Are Shot in North County; Vests Stopped Bullets
Two police officers, both shot in the chest during a barricade situation in northern St. Louis County, Mo., were saved by their ballistic-resistant vests. The suspect originally was involved in a physical encounter with officers, then fled to a nearby home and opened fire. He was taken into custody.
New NIST Forensic Tests to Ensure High-Quality Copies of Digital Evidence
A new set of software tools developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology aims to ensure digital evidence will hold up in court. The federated testing tools are designed to help law enforcement and forensic practitioners with making a copy of the data from a seized electronic device. Both the prosecution and the defense must agree that the digital forensic process did not introduce unseen errors into the data, and that the methods they are using work as expected. The software allows authorities to run tests in advance on their digital forensic software to make sure it will not fail them when a suspect's device arrives in the forensic science lab.
Los Angeles Metro Tests Bomb-Detection Equipment in Subway With TSA
Federal and Los Angeles security officials are testing equipment that would detect concealed explosives and suicide vests. The devices, described in an announcement by the Transportation Security Administration and Los Angeles transit officials, are designed to detect improvised explosives by identifying objects that block the natural emissions from a person’s body, according to the TSA.
Police: Gunman Continued Firing After Shooting Chicago Cop in the Hand
A Chicago police officer was wounded in the hand but survived a number of other gunshots during an incident on Dec. 6, including one shot that was later found lodged in his ballistic-resistant vest. Two plainclothes officers had approached a group of individuals loitering in a parking lot; several of them fled and when the officers chased them, one of them turned and began firing on the officers. The wound to the hand knocked the injured officer down, and the suspect continued to fire at the downed man.
Police, Sheriff's Offices Receive Grants from Criminal Justice Services Board
A total of $116,109 in federal grant funding for agencies or nonprofit groups in the city of Martinsville and Henry and Patrick counties has been approved by the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board. A $19,750 Byrne/Justice Assistance Grant was approved for the Martinsville Police Department to offer training titled “Evidence-based practices of First-line Supervision in 21st Century Policing.” The project will provide training for first-line law enforcement supervisors with the appropriate skills necessary for supervising officers in the 21st century with an emphasis on community policing.
Erie-Area State Police Handle Record Year for Homicides
Criminal investigators in Pennsylvania State Police Troop E are wrapping up a record-breaking year for homicides. Investigators in the troop, which covers Erie, Crawford, Warren and Venango counties, have investigated 15 homicides this year, nearly double the number of homicides in the troop’s next-busiest year, police said. All but one of the year’s cases have been cleared through arrest or other means.
Oklahoma to Install High-Speed Cameras to Catch the Uninsured
In 2018, Oklahoma will begin using traffic cameras to scan drivers’ license plates and send tickets to those who do not have insurance. Drivers will face a $184 fine, and if they do not pay, they face possible prosecution. An estimated 25 percent of Oklahoma drivers do not have insurance.
Surveillance Cameras in Bars, Homes Could Feed Into New Orleans Crime Monitoring Center
New Orleans has a new Real Time Crime Monitoring Center, with plans to include feeds from surveillance cameras owned by businesses and residents along with video from city-owned surveillance devices. The center will primarily be staffed by civilian employees, and is part of a multi-million project to decrease crime rates in the city.
All’s Quiet So Far With City’s New Alert System
The LBKAlert system launched a few weeks ago, but so far the Lubbock Police Department has not elected to use it for any public safety event. A department spokesman says that the system is intended for use in times when there is a need for a citywide alert, and the department will err on the side of caution in using it.
Cellphone App Changing the Way Janesville Police Solve Crimes
Since implementing use of the P3 app in 2015, police in Janesville, Wis., have seen an increased number of tips come in to the department. The app allows anyone to send in a photo or a screenshot, and has been used by students to report several possible incidents in schools. The app replaced an earlier text-a-tip program that was not very successful.
FBI Wants to Consolidate Its Data Centers, So It Is Launching a New One
The FBI recently broke ground on a new $100 million, 100,000-square-foot facility in Pocatello, Idaho, that will serve as the center of the bureau’s operations in the Western United States. The FBI plans to consolidate operations and reduce the number of centers it operates in the western half of the country as part of efforts to optimize infrastructure.
Stop the Bleeding: Police Use Tourniquets to Save Their Lives and Others
After a recent incident in which a Pennsylvania state trooper used the tourniquet he carried on his belt to save his own life, several Lehigh Valley departments have become interested in providing the devices to their officers. In addition, some officers are already buying tourniquets for themselves. All Pennsylvania state police officers are provided with the tourniquets, which they have used on civilians and other officers in addition to themselves.
This App Tracks Drug Overdoses in Real Time
In summer 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team created a smartphone app that allows emergency responders to enter the time and location of drug overdoses into a regional mapping database. Use of ODMAP has since spread to more than 250 agencies located in 27 states, and it is the only free tool available that performs this function. This piece looks at how agencies can benefit from its use.
Cameras on School Buses Catch Thousands Breaking Law; Less Than Half of Drivers Pay Fines
Five San Antonio area school districts have thousands of cameras installed on their buses that watch for drivers who pass stopped buses illegally. Passing a stopped bus illegally can cost a driver $300. But KSAT news found that less than half of drivers issued citations have paid fines.
Ohio Attorney General Unveils New Technology to Combat Skimmer Crimes
Cyber crime agents with the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation have a new tool to help local law enforcement agencies investigate crimes involving credit card skimmers. The technology allows the ability to extract data from a majority of credit card skimmers, which criminals use to steal credit card or debit card information from cardholders, according to the attorney general’s office. In a recent case, BCI agents were able to identify more than 700 victims of a single skimmer device.
LI Law Enforcement Officials Escalate Tactics Against Drug Dealers
Long Island law enforcement officials have escalated tactics against drug dealers, charging some alleged dealers linked to the deaths of drug users with manslaughter and tracing dealers through their customers’ cellphone calls and text messages. The tactics are spurred by an opioid epidemic that killed more than 500 people in Nassau and Suffolk counties in 2016. Investigators now treat every overdose as they would a crime scene: getting to it as soon as possible to start gathering and processing evidence from a cellphone.
How Our Police Protect and Serve — in Two Languages
In LaSalle County, Ill., police departments are increasingly relying on sharing the services of Spanish-speaking officers. Three officers from different local jurisdictions all help out with an increasing number of incidents that require a Spanish speaker, and dispatchers and departments also call on the services of a translation service when needed.
New Emergency Phones Include Security Cameras
As the University of Illinois removes older emergency phone kiosks, the school is replacing them with newer models that include surveillance cameras. Although the phones are not often used for 911-type calls – most calls come from students needing a ride or an escort, or undergoing a mental health crisis – they are used frequently for those purposes. The cameras have already paid dividends, providing footage that helped solve at least one criminal case.
From Traffic Stops to Shootouts, This Machine Simulates Over 600 Scenarios Faced by Penn Police
The University of Pennsylvania Department of Public Safety is using a PRISim Suite Judgement Trainer to help prepare university police officers for potential lethal force situations. Unlike other “shoot/don’t shoot” simulators, PRISim requires officers to first complete a mental exercise and become familiar with the scenario. It then allows officers to question and interact with suspects in the scenario.
Ga. Police Officer Shot Dead, Another Wounded
A Polk County (Ga.) deputy was saved by his ballistic-resistant vest, but a detective who provided backup was killed during an encounter with two suspects on Sept. 29, one of whom pulled a handgun and opened fire. Officer David Goodrich returned fire as the suspects fled into nearby woods; one was later captured and the gunman eventually surrendered. Det. Kristin Hearne was in plain clothes as she provided backup; as an investigator, she was not required to wear a protective vest.
Police Want to Know: #DidULockIt?
A social media campaign reminding residents to lock their car and house doors has “gone viral” in central Alabama. At least a half-dozen local law enforcement agencies are participating in the “#DidULockIt?” campaign to combat an increasing number of break-ins in the area.
Police Turn to Microcrystal Drug Testing to Eliminate Backlogs
Washington Examiner, (10/02/017), Ariella Phillips
The San Diego Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Hennepin County are two of only a few law enforcement agencies in the United States using microcrystal drug testing for identification purposes. The technology is simple to use and produces results more quickly than conventional methods, but requires verification by instrument testing before results can be admitted in court, which contributes to departments’ reluctance to adopt it.
Texas Opts in to FirstNet Plan to Deliver a Wireless Broadband Network
Texas is the latest state to opt in to FirstNet, a planned nationwide public safety broadband network. So far, 23 states have opted in. By the end of the year, it’s expected that AT&T will provide pre-emption over its LTE network, meaning “fire, police and EMS will have dedicated access to the network when they need it,” according to a FirstNet release from June.
Protective Vests Donated to Local Police Departments
The Vest-A-Cop Program under the Taylor Community Foundation has donated tactical ballistic vests to police departments in Delaware County, Pa. Police departments for 24 municipalities were awarded at least one vest.
Opioid Problem More Potent in New York
The number of items found by New York state police lab testing containing the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl has risen sharply over the past five years, according to numbers provided. Fentanyl is dangerous to users, and also can be absorbed through the skin, posing dangers to law enforcement and lab personnel. The state labs saw 17 cases in 2013, compared with 209 cases in 2016. The state police have four crime labs where they test evidence, including firearms, fingerprints and drugs.
MSU Researchers Creating Fake Fingers to Test Fingerprint Recognition Systems
Researchers at Michigan State University are developing a fake finger that possesses multiple key properties of human skin to determine how secure biometric recognition systems are, according to a report by MSU Today. Researchers have used the fake finger to test two of the most common types of fingerprint readers to help determine their resilience to spoof attacks. Materials to create the fake fingers include conductive silicone, silicone thinner and pigments. The fake fingers will be used to test the recognition accuracy between different types of fingerprint readers.
Department Upgrades Body Armor Vests
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Arkansas has purchased 16 heavy duty metal plates to use inside body armor. The plates, paid for with a $3,500 grant, weigh five pounds each and add protection. Deputies have been wearing the extra plate during high-risk situations and on search warrants.
Ore. Trooper Saved by Ballistic Vest
An Oregon state trooper on an attempted traffic stop near Creswell was saved by his ballistic-resistant vest when the suspect shot him. The trooper returned fire and the suspect fled; he was captured later in the day.
UPD Trains Faculty for Active Shooter Situation
Police recently held a training at Binghampton University on strategies for surviving an active-shooter situation. The training used simulation, discussion and a video. Madeline Bay, deputy chief of police at Binghamton University’s New York State University Police, said police have been training students, faculty and staff on the topic for years.
3-D Mapping Crash Sites With Drones May Unblock Roads Faster
The North Carolina Transportation Department and North Carolina Highway Patrol are looking into the possibility of using drones to create 3-D models of crash scenes. In a test, the time needed to reconstruct an accident dropped from about two hours to 25 minutes, and officials say use of the drones would also improve officer safety.
Wareham Police Dept. Gets Improved 911 System - Cell Phone Calls Go Direct to Station, Locations Pinpointed
An upgraded 911 system put into place in Wareham, Mass., sends cell phone calls directly to the local police department rather than to the nearby Massachusetts State Police Barracks and also provides greater accuracy in locating the call’s origin. The state began implementing the Next Generation 911 system in 2016.
Lima Police Department to Receive $100,000 for Substance Abuse Assistance for Everyone Program
The Substance Abuse Assistance for Everyone (SAAFE) program, a new initiative in the town of Lima, Ohio, has received a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The program provides drug treatment instead of criminal charges for individuals who indicate they want to overcome their addiction, and was born out of an officer’s desire to help after seeing deaths in the local community due to overdoses. A number of local police departments in the state received similar grants.
Fresno Officer Stabbed in Chest, Saved by Body Armor
A Fresno police officer was stabbed in the chest but uninjured Sept. 5 because of his body armor. Police used a Taser stun gun to subdue the attacker, police said. Officers responded to a report of a man with a Bowie knife attacking a van and smashing its windows. When one officer arrived, police said the man attached the police cruiser. When a second officer arrived, police said the man dropped the Bowie knife but pulled out a smaller knife and stabbed the officer. An officer fired the Taser, subduing the suspect, who faces charges of attempted murder on a police officer.
New Oklahoma DUI Database Helps Police Track Offenders
A new database is helping police departments across Oklahoma improve tracking of DUI offenders. The database requires that DUIs be reported to courts of records, and sets up a system that officers in the state will be able to access to see someone’s DUI history. The database has more than 1,500 active cases entered and 2,500 law enforcement officers enrolled.
New Emergency Pager System Goes Online in Rensselaer County
First responders in Rensselaer County, N.Y., have a new paging system to enhance response times, coordination and communication. The Home Alerting System operates on the county’s 10 emergency communications towers established as part of the total communications system updates. The new system uses high band technology, and will be used to notify first responders of an incident. Over the past four years, county officials have been replacing nearly all of the emergency communications systems including a new radio system, emergency 911 phone system and computer aided dispatch system.
