• Unlocking Unique Chemical Signatures in Tires

    Skid marks left by cars are often analyzed for their impression patterns, but they often don’t provide enough information to identify a specific vehicle. A new approach could provide law enforcement new tools to track down those who flee a crime scene.

  • Improving Vehicle Inspections at Security Checkpoints

    Federal agencies screen an average of 235,000 vehicles every day for illegal contraband, explosives and other potential threats in the United States. Currently, federal law enforcement personnel (LEP) perform a visual search of the undercarriage using mirrors, or, if available, an under-vehicle inspection scanner. The scanning units are expensive, have moderate resolution and require vehicles to go only five miles per hour. DHS S&T is changing that.

  • Researchers Developing Tech to Mitigate Interference for Wideband RF Systems

    The radio frequency (RF) spectrum is a scarce resource that is becoming increasingly congested and contested as demand for spectrum access continues to grow. Within this crowded environment, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) RF systems are hampered by mission-compromising interference from both self- and externally-generated signals. Researchers aim to develop new tunable filter, signal canceller architectures to protect wideband radios.

  • Combatting Terrorism with Environmental DNA

    Forensic science experts are refining an innovative counter-terrorism technique that checks for environmental DNA in the dust on clothing, baggage, shoes or even a passport. The technique traces the source of dust on suspect articles to match a soil profile of a specific area or overseas country.

  • Drone Detection Test

    Transportation Security Administration (TSA) law enforcement and police departments from Connecticut, and New York recently partnered with the Connecticut State Police (CSP) to assess their ability to hunt and stop unauthorized drones from interfering with commercial aviation.

  • Deployment of Emotion-Recognition Technologies in China Threatens Human Rights

    Emotion recognition is a biometric technology which purports to be able to analyze a person’s inner emotional state. These biometric applications are used by law enforcement authorities to identify suspicious individuals, and by schools to monitor how well a student is paying attention in class. China is deploying the technology to allow the authorities to better monitor forbidden anti-regime thoughts among citizens who are subject to police interrogation or investigation.

  • Swarming Drones Concept Flies Closer to Reality

    A swarm of twenty drones has recently completed the largest collaborative, military-focused evaluation of swarming uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the U.K. The exercise was the culmination of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory’s (DSTL) “Many Drones Make Light Work” competition

  • Robot Seeks Out Chemical Agents

    Scientists have successfully tested a fully autonomous robot that will help defense and security personnel dealing with hazardous scenes. The development of the robot means that humans and machines can now share the burden of detecting and report dangerous chemicals over large areas.

  • Baltimore Aerial Investigations Associated with Small Improvements in Solving Crimes

    A preliminary report about an effort to use aerial surveillance to aid police investigations in Baltimore finds that the effort was associated with small increases in the rate at which police solved serious crimes, but an overall evaluation of the program will require a wider review of citywide police efforts, according to a new report.

  • Face Surveillance and the Capitol Attack

    After last week’s violent attack on the Capitol, law enforcement is working overtime to identify the perpetrators. This is critical to accountability for the attempted insurrection. Law enforcement has many, many tools at their disposal to do this, especially given the very public nature of most of the organizing. But the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF) says it objects to one method reportedly being used to determine who was involved: law enforcement using facial recognition technologies to compare photos of unidentified individuals from the Capitol attack to databases of photos of known individuals. “There are just too many risks and problems in this approach, both technically and legally, to justify its use,” the EFF says.

  • Identity Verification in the Age of COVID-19

    Face masks have become a way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We now wear them nearly everywhere we go—at grocery stores, on public transportation, in schools, at work—any situation that requires us to be around others. But what about at places that require a higher level of security, like airports?

  • K9 Chemistry: A Safer Way to Train Detection Dogs

    Trained dogs are incredible chemical sensors, far better at detecting explosives, narcotics and other substances than even the most advanced technological device. But one challenge is that dogs have to be trained, and training them with real hazardous substances can be inconvenient and dangerous.

  • Face Recognition Software Improving in Recognizing Masked Faces

    A new study of face recognition technology created after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that some software developers have made demonstrable progress at recognizing masked faces.

  • EFF Urges Federal Appeals Court to Rehear Case Involving Unconstitutional Baltimore Aerial Surveillance Program

    In May, the Baltimore Police Department launched its Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) Pilot Program. For six months, three surveillance aircrafts operated by a private company called Persistent Surveillance Systems flew over Baltimore—covering about 90 percent of the city—for 12 hours every day. The planes produced images that even at a resolution of “one pixel per person” allowed the police to track individual’s movements over multi-day periods, especially when combined with the police’s networks of more than 800 ground-based surveillance cameras and automated license plate readers.

  • Banning Chokeholds

    George Floyd’s murder was egregious but not unique. Many police agencies hold the position that they don’t train officers to use chokeholds, but they are continuously used by officers to regain compliance. Abrief just released by the Center for Justice Research (CJR) at Texas Southern University offers comprehensive recommendations for key stakeholders, at all levels, to consider in the advancement of police reform in their respective jurisdictions.