Public Safety

  • Sprint customers first to receive wireless emergency alerts

    Thanks to Sprint, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will now be able to broadcast wireless emergency alerts to cell phones for the first time; the move allows FEMA, the president of the United States, the National Weather Service, or local and state emergency officials to broadcast warning messages and safety information through text messages

  • Surveillance plane to circle Lancaster ten hours a day

    Beginning in May, a Cessna 172 airplane will hover over the Lancaster, California for ten hours a day collecting intelligence and keeping an eye on residents; the surveillance program was recently approved by city leaders in an effort to fight crime, but the prospect of aerial surveillance has critics concerned about privacy violations

  • Technology helps Detroit fight crime

    Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. credits new technology and tactics for helping to reduce homicides by 15 percent

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  • Drones and privacy

    With civilian unmanned surveillance drones now capable of listening in on cell phone conversations, monitoring Wi-Fi traffic, seeing into backyards and windows not visible from the street, and tracking a person’s movement privacy advocates are concerned that the rapid advances in technology could violate privacy rights

  • Montgomery County adds drone to arsenal

    For local police departments who do not have a helicopter unit or cannot afford one, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quickly becoming a cheap solution; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas recently purchased the ShadowHawk, a small remote controlled helicopter manufactured by Vanguard Defense Industries

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  • Nature inspires advances in ultrasound technology

    Sonar and ultrasound, which use sound as a navigational device and to paint accurate pictures of an environment, are the basis of many technologies, including medical ultrasound machines and submarine navigation systems; when it comes to more accurate sonar and ultrasound, however, animals’ “biosonar” capabilities still have the human race beat – but not for long

  • Glitches in nationwide emergency alert test

    Last Wednesday the United States conducted its first ever nationwide test of its emergency alert system, but based on reports the test did not go smoothly; instead of hearing the alert tone as the emergency alert title card was being displayed, some DirectTV subscribers were treated to Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”

  • Budget cuts force Nevada to reconsider security priorities

    Next fiscal year Nevada will be forced to adapt to a 47 percent cut in DHS funding. To prepare for this new financial reality, Nevada governor Brian Sandoval has called for a reassessment of the state’s homeland security priorities

  • Brazilian fern inspires waterproof coating

    A floating weed that clogs waterways around the world has at least one redeeming feature: it has inspired a high-tech waterproof coating intended for boats and submarines

  • Prison systems vulnerable to cyberattack

    At the recent Hackers Halted convention in Miami, researchers John J. Strauchs and his daughter Tiffany Strauchs Rad told the audience how with only $2,500 and some basic equipment, they were able to develop a cyberattack on a simulated prison computer system with potentially catastrophic results

  • New Jersey first responders prohibited from taking crash scene photos

    New Jersey lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make it illegal for first responders to take pictures or videos of an accident and distribute them without the permission of the victim’s family; under the proposed law, any first responder who circulates an accident photo or video without permission could face as much as eighteen months in jail or a $10,000 fine

  • Operation Vigilant Guard tests Arizona disaster response

    More than 250 agencies and 8,000 emergency personnel recently participated in “Operation Vigilant Guard,” one of the largest emergency response exercise in Arizona’s history; participants were forced to respond to two scenarios — a catastrophic flood and the detonation of a ten-kiloton Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) in the Phoenix metropolitan area

  • Better hospital responses to terrorist attacks

    Terrorist attacks are less likely to occur than other disasters, but they can have greater impact on hospital operations; until the 9/11 and anthrax attacks, hospital emergency preparedness programs had not included provisions for terrorism events; those attacks changed that, but there is still much that should be done

  • DHS agents recover painting stolen by Nazis

    Last week, federal DHS agents raided a museum in Tallahassee, Florida to recover a 500-year-old painting that was believed to be stolen by Nazis during the Second World War; upon receiving a tip from a foreign law enforcement source that the painting had been stolen by the Nazis, DHS agents seized the painting and will hold it until the rightful owner can be determined