Digital Age Brings New Tools to Help Residents Fight Crime
Chicago police recently hosted a seminar on how residents can help fight crime with video, smartphones and texts. One technology is a system that enables residents to see visitors at their door by using their smartphone. The main focus of the seminar concerned an initiative that enables people with security cameras to share their footage with police.
Berkeley Police Officers Opt for New Bulletproof Vest Carriers to Ease Back Pain
The Berkeley (Calif.) Police Department recently began giving its patrol officers the option of using their own funds or funds from their uniform allowance to purchase new external ballistic-resistant vest carriers, which also hold other equipment normally carried on a duty belt. The carriers, designed to blend with the department’s uniform shirt, are touted as helping relieve back strain. Approximately half of the department’s officers have already opted to purchase the carriers.
How Wearing Radio Transmitters Helps Vulnerable People Who Wander
In Folsom, Calif., the police department has joined several others in the area in participating in Project Lifesaver, under which area residents can sign up to have loved ones who wander receive a GPS tracking bracelet to wear on their wrist. If individuals with Alzheimer’s or developmental disabilities wander away, the devices can help police locate them.
New SHPD Mobile App Gets Positive Feedback
An app that serves as a two-way information sharing portal has proven to be a great success for the police department in St. Helens, Ore. Inaugurated in spring 2017, the app automatically uploads all department press releases for viewing by residents who have registered. It also sends push alerts straight to registered phones in the event of an emergency. Residents can send information to the department in two ways: through a “Got a Tip?” feature and through the “See and Say” option, which provides a drop-down menu allowing residents to provide automatic reports on specific topics such as abandoned vehicles and nuisance complaints.
New Fontana Police Body Cameras Record Video — and Much, Much More
The Fontana (Calif.) Police Department plans to equip its officers with state-of-the-art body cameras. The cameras are actually smartphones loaded with software developed by Silicon Valley-based Visual Labs. The company refers to the cameras as “Body-Worn Computers,” since in addition to being able to take video, they can record audio, transmit officers’ locations to their supervisors and live stream video. The department is using funds from a $546,502 U.S. Department of Justice grant, which was split in half between the Fontana Police Department and the San Bernardino Police Department.
First Responders Participate in Simulated Airport Crisis Exercise
First responders recently participated in an airport crisis drill at Laramie Regional Airport in Wyoming. The simulation involved an airplane’s engine catching fire while taking off. Firefighters put out fire, coroners documented the deceased and law enforcement officials talked to volunteers playing the families and friends of the simulated victims. Participating agencies included the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the Albany County Coroner’s Office and firefighters from the Albany County Fire District No. 1.
Cuyahoga County Fire Departments to Form Rescue Task Forces to Respond to Active Shooter Incidents
Fire departments throughout Cuyahoga County, Ohio, are creating rescue task forces comprising firefighters/paramedics who will rush into buildings with police during active shooter incidents to care for the injured. The county will use a $100,000 federal grant to purchase ballistic vests, ballistic helmets and medical trauma bags for fire departments in the county. During active shooter incidents, two paramedics will enter with two to four law enforcement officers, who will control where they can go.
Police Training Simulator Helps Officers Make Good Decisions in the Field
Police in St. Louis County, Mo., have access to 15 air-powered simulated guns and other tools while using the new Virtra (v-300) simulator designed to provide decision-making and de-escalation training. The simulator features 120 brief training scenarios focusing on use of force. A local foundation paid for the system.
‘False Alarms’ Lead Fall River to Ditch ShotSpotter System
Fall River, Mass., has decided to stop use of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system because a representative of the police department says that officers at times missed actual shots-fired incidents while responding to false reports. The department will reallocate the $90,000 annual maintenance fee and put it toward expanding video surveillance.
New 911 System Is Good News for Those in Trouble
An updated 911 system recently implemented in Texas’ Santa Cruz County uses new mapping software to provide precise GPS data on the location of cellular phone calls. The new software should help the local sheriff’s office locate hikers and others who become lost in the county’s remote terrain and who are unable to provide accurate location data. The old system provided only the location of the nearest cell tower.
Cleveland Officer’s Possible Fentanyl Exposure Highlights Drug’s Threat to Police, Children
A Cleveland police officer was accidentally exposed to possible fentanyl while executing a warrant in the city’s North Collinwood neighborhood and was hospitalized. Law enforcement officials in Northeast Ohio are warning of how exposure to the drug can harm or kill people who simply come into contact with the powerful opioid. Cleveland police Lt. Michael Connelly said half of Cuyahoga County’s overdoses happen within Cleveland’s city limits, creating a greater risk for officers to be exposed to the drug. Connelly said using drugs on a coffee table can put a small child at risk for an overdose.
DPS to Get $600,000 Upgrade of New Dispatch System
The Arizona Department of Public Safety will use a $600,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety for a new, statewide computer-aided dispatch system. The new system will allow the agency to coordinate more quickly with other state law enforcement and government agencies, particularly the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Madison Police Are Now in the Air, Thanks to Two New Drones
The police department in Madison, Wis. is among the latest law enforcement agencies to begin using unmanned aircraft systems. The department has deployed its new drone team five times since June, including an incident in which police used a drone to help map the scene of a homicide and armed robbery at a restaurant. The department’s drones can carry three types of cameras, including an infrared camera. Madison police anticipate using the aircraft for search-and-rescue operations, to look for fugitives, to map crime scenes or help guide officers in tactical situations.
Council Forms to Advance Use of UAS in Public Safety
The newly formed National Council on Public Safety UAS offers a website with numerous UAS resources, including links to Federal Aviation Administration rules and guidelines. The group will focus on promoting education, training, best practices and other resources related to public safety and UAS. The group includes vice chairs from the law enforcement and emergency management fields.
DMV Facial Recognition Device in Nevada Nets '92 Prison Escapee From Minn.
A North Las Vegas man is back behind bars after facial recognition technology used by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles helped identify him as Robert F. Nelson, who escaped from a Minnesota federal correctional facility in 1992. Nelson will have to serve his remaining sentence plus additional time as penalty for the escape.
Azle Improves 911 Response With Free Mobile App
The Azle (Texas) Police Department has implemented use of a free app called Siren GPS to help dispatchers and officers find local residents who call 911 from their cell phones. The app provides the exact location of a cellular caller; the agency says about four-fifths of 911 calls now originate from cell phones.
Four Municipal Police Departments Launch Digital Crime-Fighting Tool
Four municipal police departments in Chester County in Pennsylvania have joined a statewide digital Crime Watch program. The website allows participants access to e-mail alerts for public safety announcements, crimes committed locally, the ability to view recent arrests and most wanted lists, and the ability to submit a tip to local law enforcement. Parkesburg, North Coventry, Southern Chester County Regional Police Department and Kennett Township have signed on to the program.
All Pittsburgh Police Set to Wear Cameras by Next Year
Pittsburgh plans to equip all police officers with body cameras by next year. Currently, 147 officers who are members of motorcycle and bicycle patrols or patrol officers who volunteered for a pilot program wear cameras while on duty. Officers will be equipped with torso mounted cameras that can attach magnetically to shirt or jacket pockets. All officers who respond to calls would be required to wear them.
Police Departments Take to the Skies
Fighting crime from the sky, once the province of helicopters and small airplanes, is now expanding to include the use of drones. In spite of public apprehension about their use, many departments are finding drones useful for finding missing persons, monitoring natural disasters, and assisting with traffic control and accident investigation.
Cops Given Special Gear So They Don’t OD During Drug Busts
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Police Department recently began to train its officers in the use of special protective gear when responding to a drug scene, although the officers are advised, if possible, to wait for trained crime scene technicians to handle any potential drug-related substance. http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/15/cops-given-special-gear-so-they-dont-od-during-drug-busts/
Officer Saved by Bulletproof Vest During Armed Home Invasion
A Hall County, Ga., sheriff’s deputy survived a shot to the torso during a response to a home invasion thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest. http://www.11alive.com/news/local/officer-saved-by-bulletproof-vest-during-armed-home-invasion/449663909
App Gives Responders Mental Health Info for Better Decisions
The RideAlong app integrates with the national 911 system to allow law enforcement officers to access information on how best to interact with registered individuals who have a mental illness https://gcn.com/articles/2017/06/16/ridealong-app-mental-illness.aspx
First Responders Learn How to Identify, Safely Handle Meth Labs
More than 250 police officers, firefighters and emergency responders recently participated in a training session in Hadley, Mass., to learn how to identify and safely handle meth labs and learn about other drugs. The clandestine lab training session was provided by the company that developed the first Basic Clan (short for “clandestine”) Lab and Site Safety Officer programs for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration. One session during the training featured the opioid fentanyl and the dangers of coming into contact with the drug.
Police Deliver Bait Packages to Catch “Porch Pirates”
Police are using bait packages with GPS trackers to find thieves who steal packages delivered to doorsteps. Inside a regular shipping box, officers pack a common delivery item along with a GPS tracking device. In Southern California, Arcadia police say more than 100 suspected thieves have taken the bait. To avoid being a victim, police say residents should have packages delivered to an address where someone can receive them in person. People can also install surveillance cameras to deter thieves.
Erwin Police to Get Body Cameras
Police in Erwin, N.C., will soon be equipped with new, improved body-worn cameras. The department plans to purchase 10 of the nearly $300 cameras for the patrol division. The new cameras are more sophisticated than the ones previously used by the department.
Drone Usage by Local Police, Fire Departments Quickly Increasing
Approximately a dozen police, fire and emergency agencies surrounding the Washington, D.C., area are using drones to capture criminal suspects and fight fires. Departments using the technology include the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, all in Virginia.
Prince William Co. Police to Start Wearing Body Cameras
Police in Prince William County, Va., will begin wearing body cameras in the fall. The department said cameras will be worn by patrol officers, K-9 officers, traffic enforcement and school resource officers. The department tested two systems in a pilot program before deciding which cameras to buy.
Three Samples of Carfentanil Found in Mass. for First Time
The Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory has identified three samples of carfentanil, a lethal synthetic opioid never before identified in the state. The drug is about 100 times more potent than fentanyl and many times more potent than heroin, state police wrote in a statement. It can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled. The statement noted that carfentanil has been used to sedate elephants and has no legitimate medical uses for humans. Police said they are not aware of any deaths in Massachusetts currently tied to carfentanil, but several recent overdose deaths in New Hampshire are believed to be caused by the substance.
First Responders Wear Respirators During Suspected Drug Probe in Weathersfield
Some first responders in Ohio have begun wearing respirators on calls involving suspected drug overdoses, following an incident in early May in which an East Liverpool police officer had to be revived with four doses of Narcan following a response to a drug-involved incident. http://www.wfmj.com/story/35512427/troopers-wear-respirators-during-suspected-drug-probe-in-weathersfield
Think You Can Get Away With Speeding? HPD’s New Radar Might Change Your Mind
Honolulu Police Department patrol cars are being equipped with new radar devices that allow officers to monitor speeds of cars in front of them, behind them and coming from the opposite direction, all while officers continue to drive. The department has used federal grant money to install the sensors in 20 patrol cars, which will reduce the need for officers to stand by the side of the road with radar-measuring devices.
In Opioid Crisis, a New Risk for Police: Accidental Overdose
The Harford County (Md.) Sheriff’s Office has purchased 100 kits that include a protective suit, booties, gloves and face masks for use by deputies responding to potential drug scenes. The kits are a response to a recent incident in which Cpl. Kevin Phillips had to be revived by the anti-overdose drug Narcan after he collected investigative evidence while wearing gloves
Two Georgia Officers Shot; Gunman Sought
Two officers in College Park, Ga., survived an encounter with an armed gunman after a confrontation in a restaurant Saturday afternoon. Neither officer was seriously injured; one survived a shot in the abdomen thanks to his ballistic-resistant vest, while the other took a hit that was primarily deflected by his radio. The suspect remains at large.
Education Service District 105 Use of Technology Has Found New Ways to Keep Schools Safe
Washington State Education District 105 in Yakima has put together a School Safety Operations & Coordination Center (SSOC) that the local sheriff has likened to having a second dispatch center. Staff use an advanced security system to monitor any emergency responses near local schools and initiate action as needed. The Center can also monitor social media at administrator request and uses the Inpointe mobile app to keep in contact with local law enforcement.
National Blue Alert Network for Police Will Borrow Concept From AMBER Alerts
The Community Oriented Policing Services Office and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will jointly administer a new National Blue Alert Network, a nationwide communications system that will quickly circulate information on potentially threatening situations for law enforcement officers. The Federal Communications Commission will act as a third partner in the effort. Like AMBER Alerts, Blue Alerts will quickly spread information to law enforcement, media outlets and the public on the possible whereabouts, physical descriptions, vehicle information and other characteristics of people suspected of attacking law enforcement officers.
