• NYPD's combat vessel will thwart Mumbai-like attacks

    To prevent a Mumbai-like attack in New York, the NYPD will be getting a high-speed combat vessel; the 71-foot craft, which can hit speeds of 40 knots and will be able to carry up to thirty police officers fully armed with heavy weapons; the high-speed boat will be outfitted with radiation detection equipment and infrared cameras, as well as a satellite communication facilities

  • Police departments relying more on volunteers

    As police departments across the country face shrinking budgets, many have turned to volunteers as a way to continue providing needed services; more and more departments have begun to rely on trained volunteers to complete a variety of tasks like collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and investigating old cases; critics say that volunteers conducting investigations is a legal problem as they are not trained officers and could potentially jeopardize a trial, in addition to lacking accountability; supporters of the programs say that volunteers are screened, undergo thorough training, and are often supervised by officer

  • Verbal methods of deception detection more useful than nonverbal methods

    Trapping a liar is not always easy; lies are often embedded in truths and behavioral differences between liars and truth-tellers are usually very small; in addition, some people are just very good at lying; researchers suggest that verbal methods of deception detection are more useful than nonverbal methods commonly believed to be effective, and that there are psychological differences between liars and truth-tellers that can be exploited in the search for the truth

  • Florida's effective DNA database

    Police in Palm Bay, Florida, four years ago started a local DNA database as a quicker alternative to the state’s backlogged crime labs; the average wait to get results now is fifty-seven days, as opposed to the six- to 12-month turnaround from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — which processes most state agencies’ samples; the kits used by Palm Bay also cost $100, compared to the $800 for DNA analysis charged by other state-approved labs

  • Detecting invisible threats to first responders, soldiers

    There are many methods currently being used that can detect chemical and biological agents and explosive compounds, but none allows for the unique fingerprinting of threat agents at trace levels; researchers have overcome this limitation with surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) using optically stimulated plasmon oscillations in nanostructured substrates; SERS offers several potential advantages over other spectroscopic techniques because of its measurement speed, high sensitivity, portability, and simple maneuverability

  • Using DNA to track down criminals and fight counterfeiting

    Applied DNA Sciences, based in Stony Brook, New York, works with banks, governments, and businesses across the globe to detect and prevent fraud in areas that range from textile fibers, casino chips, and cash; Applied DNA has worked with authorities in the United Kingdom to insert DNA markers in currency to help track down money stolen from bank heists and other robberies; the company has helped solve thirty-five cases; the company also embeds plant DNA in casino chips to fight fraud and counterfeiters by making unique markers that are impossible to duplicate; its technology can also be used in virtually anything to fight counterfeiters or authenticate products

  • Identifying the criminals among multiple DNA samples

    Providing certainty without a reasonable doubt is not possible when the DNA at a crime scene comes from multiple sources; this happens in about one in ten cases, meaning that important evidence for putting a criminal behind bars is lost; a new technique takes the uncertainty out of DNA samples, when more than one person’s DNA fingerprint is in the mix

  • Studying counterterrorism in Israel upsets Cambridge residents

    Some residents of Cambridge, Massachusetts are upset that sixteen law enforcement and emergency services officials from the city went to Israel in an Anti Defamation League-sponsored trip to observe Israeli counterterrorism methods; the trip was funded by a local businessman; in a city hall meeting residents expressed discomfort with a privately organized trip for public officials — and with the fact that these officials chose Israel as the place to study counterterrorism tactics; one local resident said that what Israel calls “counterterrorism” is “a mechanism of oppression suited to employment in a police state, a status I do not regard our city as having obtained. At least not yet”

  • A new threat: organized crime, terrorists links

    Lawmakers and security analysts around the world are growing increasingly worried about links between terrorists and organized crime; terrorists and organized crime gangs have increasingly worked together around the world to finance operations; in 2000, it was estimated that FARC, Colombia’s largest terrorist organization, received as much as $400 million annually from its role in the drug trade; intelligence reports found that al Qaeda was looking to work with Mexican cartels to sneak into the United States; Islamic extremists have also become organized criminal networks themselves engaging in kidnapping, human trafficking, counterfeiting money, fraud, and armed robbery to raise money for their causes

  • Army water contracts fraudster appeals

    Last Tuesday, a man convicted of defrauding the U.S military of millions of dollars on water purification contracts requested the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out his 210-month sentence because a key witness was unable to testify; Richard E. Long was convicted of bribery, wire fraud, and money laundering for WATEC, Inc., a Tennessee based firm that provides water purification services to the military; Long accepted $550,000 in bribes in exchange for rewarding contracts worth as much as $66 million to WATEC, Inc.

  • Effort to stem flow of firearms to Mexico backfires

    There are no limits in the United States to the number of long guns (as opposed to pistols or revolvers) a person is allowed to buy; the Mexican drug cartels exploited this buy sending thousands of straw buyers to gun shows an gun shops to buy hundreds of thousands of fire arms, then smuggle them to Mexico; to stem the flow of guns, the ATF launched Project Gunrunner: rather than just take down low-level straw buyers here and there, the agency hoped that by “letting the guns walk,” the sales would lead investigators to cartel members higher up in the organization; insiders say it never did; ATF could have told gun owners not to sell, or later seize the guns in an arrest; instead, gun store owners were allowed to sell even though agents often knew the buyer was a straw for the Mexican cartels; those guns can be traced to hundreds of robberies, rapes, and murders; experts said the numbers are much higher

  • Force Protection Equipment Consortium to meet in mid-May

    Held every two years since 1997, the collaborative effort between government and more than 575 exhibitors from U.S. and allied industries known as the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration will feature more than 3,000 commercial off-the-shelf items of equipment and systems for countering terrorism

  • New study aims to find why body armor fails

    A new study is currently underway to discover the best materials to use in the construction of body armor and to understand why body armor can at times fail; working in conjunction with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), Baltimore based H.P. White Laboratory is researching which materials can best stand up to the rigors of real-world physical and environmental impacts and still maintain their efficacy throughout a body armor’s lifespan

  • Police turning to Facebook to fight crime

    Local police departments across the United States have are beginning to use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with local residents and track down criminals and missing persons; departments have successfully apprehended suspects minutes after posting photos online; police have also received tips on the whereabouts of wanted criminals and Facebook has become a part of the investigative process; Facebook’s traditional functions of outreach and communication have helped departments keep residents informed and build trust; critics of police patrolling Facebook and Twitter for tips say that it is an invasion of privacy; police have been careful to only use publicly posted information that users choose to display

  • Wisconsin introduces law to ban fake caller IDs

    Republican legislators in Wisconsin have introduced a bill that would make it illegal to use a fake caller ID number to “defraud, cause harm, or gain anything of value”; last year Congress passed a similar bill that banned the use of “phone spoofing” technologies — technology that allow an individual to choose what number they wish to appear on another person’s caller ID; the new bill would allow law enforcement officials to target individuals making prank calls in addition to prosecuting companies that provide spoofing technology; critics question the timing of the bill as it comes after a high-profile prank call to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker