• 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

  • DHS develops shared biometrics database with DOD

    DHS is currently developing a joint database to gain access to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) biometrics database and hopes to have the system operational by the end of this year; the goal is to allow DHS agents at points of entry to run an individual’s fingerprint to determine if that person had any run-ins with the U.S. military and also includes fingerprints taken from improvised explosive devices; this new system is a vast improvement over current joint data exchange plans between DHS, DOD, and the FBI which are often done manually; this database must be implemented according to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 24, which mandates that all biometric data shared between government agencies must conform to local privacy laws

  • A cautionary tale of local information sharing

    Calhoun County, Alabama recently spent $850,000 on interagency communications equipment, but so far only one local police department uses it and the system is the source of significant tension among law enforcement officials across the county; poor communication, proprietary databases, and high costs have effectively prevented the county from creating an information sharing system for local law enforcement; each police department uses laptops tied to different servers with different information on them, and though each system was designed to share information, none of the departments’ databases can communicate with one another due to proprietary data and non-compatible physical infrastructure