Manitowoc Scanners Go Quiet With Encryption
In Wisconsin, the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, Manitowoc Police Department and Two Rivers Police Department have switched to exclusively using encrypted radio channels. Local departments says the change was made to promote officer safety, as residents can no longer use scanners to listen in on police calls.
Facebooking a Felony: How Social Media Is Helping Police Catch Crooks
Social media has become a tool that law enforcement agencies across the country are using to investigate and solve crimes. Cape Coral, Fla., area departments say that it has upped officers’ workload, but also resulted in more arrests and more case resolutions.
While Dispatchers Get Familiar With New Systems, KC Police Officers Told to Refrain From Some Regular Tasks
Until issues have been resolved with the city’s new computer-aided dispatch system, patrol officers in Kansas City, Kan., have been told not to initiate calls to dispatch by stopping speeding drivers, pulling people over, or making any other routine traffic stops or self-initiated activities. The stoppage is intended to give dispatchers time to become more familiar with the new system. Officers are to continue to initiate action in the event of an emergency, however.
Missing Fairfax Co. Woman Identified, Confirmed Dead 27 Years Later
Police in Orange County, Calif., have used the National Institute of Justice’s NamUS (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System) to solve a 27-year-old cold case and bring closure to the family of a Fairfax County, Va., woman. The department entered DNA, fingerprints and other physical material into the system, and positively identified the woman based on fingerprints taken when she had worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Metro Looks for New Options for Less Lethal Force, Shows Off New Sponge Rounds
Metro Las Vegas Police will begin using a new sponge round this summer to increase their less lethal options. The new rounds are bigger and somewhat softer than the beanbags currently used by the force, but actually produce more pain. The rounds are shot out of a weapon that looks like a 1930s tommy gun.
Police Officers Warned About Handling Deadly Drug Mixtures
An Ohio police officer nearly died after patting down a suspect. Police say the officer accidently came into contact with a suspected deadly mixture of fentanyl. http://www.morningjournalnews.com/news/local-news/2017/05/traffic-stop-almost-turns-deadly-for-elo-officer/
Davenport Police Release Educational Video to Fight Vehicle Thefts
A rash of vehicle thefts, thought to be the work of juveniles, has prompted the Davenport (Iowa) Police Department to release an educational video telling residents what to look out for to help combat the thefts. http://www.kwqc.com/content/news/Davenport-Police-release-educational-video-to-fight-vehicle-thefts-421246584.html
Hennepin County, Minn., Sheriff's Office Joins Private-Sector Partnership
Minnesota’s Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has become the 10th law enforcement agency in the country to start its own Shield program, a public-private information-sharing partnership that is modeled after, and an affiliate member of, the NYPD Shield. http://www.govtech.com/public-safety/Hennepin-County-Sheriffs-Office-Joins-Private-Sector-Partnership.html
Texas Police Department Implements Distance Measuring Radar Device to Catch Close Passers
The Houston Police Department recently began using a C3FT device on all patrol bicycles that will allow officers to ensure that vehicles keep to the minimum 3-foot distance when passing cyclists. The new technology will help officers enforce the city’s 2013 Safe Passing/Vulnerable Road User Ordinance.
3 Seattle Cops Shot as 7-Eleven Robbery Turns Deadly
Three Seattle police officers, one of whom was saved by her body armor, are recovering from wounds sustained while responding to a reported robbery at a convenience store on April 21. A 42-year-old female officer was reported in satisfactory condition after her armor apparently blocked a bullet; one of the two male officers shot in the incident received a flesh wound in the hand and was treated and released. The second took an initial shot in the face that was deflected downward; he was in serious but stable condition. The robbery suspect died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Gunfire Sensors Credited With Quick Arrest in Fresno Rampage
The Fresno Police Department gives credit to its gunshot detection system for the fast apprehension of Kori Ali Muhammad, the gunman accused of killing three people April 18 in what has been described as a hate crime vendetta. http://www.ctpost.com/business/technology/article/Gunfire-sensors-credited-with-swift-arrest-in-11087383.php
Vacant Colorado School Used to Train Law Enforcement for School Shootings
The Frank DeAngelis Center for Community Safety in Wheat Ridge, Colo., which is housed in a former elementary school, offers a one-of-a-kind training facility for dealing with school shootings. SWAT teams and other law enforcement officers from agencies across the nation have been using the training center, where a donated use-of-force simulator uses actors to recreate domestic violence situations and incidents involving mentally ill individuals, in addition to school shootings.
Greenville Police to Wear Body Cameras by the First Week of May
Police in Greenville, S.C., will soon be wearing body cameras. The city police department is one of the final law enforcement agencies in Greenville County to implement the technology. http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/crime/2017/04/12/greenville-police-wear-body-cameras-first-week-may/100365328/
New Computer-Aided Dispatch System Unites Local Public Safety Agencies
South Sound 911 and the Tacoma Fire Department in Washington have launched a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, officially uniting public safety agencies countywide. All local police and fire agencies are now united on a single dispatch platform. The countywide CAD project was a six-year undertaking, and brought all public safety call takers, dispatchers and first responders onto the same CAD system to facilitate emergency communications and interoperability.
Marquette University Establishes Milwaukee Area’s First Cyber Security Center
Marquette University has established a center that will focus on cyber security education, research and community involvement. The Center for Cyber Security Awareness and Cyber Defense will help prepare Marquette students for cyber security professions, provide education on topics related to cyber security, and host events. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/education/2017/04/09/marquette-university-establishes-milwaukee-areas-first-cyber-security-center/99537324/
AT&T to Build Wireless Network for First Responders
The U.S. Department of Commerce has picked AT&T to build and operate a new nationwide broadband communications network exclusively for use by police, firefighters and other first responders. The creation of the network, which has been in the planning stages since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, will allow seamless communication among agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2017/03/30/att-first-responders-network/
Anthony Greiter, social media coordinator for the Iowa State University police department, has used color and humor as he has built a Twitter following of more than 17,000. He says he has found humor the best way to reach his audience, which consists mainly of young university students; the department then can count on reaching a large audience when it needs to quickly spread important information related to emergencies and crimes.
Police Give Domestic Violence Victims Cell Phones for 911 Calls
Farmington, N.M., area residents are encouraged to donate older, unused cell phones and chargers to the Farmington Police Department. Victim advocates will pass them on to victims of domestic violence who have no other way to contact authorities. The phones should be factory reset. New Mexico had more than 17,500 reported incidents of domestic violence in 2015.
California Police Officer Saved by Ballistic Vest
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.
Officers Given New Uniform Options to Help With Comfort and Efficiency
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.
