Public Safety

  • Hi-tech goggles to reduce number of friendly fire incidents

    The modern battle-field is saturated with autonomous, remotely controlled platforms and weapons, and everything moves very fast; in addition, many of the engagements take place in close quarters; all these increase the risk of friendly fire; DARPA wants a small New York company to develop augmented reality goggles which will tell soldiers on the ground which air assets are nearby, bearing which weapons, thus resulting in more accurate destruction of enemy assets, less risk to friendly forces, and fewer civilian deaths

  • New method for lifting latent fingerprints

    A team of researchers at Nanjing University of Technology has developed a new process for especially rapid and simple detection of fingerprints; all it takes is a special nanofiber mat that is pressed onto the suspect surface and briefly treated with hot air — the fingerprints appear as red ridge patterns

  • Anti-counterfeiting solution maker expands scientific teams

    According to a 2011 report published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), global counterfeiting losses are forecasted to grow to as high as $1.7 trillion by 2017; the economic impact of this on the U.S. economy alone is estimated to be $775 billion per year; there is thus a growing demand for anti-counterfeiting solutions, including SigNature® DNA from Applied DNA Sciences; the company is expanding its forensic scientific group

  • Local police wear vests at all times to receive Justice funds

    The Justice Department has said that it will withhold federal funding for local police departments to purchase body armor unless they make it a requirement that all uniformed officers wear the armor; last year, the Justice Department distributed $37 million to reimburse more than 4,000 local agencies across the country for the purchase of nearly 200,000 vests; the new requirement comes after a sharp increase in the fatal shootings of police officers while on duty; there was a 44 percent increase in the number of fatal police shootings last year and a recent study showed that 41 percent of police departments do not require officers to wear body armor

  • DHS: U.S. unprepared for nuclear disaster

    Confidential DHS report says the United States is ill-prepared for a nuclear disaster — either an accident or a terrorist attack; just one example: if a major nuclear bomb were to hit Washington, D.C., there would be a need for about 61,000 beds in intensive care units; there are, however, only 118,000 intensive care beds in the entire United States and, on any given day, only 9,400 are free.

  • Spate of dry-ice bombs explosions in Long Beach, Calif.

    A Long Beach officer is injured after an investigation of a dry-ice bomb left in an alley; a dry ice bomb is a homemade device that uses water, a bottle and dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide; it can take anywhere from thirty seconds to an hour for a dry-ice bomb to rupture, depending on temperatures outside of the bottle

  • New FBI database improves accuracy, speed

    Police across the United States can now compare prints to the much larger FBI database of seventy million prints in about ten minutes for a high-priority case, a half-hour for routine cases; civil fingerprint checks, such as those done for employment background screening, used to take twenty-four hours but can now be done in as little as fifteen minutes

  • Man smuggles 600 snakes, reptiles on bus

    Acting on tip-off, police in Argentina searched the luggage of a bus passenger traveling from Santiago del Estero to Buenos Aires; the luggage contained 444 boas, vipers, and other snakes; 186 endangered tortoises; 40 lizards, and an armadillo

  • New Zealand company to offer personal jet packs

    A New Zealand company has successfully tested a jet pack, and will soon make it commercially available for about £50,000; in tests, the pack, which weighs less than 254 pounds, traveled 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel; it reached heights of up to 2,400 meters and top speeds of 60 mph; the company said the pack could be perfect for the emergency services, private users, and even the military

  • Wastewater employee charged with terrorism after idling plant

    A 43-year old waste water facility employee was the sole employee during the night shift at the massive Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant in Gilbert, Arizona; last Friday night, armed with a hand gun, the employee walked through the facility alone, methodically turning off major operating systems at the plant; left untreated, the sewage in the system would cause a buildup of methane gas, which could cause a huge explosion; after a 2-hour stand-off, the police arrested the man, allowing other employees to turn on the treatment systems; the employee is being held on a $250,000 bond, charged with terrorism

  • Austin police officers equipped with wearable cameras

    For years, law enforcement has relied on dash cams to record what happens when officers step out of their vehicles; now, that technology is being upgraded to the next level in the form of body cams police officers can wear

  • Portable military barriers help Canadian city in flood fight

    Canada is using a new technology to prevent flood damage in Manitoba; the one-meter-square wire cages can be unfolded and quickly filled with dirt or mud; they can also be linked for a long row that can be set up far quicker than it takes to sling sandbags; the barriers have been used by the U.S. military to protect embassies from terrorist attacks, and have also been used for flood protection in the United States

  • Wisconsin to consider gun-tracking bill

    Lawmakers in Wisconsin are circulating a bill that would revive efforts to require that all semi-automatic handguns sold in the state contain “micro-stamping” technology that allows police to link spent shell casings to gun buyers; similar legislation introduced in 2009 was heavily opposed by gun interests and never brought to a vote

  • New device uses sniffer bees to detect explosives

    The unassuming honeybees have a hidden talent — an even keener sense of smell than anyone first expected — which could make them one of the U.K.’s most ruthless and worst-feared weapons against terrorism; researchers developed a portable handheld sensor that holds thirty-six trained bees gently restrained in six cassettes inside the device; each is taught to recognize a particular odor and associate that smell with a food reward; the researchers have already trained their honeybees to detect a wide variety of explosive compounds and mixtures, including Semtex, C4, PE4, TNT, DMNB, gunpowder, and hydrogen peroxide

  • Ultra-sensitive sensor technology detects explosives, cancer

    Princeton researchers have invented an extremely sensitive sensor that opens up new ways to detect a wide range of substances, from tell-tale signs of cancer to hidden explosives; the sensor, which is the most sensitive of its kind to date, relies on a completely new architecture and fabrication technique developed by the Princeton researchers; the device boosts faint signals generated by the scattering of laser light from a material placed on it, allowing the identification of various substances based on the color of light they reflect; the sample could be as small as a single molecule