Public Safety

  • Marines use solar power in Afghanistan to help fuel the fight

    Marines at Forward Operating Base Jackson in the Sangin valley of Helmand Province are using solar energy generators to stretch fuel supplies and save lives; with over 100 British troops killed there, Sangin valley is one of Afghanistan’s deadliest areas; since the implementation of portable solar energy generators, fuel consumption has decreased from twenty gallons to less than three gallons a day; delivering fuel is incredibly dangerous as fuel convoys are often ambushed or hit by IEDs

  • Police want UAVs for domestic surveillance

    Police agencies around the United States soon could be using UAVs for law enforcement missions such as finding lost children, hunting illegal marijuana crops, and easing traffic jams in evacuations of cities before hurricanes or other natural disasters; local governments have been pressing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for wider use of UAVs — a demand driven largely by returning veterans who observed the crafts’ effectiveness in war

  • Lawmakers looking to cash-strapped local police for extra security

    For members of Congress worried about their safety in the wake of the Arizona mass shooting, relying on local law enforcement may not be an option as cutbacks hit cash-strapped police forces; Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Illinois) this week proposed additional congressional spending for security at district offices; Rep. Peter King (R-New York) proposed barring people from bringing a weapon within 1,000 feet of a government official; Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) suggested allowing lawmakers to carry weapons inside the Capitol; already, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-North Carolina) announced they are going to step up the frequency with which they carry concealed weapons to district events

  • New generation of UAVs being tested

    These are not your father’s UAVs; a new generation of UAVs represent a major technological advance over the Predator and Reaper drones that the Obama administration has deployed as a central element of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan; unlike most of the current fleet of more than 7,000 drones, the new remotely piloted planes will have jet engines and the ability to evade enemy radar; three members of the new generation of drones being flown in the coming weeks are speedier, stealthier, and higher-flying than their predecessors

  • The guns versus bows puzzle solved

    In Western Europe, military bows became obsolete during the sixteenth century as firearms evolved; in China, however, guns and bows coexisted for almost a millennium; now one scientist thinks he knows why: it was easier to train musketeers than to train good archers, and the composite materials from which good bows were made did not fare well in humid conditions

  • U.K. joins European fingerprint database

    Home Office joins Eurodac fingerprint database, which collects the fingerprints of asylum seekers and some illegal entrants to the European Union; Eurodac consists of a Central Unit within the European Commission, equipped with a computerized central database for comparing fingerprints, and a system for electronic data transmission between EU countries and the database

  • Move to strengthen Capitol security in wake of Arizona shooting

    Representative Dan Burton (R-Indiana) intends to introduce legislation similar to a measure he presented in 2007 to enclose the House Chamber in a “transparent and substantial material” to prevent people from tossing explosives or shooting onto the floor; since the 1 March 1954 attack on Congress — four Puerto Rican nationalists entered the House visitors’ gallery and fired nineteen shots at members and staff during a vote — and several others involving firearms and explosives, the Capitol has strengthened its security apparatus; it now screens all visitors at an underground security checkpoint located in the Capitol Visitor Center. People who want to watch House and Senate floor proceedings from a visitors’ gallery have to go through an additional set of metal detectors before entering the chamber

  • Rep. Clyburn calls for increased spending on lawmakers' safety

    After the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Representative James Clyburn called for increases in spending to protect lawmakers; the House voted last week to reduce its operating budget by 5 percent; Congressional security officials are currently reviewing security measures and briefing members and their staffers on security

  • Officials warn of Arizona copycat attacks

    Intelligence and law enforcement authorities informed U.S. lawmakers that they are monitoring for potential “copycat” attacks on lawmakers after the rampage in Arizona on Saturday; Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he expects to ask for a formal report on the shooting, addressing both the short-term concerns — including the likelihood of copycat incidents — and long-term issues with security; among the questions he wants answered, King said, are “Is this part of a larger movement? Is there any evidence he [the assailant] was motivated by organizational structure?” FBI director Robert Mueller said: “Given this tragedy, all logical precautions are in place to best ensure the safety of other public officials, but there is no information at this time to suggest any specific threat remains”

  • Miami Police first to use UAVs in a U.S. city

    The Miami-Dade Police Department could soon become the first police department in the country to employ unmanned drones; the department acquired two T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicles, manufactured by Honeywell, in August 2009, and has been testing and training with them since; it is now in the third phase of a three-phase testing program, and plans to apply soon to the FAA for final approval to use the drones in operations

  • California police use electric motorcycles

    The Scotts Valley Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in California to accept delivery of a Zero DS electric motorcycle; it will be a benchmark for evaluating the performance capabilities of the Zero DS in law enforcement situations, such as responding through traffic and on local bike trails

  • Ashland, Alabama, police adopts new technology

    Six years ago there was one computer in the Ashland, Alabama, Police Department; Several grants and nearly $300,000 later, officers are typing up reports on in-car computers, scanning fingerprints, and instantly checking for matches with other police departments around the state

  • Law enforcement officials adapting to the cell phone age

    Law enforcement officials are collecting more cell phone numbers for emergency alert phone lists as more people move away from land telephone lines; during emergencies land telephone lines are often knocked down and first responders do not have many cell phone numbers on file; emergency cell phone technology is rapidly improving with more accurate traces; 911 first responders hope to incorporate video, text, and photos in the future to better assess emergencies and communicate

  • Quick Heal introduces technology to track laptops

    New laptop tracking technology will help Indian police track and locate stolen laptops across the country; Quick Heal, the company offering the technology, also aims to create a centralized database of lost or stolen laptops; the database will be accessible to retailers and consumers