Corvallis Police Convert Shotguns to Use Less Lethal Rounds
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 themhttp://democratherald.com/corvallis/news/local/corvallis-police-convert-shotguns-to-use-less-lethal-rounds/article_a62250f2-904e-52f4-9908-647f477be00b.html
Law Enforcement Cautions Against New Social Media App
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.
Deputy’s Bulletproof Vest Stops Gunshot in Hesperia; Suspect in Custody
Daily Bulletin, (03/16/2017), Beatriz Valenzuela
A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy survived a shooting following an armed robbery in the early morning hours of March 16. The deputy was treated for minor injuries and released the same morning. Authorities were investigating an armed robbery that took place about 12:30 a.m.
Duval County Creates Safety Hotline to Report School Threats
News4JAX, (03/16/2017), Francesca Amiker
Duval County School Police will manage a new hotline, 904-348-SAFE (7233), and email address, 348SAFE@duvalschools.org, that students, faculty and parents can use to report threats or incidents of school violence. In addition to the anonymous tip reporting service, the school district is also instituting random searches and planning several educational programs. http://www.news4jax.com/education/duval-county-creates-safety-hotline-to-report-school-threats
More Details Emerge in Shooting of 2 Detroit Officers
(03/16/2017), Associated Press
Two Detroit Police Department officers will recover from injuries sustained when a suspect in a narcotics investigation shot both of them during the night of March 15. One of the officers’ body armor stopped two bullets to the chest area; he was shot in the ankle. The other took a hit in the neck but will survive, according to a police statement.
Okla. EMS Agency Equipped With Body Armor
The Bryan County EMS in Oklahoma has added 30 ballistic-resistant vests to its protective gear for personnel. The agency’s personnel will also undergo active shooter training with local law enforcement throughout the year.
FBI Unveils Plans for New Regional Computer Forensic Lab
The FBI plans to open a regional computer forensic lab in the new Chelsea, Mass., headquarters of the agency’s Boston division. The lab can serve as a resource for area law enforcement agencies. http://www.chelsearecord.com/2017/03/10/fbi-unveils-plans-for-new-regional-computer-forensic-lab/
LPD Officers Equipped With Overdose-Reversal Drug
Police in Lincolnton, N.C., are among the latest law enforcement officers to begin carrying Narcan (naloxone), a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. Patrol officers and school resource officers who are assigned a vehicle and are trained to administer the drug will carry the kit, which contains intra-nasal and/or auto-injector naloxone, in their vehicles while on duty.
Forensic 'Body Farm' Opens in Florida - Becomes Seventh in US
A state-of-the-art human decomposition research facility known as the Florida Forensic Institute for Research, Security and Tactical Training (FIRST) will open near Tampa. The facility, sometimes called a body farm, will include body donations but will also serve as a training site for K9, ballistics, remote sensing and other cutting-edge forensic techniques. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinakillgrove/2017/02/28/new-body-farm-opens-in-florida-becomes-7th-in-u-s/#444bfafb2864
Phoenix Police Launch Virtual Block Watch
The Phoenix Police Department has started a pilot Virtual Block Watch in one precinct, encouraging residents and business owners to enroll their camera systems for inclusion in a precinct-wide map. Investigators may then call on participants to share footage in the event of a nearby crime.
New Police Drone Takes Flight in Morrow
The Morrow Police Department in Georgia is among the latest law enforcement agencies to begin using an unmanned aerial system. Police have used the device in a search for a missing person, and anticipate using it in busy commercial areas to patrol parking lots to curtail break-ins.
Chesapeake Launches Mobile App Aimed at Getting Quicker Aid to Cardiac Arrest Victims
Chesapeake, Va., has launched a free mobile app aimed at getting help to people suffering cardiac arrest as quickly as possible, even before first responders arrive. The PulsePoint app notifies CPR-trained users of sudden cardiac arrests in nearby public places.
Chattanooga City Council Approves $750,000 in Tools for Police Intelligence Center
The Chattanooga City Council has approved $750,000 in cameras, software and video networking tools for the police department’s Real-Time Intelligence Center. Technology items to be purchased include 15 pole-mounted cameras, networking software and a video monitor wall for the center. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/politics/local/story/2017/feb/15/chattanoogcity-council-oks-tools-police-intel/412916/
Suffolk Police Invest in New Technology to Help Keep Officers Safe
Three new robots for inspecting suspicious packages are among items recently purchased by the Suffolk County Police Department on New York’s Long Island. http://wshu.org/post/suffolk-police-invest-new-technology-help-keep-officers-safe
State Grants Keep Delaware Police Departments Up-to-Date
Law enforcement agencies in Delaware used $330,479 in FY 2016 state grants to add equipment, training and patrol hours. Camden police purchased two workstation computers and eight riot helmets. Dover police used the funds for its cadet program, technology upgrades in police cruisers, its planning and training unit, and to aid vice and organized crime investigations. The Clayton PD fitted a new patrol vehicle with emergency lighting, siren and prisoner partition.
Michigan Schools Awarded $2 Million in Safety, Security Grants
Fifty-two Michigan schools will receive part of nearly $2 million in state grants to improve safety and security through the purchase of equipment and technology, according to the Michigan State Police. http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/michigan_schools_awarded_2_mil.html
Using Cell Phones to Fight Crime
The Aurora (Ill.) Police Department has launched a campaign titled "Click, then Call," to encourage residents to use their cell phones to take photos and video of suspicious activity, then share them with the department. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-click-then-call-st-0203-20170202-story.html
New FBI Wanted App: Making It Easier to Find Fugitives and Missing Persons
The just-released FBI Wanted mobile app allows the public to view, search, sort, filter and bookmark the full range of information issued by the FBI, including pictures and descriptions of wanted fugitives, missing persons, crime suspects, deceased victims and others the Bureau is seeking to locate or identify. https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/new-fbi-wanted-app
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Uses NIJ’s SHOW App
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Stevens Creek Church in Columbia County, Ga., are using the National Institute of Justice’s Safeguarding Houses of Worship app, which helps congregations assess their security risks and plan accordingly. http://wjbf.com/2017/01/19/columbia-county-sheriffs-office-becomes-first-in-the-nation-to-use-church-safety-app/
Muhlenberg Police Department Launch Digital Crime Fighting Tool
Muhlenberg Township, Penn., has a new website that provides the public direct access to crime- and public safety-related information. http://www.bctv.org/special_reports/safety/muhlenberg-police-department-launch-digital-crime-fighting-tool/article_e2336e28-ddab-11e6-8ddd-dfff3c043839.html
Valparaiso Police Launch UAS Program
Police in Valparaiso, Ind., are using unmanned aerial systems to assist in investigations such as locating missing persons and taking crime scene photos. http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/valparaiso-police-launch-drone-program/article_fc1cea1c-43c9-534a-b963-6c007643559a.html
New Pa. Alert System to Connect With Stranded Motorists
Pennsylvania has a new system to allow officials to better communicate with motorists stranded for more than two hours on the state’s highways. The 511PAConnect system will send a message to all cellphones in a specific area when a standstill occurs on a limited-access highway. Read more here.
