Highlights from this issue include:
Google Glass: A Fit for NYPD?
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is looking at whether Google Glass will have value in investigations. “As part of an ongoing interest in the advancements in the field of technology, the NYPD regularly conducts reviews of various equipment, devices, programs and other consumer products for their potential application or utility in the area of policing,” Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said in a statement reported by CNN.
Glass is a lightweight, wearable technology which can be customized with different shades, frames and earbuds. Many of the capabilities of a smartphone or laptop are available via Glass. It has a 5MP camera and 720p video capability. Its resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high-definition screen from eight feet away.
The technology initially was only available through Google’s Glass Explorer Program which allows organizations or individuals to test the glasses for $1,500.00, and went on sale publicly for one day in April.
To view a copy of CNN’s report, visit www.cnn.com/2014/02/08/us/nypd-google-glass/.
Seattle to Use Facial Recognition
A $1.64 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security will fund facial recognition technology for the Seattle Police Department. The Seattle City Council in March approved the police department’s use of facial recognition software based on a policy the department created with input from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington.
In a blog, Doug Klunder, ACLU-WA Privacy Counsel, wrote, “The ACLU has long been concerned about the use of facial recognition systems and the broad fishing expeditions for which they can be used. That’s why the ACLU of Washington worked hard to change the Seattle Police Department’s proposed policy for the Booking Photo Comparison Software (BPCS). When we learned of the proposed policy, we objected because it allowed the use of facial recognition software for people who were not suspected of wrongdoing. We asked Seattle to change the proposal and limit the use of BPCS to criminal suspects. …”
“…Two key aspects of the system and the policy for its use make BPCS different from the vast majority of other proposed and implemented facial recognition systems: The system won’t generate any new images and it will only be used to identify people already reasonably suspected of criminal activity.”
Hash Oil Extraction Demand Brings New Risks
An increase in the number of hash oil extraction labs in the province of Alberta, Canada, is increasing the risk of fires and explosions. The Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) and Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) are renewing their plea to the public to report marijuana grow operations due to the risks they pose.
ALERT’s Green Team, made up of Calgary Police Service (CPS), Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members, is familiar with the risks of grow operations, but states that the hash oil extraction process presents a whole new level of danger due to its use of highly flammable chemicals such as butane gas and isopropyl alcohol.
“The hash oil extraction process is extremely dangerous for residents, neighbors and first responders,” said Sgt. Dwayne Karpo of Green Team North. “We are seeing people try to emulate the process by watching videos on the Internet, but, in some cases, the results have been deadly.”
Hash oil is made using the byproduct of a marijuana plant, with the leaves and stems being soaked in butane gas or isopropyl alcohol to extract the potent cannabinoid containing resin. The process is very dangerous and has led to several explosions and fires in the past year. In May 2013, an explosion at an Evansburg extraction lab killed one man, left another man seriously injured and completely leveled the home.
“Extraction labs pose an increased risk to public safety, as well as to emergency first responders,” said Fire Marshal Tom Karpa, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services. “The volume of volatile and flammable liquids stored in an extraction lab generally far exceeds the allowable amount for a residential occupancy, greatly increasing the risk of fire and explosion. Firefighters are not expecting these types of volatiles when they respond to an event at a residential occupancy.”
The demand for hash oil, or cannabis resin, is attributed to the proliferation of electronic cigarettes. Users report a more intense high than marijuana and it is more discreet with almost no odor.
The Green Team is an ALERT team established and funded by the Government of Alberta to bring together the province’s most sophisticated lawenforcement resources to tackle serious and organized crime. Nearly 400 municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs work for ALERT.
For more information, visit www.alert-ab.ca/.
Social Media Links Community and Police, Combats Crime
The Oakland (CA) Police Department (OPD) is utilizing social media to help reduce crime. During a preliminary investigation, officers were able to obtain descriptions of a shooter, his companion and a description of a vehicle associated with them. The Oakland Police Department’s commander for the area in which the shooting occurred issued a community alert using the Web site, Nixle.com.
Later the same day, a member of the community, having seen the Nixle alert, reported the vehicle’s location. Officers were then able to locate a man matching the shooter’s description and recovered a firearm.
In a press release, the OPD said, “As we strive to improve our relationships with the community, these new methods of communication continue to prove how we can work together to solve and reduce crime.”
In fall 2013, the IACP conducted its fourth annual survey about law enforcement’s use of social media. Some of the survey’s highlights include:
• 95.9 % of agencies surveyed use social media in some capacity;
• The most common use of social media is for criminal investigations (86.1%);
• The most frequently used social media platforms are Facebook (92.1%), Twitter (64.8%), and YouTube (42.9%);
• 80.4% of agencies report that social media has helped solve crimes in their jurisdiction; and
• 73.1% of agencies state that social media has improved police/community relations in their jurisdiction.
A total of 500 law enforcement agencies participated in the survey. For more information about the survey or IACP’s Center for Social Media, visit www.IACPsocialmedia.org.
ONDP: Five Things to Know About Opioid Overdoses
1. More Americans are using and dying from prescription painkillers than from heroin.
2. There is no such thing as a “good batch” of heroin versus a “tainted batch” of heroin. Any heroin use can lead to a fatal overdose. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDP) is aware of reports of fentanyl abuse from information provided by coroners and medical examiners in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Michigan, and are monitoring this closely.
3. Heroin and prescription drug abuse are not limited to any certain demographic or geographic area. The ONDP has, however, seen indications that heroin use is increasing among young adults which is a serious concern.
4. The vast majority of heroin in the United States comes from Colombia and Mexico.
5. Every overdose is preventable. The Obama Administration is encouraging first responders to carry the overdose reversal drug, Naloxone. Used in concert with “Good Samaritan” laws which grant immunity from criminal prosecution to those seeking medical help for someone experiencing an overdose, it can and will save lives.
For more information, see www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/02/11/5-things-know-about-opioid-overdoses.
Downed Officer Kit Helps Save Dallas Officer
Just ten weeks after new Downed Officer Kits (DOKs) were issued to Dallas Police Department officers, a DOK wasused to treat an officer wounded in the line of duty. Lt. Alex Eastman, the PD’s Deputy Medical Director, said, “Immediately after Officer Joshua Burns sustained multiple gunshot wounds on duty, fellow officers came to his aid using the contents of the DOK. Fellow officers applied a tourniquet and used gauze to treat Officer Burns’ wounds, stopping his bleeding, prior to the arrival of Dallas Fire-Rescue.”
The DOK contains hemorrhage control equipment and is designed to allow officers to save a life in the event of injury.
Eastman continued, “While designed to give officers the equipment and knowledge to save our own, over 1,500 kits have been deployed into the field and are on the streets of Dallas, making our community safer.” Dallas Police officers are now trained and equipped to control massive bleeding right at the point of injury. “While we never want to see an officer or citizen injured,” Eastman said, “we are more prepared now to save lives when the unthinkable happens.”
PERF Report Details Changes in Police Response to Active Shooter Incidents
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has released The Police Response to Active Shooter Incidents which describes changes in police departments’ practices in responding to mass shootings, such as the ones which occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Washington, DC, Navy Yard.
The report, which is part of the “Critical Issues in Policing” series supported by the
Motorola Solutions Foundation, is based on PERF research and information provided by police chiefs and other experts at a 2013 conference held by PERF.
Today’s policies and practices are focused on reducing the number of victims when an active shooter incident happens. There is an emphasis on engaging the shooter as quickly as possible and not necessarily waiting for SWAT or other special units to arrive.
In addition, police, fire and emergency medical services are conducting joint training designed to get medical assistance to gunshot victims as quickly as possible. Sometimes, this involves allowing EMS workers to enter “warm zones” before it is certain that the shooter, or shooters, has been apprehended. And, police officers can be trained to give lifesaving medical care.
The report also describes efforts by police to work with other governmental and private
organizations to prevent active shooter incidents by identifying persons who may
pose a threat and helping them to get treatment for mental illness or other needs.
Finally, the report discusses ways in which police can educate community members
about what to do if they are confronted with an active shooting situation.
To download a copy of the report, visit http://tinyurl.com/kh63fra.
Hero911 Issues Active School Shootings Alerts
A new social network is using mobile technology to provide an increased level of protection during school shootings as they unfold. The national Hero911 Network is a voluntary, nonprofit group of federal, state and local law enforcement officers dedicated to reducing response times to active school shooting incidents.
The launch of the group’s Hero911 app is designed to increase the number of officers – on or off duty – who can respond to these incidents and save as many students and teachers as possible.
Any of the nearly 900,000 active federal, state or local law enforcement officers nationwide can download the Hero911 app for free on their iOS and Android smartphones. Even retired officers who go through annual certification to carry their weapons are eligible to join this social protection network. Once applicants complete the sign-up process, they will be vetted to confirm they are in fact law enforcement officers. Once confirmed, their app will be activated and they will receive an emergency alert if they are in close proximity to an active school shooting.
The Hero911 app will work in concert with the Hero911 Network’s new companion app for teachers and school staff. The SchoolGuard app is a uniquely designed panic button for smartphones which will allow a teacher to speed dial 911 while simultaneously alerting all other teachers and school staff, neighboring schools and nearby on and off duty police via the Hero911 Network. SchoolGuard is currently being implemented in schools and school districts across the nation. The apps will display a Google map with the building’s footprint and pinpoint the location within the school where the initial alert was triggered. The responders and teachers can use this information for situational awareness of the incident and egress to safety. For more information, go to www.hero911.org/ or www.SchoolGuard.com.