‘Tool Kit’ Announced to Aid Law Enforcement With Backlogged Rape Kits
Kentucky law enforcement agencies now have a “tool kit” to help deal with thousands of untested rape kits.
Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Get Funding to Improve Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety
Law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in Florida will use grant money to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. The grants come from the Florida Department of Transportation and the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research.
Aviation Unit Returns to the Department of Natural Resources
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources again has a helicopter as an enforcement tool. The aircraft will be used as a surveillance platform to assist Natural Resources police officers as they patrol 17,000 miles of waterways and nearly a half-million acres of public lands. http://helihub.com/2016/12/04/aviation-unit-returns-to-the-department-of-natural-resources/
Indiana Launches Predictive Crash Tool for Citizens, First Responders
Indiana has a new website to help drivers and first responders with predicting and avoiding traffic accidents. http://www.govtech.com/data/Indiana-Launches-Predictive-Crash-Tool-for-Citizens-First-Responders.html
FWB Police to Start Wearing Body Cameras
Police in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will soon be wearing body cameras. The city will purchase 35 body cameras for its officers, and 35 vehicle cameras to replace outdated patrol car cameras. the use of body cameras can improve policing practices and community relations.
Several Universities Have Gunshot-Detection Technology. UMD Might Follow Suit
University of Maryland police are piloting gunshot-detection technology on campus. The SecureCampus technology, developed by ShotSpotter, can pinpoint the location of gunfire using strategically placed sensors. http://www.dbknews.com/2016/12/01/university-of-maryland-police-gun-testing/
Fort Bend ISD Police Officers to Wear Body Cameras in Schools
Officers with the Fort Bend (Texas) Independent School District Police Department will begin wearing body cameras after the Thanksgiving holidays. The department’s chief said the decision to order the cameras was made a year ago because of reports of disturbing use of force at the national and state levels.
LAPD Could Roll Out ‘Less-lethal’ Weapon Citywide to Curb Escalation
A Los Angeles Police Department review committee will determine whether a three-month pilot project expanding the use of less-lethal guns that fire 40-mm sponge rounds will continue as a citywide deployment of the devices. The guns are intended to incapacitate, but not kill, a subject.
Atlanta Police Will Get New Body Armor With $900,000 Ga. Power Donation
The Atlanta Police Department will purchase new helmets and body armor designed to protect against assault weapons using a $900,000 donation from Georgia Power and matching funds from the city. About 1,500 protective vests and helmets will go to police, while 281 will go to firefighters and 75 to department of corrections officers.
Surveillance Poles to Combat Crime in Downtown Santa Ana
The city of Santa Ana has installed seven code blue help points downtown to help fight crime. Each point is equipped with a camera, an information call button and a 911 call button. Police said the points can provide evidentiary value in the event of a crime and provide an additional resource for the public. The blue flashing lights make the poles easy to spot, and the poles can be used by police in a large-scale emergency to address the public with a live or recorded message. When the help button is pushed, the call dispatcher can see and hear the person who is calling for help.
Missouri City Awarded Bulletproof Vest Grant
The police department in Missouri City, Texas, will be able to purchase body armor with grant funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance Fiscal Year 2016 Bulletproof Vest Partnership program. The city has received this recurring grant for more than a decade, which reimburses the police department for 50 percent of the costs for replacement of body armor.
LMPD Says Gunshot Detection System Could Help Investigate City’s Shootings
Police in Louisville, Ky., want to use a gunshot detection system to improve response time and help with investigating shootings. The detection systems use a network of microphones to triangulate the sound of gunshots and provide a location to police. The department recently presented research on the systems to the Louisville Metro Council Public Safety Committee.
School Shooting Drill Tests Readiness and New Police Drones
The Modesto Police Department recently used unmanned aerial vehicles in an active shooter training exercise held in conjunction with the Stanislaus Union School District. For the drill, a mobile command with video screens served as home base for the UAV operators, who then relayed information to officers on the ground. Read the story here.
3D-Printed Fake Hand Fools Fingerprint Readers
Michigan State University scientists testing the accuracy of commercial fingerprint scanners discovered that the scanners can be tricked with a 3D-printed fake hand. The finding was incidental to their goal of testing the accuracy of a set of fingerprint scanners. Read more here.
California Shares Cybercrime Services With Local Law Enforcement
The California Cyber Crime Center (C4) is now serving police departments in cities and counties throughout the state. C4 will serve 46 of California’s 58 counties. The state is also continuing its programs to train law enforcement in the detection and assessment of digital crime.
Virginia Law Enforcement Get Cell Phones to Help Domestic Violence Victims
Verizon Wireless is loaning 500 cell phones to Virginia police officers through a partnership with the Virginia Attorney General’s office. The officers use the phones to connect individuals perceived to be at risk of domestic violence with needed services. Read more here.
New Simulator Designed To Improve Officer Training, Safety
As part of a revamp of the Denver Police Department’s training program, the city has a 300-degree training simulator that can be customized with local settings to allow officers to practice making split-second decisions about use of force, verbal de-escalation and less-lethal options.
“Premise Alerts” Prepare First Responders for Special Situations
Residents of Cambria County, Pa., may submit “premise alert” forms to the county’s Department of Emergency Services. Information from the forms will be tied to their addresses and will alert fire, police and EMS personnel that an individual with special needs – such as autism, Alzheimer’s, poor articulation due to stroke, hearing loss, lack of knowledge of spoken English, etc. – lives at that address.
FBI Releases Materials Explaining the N-DEx System
The FBI has produced a fact sheet and a brochure on its N-DEx system, a database from thousands of law enforcement and criminal just data sources, available at no cost to agencies. Search hundreds of millions of records and/or participate by sharing your own data. Find the fact sheet here: https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/2016-it-n-dex.pdf/view and the brochure here: https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/n-dex-brochure.pdf/view.
NYPD Will Add Cameras to Prisoner Transport Vans
NYPD plans to retrofit all 110 prisoner transport vans already in service with security cameras, at a cost of $2,100; new vans coming online will also carry the equipment. Read the story here.
Miami-Dade High School Preparing Students for Law Enforcement Careers
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, near the Miami Police Department, offers an AA degree and certification that allows them to enroll in a four-year institution of higher learning or attend a police academy. Read the story here.
The FBI released, Crime in the United States 2015, an annual compilation of crimes reported to its Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). The report indicates an increase in violent crime and a decrease property crime. Find info on the report here.
GA Police Officer Saved by Wearing Body Armor
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting of a patrol officer in Jackson overnight Tuesday. Officer Sherry Hall approached a man sitting on the shoulder of a road to see if he needed assistance; the man became argumentative and then fired a shot at her, authorities said. Hall sustained a deep bruise in the abdomen but the bullet was stopped by her ballistic-resistant vest. http://www.ajc.com/news/news/crime-law/jackson-cop-shot-body-armor-saves-her/nsXK8/
APD Receives Grant to Help With DNA Lab Backlog
Austin police will use a $200,000 grant from NIJ to help reduce the backlog of DNA testing of evidence, including sexual assault kits.
City Approves Money for New Crime Lab Technology
The Albuquerque Police Department will be getting equipment and training for a local system of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). The city council approved $140,000 for the equipment. Managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, NIBIN is a database which allows for comparison of ballistic evidence.
Cincinnati Police Deploy First Officer Body Cameras
Cincinnati has begun rollout of body-worn cameras for police officers. Officials expect to distribute 700 cameras by the end of the year. City officials have said officers don’t have to tell citizens that they’re being recorded. Officers will be required to activate the cameras in various emergency situations.
Eaton County Sheriff Deputies Now Using Mobile Fingerprint Scanners
A Michigan sheriff’s office is using mobile fingerprint scanners to accelerate identification of wanted persons. The Eaton County Sheriff's Office is among the first law enforcement agencies in mid-Michigan to implement the scanners, which are linked to the police in-car computers that transmit a scanned fingerprint to the Michigan Automated Fingerprint Identification System and to the FBI National Fingerprint database. In minutes, deputies can know if there is a record on file which positively identifies the person.
Police Use App to Locate Stolen Phones Before Arresting Suspects
Police in Buffalo, N.Y., recently used the “Find iPhone” app to help apprehend three persons suspected of an armed robbery that included theft of two cellphones. The three were charged with numerous offenses, including armed robbery.
Simulator Mimics Stressful Calls Police May Get
The police department in Cape May, N.J., is addressing the stressful situations faced by today’s law enforcement officers by implementing the latest in virtual reality technology. The equipment, consisting of a freeware advanced audio coder (FAAC) and the Milo firearms simulator, allow trainers at the agency’s training academy to take an officer from the moment of receiving a call in a patrol car through the completion of an incident involving use-of-force decisions.
Personal Armor and Fit Assessment is a new publication to help law enforcement and corrections professionals determine how well body armor fits. It provides a checklist for officers to rate proper coverage and ease of motion among other issues regarding body armor. Find the checklist here.
New Fact Sheet on Understanding NIJ 0101.06 Armor Protection Levels
NIJ has issued a new fact sheet for law enforcement and corrections professionals who are looking for detailed information on the levels of protection provided by NIJ compliant ballistic body armor. The publication explains existing levels of protection and what compliant products are tested against. Find the downloadable fact sheet here.
Falmouth Police Procure State-of-the-Art Vessel
The Falmouth, Maine police department purchased a new harbor patrol boat with advanced technology. The $327,000 vessel was purchased in part with a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The 27-foot boat’s advanced technology systems include a device that can pick up heat signatures of people in the water; an advanced navigation system and automatic course plotter that maps out hazards; a multi-unit communication system to connect with other agencies, and a radar system that can help in recovery missions. Read more here. http://www.theforecaster.net/falmouth-police-procure-state-of-the-art-vessel/
Harrisburg Police Start Database of Private Video Systems to Help Solve Crimes
Police in Harrisburg, Pa., are compiling a database of businesses and residences with video surveillance systems. The database is designed to help direct detectives to camera systems near where a crime is reported. Registering a video system with the police if voluntary. Police will contact owners of video systems if they need help with a crime. Read more here.
Cincinnati Police Body Camera Program Starts August 1
The Cincinnati Police Department will begin deploying body worn cameras on August 1. The city will initially have about 700 cameras for patrol officers, and is seeking funding for 400 more devices. The department has established guidelines for using the cameras. Read more here.
The City Of Houston Will Add Radiation Detection to Crime Fighting Tools
The City of Houston has received a five-year, $30 million grant for equipment to detect radioactive material, including 5,000 to 6,000 radiation detectors to be issued to first responders and equipment for 15 to 20 vehicles, including cars, boats and aircraft. Houston is the fourth city to receive grant money under the Securing the Cities initiative. Other participants are New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Read more here: Article
NIJ’s New JTIC Is the Go-To Technology Resource for Criminal Justice Professionals
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today introduced the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC). As a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System, the new JTIC is a part of NIJ’s comprehensive strategy to more effectively serve the changing information-gathering needs of key decision makers in law enforcement, courts and corrections agencies.
JTIC is the go-to source for those who make decisions for criminal justice agencies regarding the evaluation, selection and purchase of equipment and technology. As a comprehensive resource portal for professionals to gather information on innovations in technology that are transforming the criminal justice system, JTIC is designed to provide these decision makers with timely, relevant and unbiased information they need to select and acquire equipment that has been evaluated and proven to be effective and safe.
“JTIC can be accessed through familiar avenues such as JUSTNET, JUSTNET-News and TechBeat,” said JTIC’s Director, Lance Miller. “In addition, the Compliance Testing Program will be a key component of JTIC. Agencies will also find up-to-date information about current and pending NIJ standards and research.”
Through JTIC, NIJ will upgrade its ability to communicate policies and disseminate information to those who enhance public safety in communities across the country. “The center will make improvements to online products, videos and printed materials to reflect NIJ’s ongoing commitment to providing cutting-edge research results and information on technology,” said Miller.
For more information on JTIC, go to www.justnet.org.
BJA Body-worn Camera Toolkit Updates
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has announced enhancements to its Body-Worn Camera Toolkit, an online resource for law enforcement professionals interested in planning and implementing a body-worn camera program. This toolkit consolidates and translates the growing body of knowledge about BWC programs and technology. See the updates to the RSS Feed, announcements, the podcast page and the video gallery.
Protect Your School with This New App
SROs: Conduct a safety assessment of your campus, inside and out. Request a copy of NLECTC’s School Safe app. It’s free, but limited to qualified SROs and school administrators. Find info here.