Portable Fingerprint Scanners

For law enforcement officers, trying to identify suspects on the street can be challenging. It is far too easy for a person to give a false name and other forms of misinformation. While out on the street, officers lack the same access to resources they can use to help identify the person. This forces officers to rely on nothing more than a driver’s license or state issued ID may or may not be reliable.

Many Reasons to Need ID
There is any number of reasons why an officer might need to be able to positively identify a person on the street. Perhaps there was an incident nearby or a terrorist alert, or any one of many other criminal activities. Of course, officers all start with the same method of identification. They ask a number of standard questions such as name, address, and so forth as a means to identify them. At the same time, it gives the officer time to assess the person and how far they need to go with the identification process.

There is, of course, no way in which to determine whether the person who is being questioned is presenting a false name and ID. It is far too easy for a criminal to produce a perfect facsimile of virtually any form of identification capable of fooling the average officer on the street. This makes the whole concept of using an ID card as a valid form of identification somewhat antiquated. Plus, you have the issue of those who for one reason or another are not carrying the ID with them.

Enter the Mobile Fingerprint Scanner
Mobile bio-metric equipment is nothing new; it has been in use in smartphones, tablets, and laptops for several years. In fact, the use of this technology has been an essential security feature in devices such as these and more.

These mobile devices look a lot like something that belongs on the Starship Enterprise, yet they offer today’s law enforcement officers a chance to obtain a more accurate positive ID for anyone they stop and question. These devices allow officers direct access to the national fingerprint database where millions of fingerprints are stored digitally.
While identifying a suspect in the field has always been a problem for law enforcement officers, with so many suspects willing to lie about who they are, those days might finally be coming to an end. The latest in mobile fingerprint scanning devices bring all of the benefits of being in the office, and all the equipment police officers have access to with them out into the field.

The net result is these devices make it far easier for officers to identify every person they stop accurately. More importantly, these devices make the entire process go far more quickly, reducing the amount of time it takes to positively ID the person and allowing the officer to release them or complete the arrest and get back to keeping their respective communities safe.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Should You Be Narrating Your Traffic Stops?

Although the practice of narrating traffic stops is not mandatory, only a small percentage of officers do so. Yet, you might be surprised at how much it can help others to see your thought process should your actions be called into question at a later date. Here’s a simple fact, there are going to be times in which a simple video recording is not going to be enough.

Exactly What Do We Mean by Narrating Your Traffic Stops?
Narrating traffic stops is a simple process in which you make use of both your in-vehicle video system and your body cam to record more than just your visible actions during a traffic stop. Instead, you add in useful commentary during to explain your actions, where and why you behaved in a certain manner.

This will provide you with more useful evidence should your actions be called into question as the narration can show your state of mind or reasoning behind making your decisions as to what steps you decide to take in a particular situation.

However, this does not mean that you need to keep a running commentary throughout the entire stop. This would, in fact, be “overkill” and might have a negative impact on the outcome of an inquiry rather than a positive one. So, as you can see, you must put some thought behind the narration of any traffic stop you make to ensure your video will have some evidentiary value.

Here are a few tips to help enhance the value of your recordings:

1. Tell Us What You Were Thinking
One of the most important things to keep in mind if you are going to narrate your video is to make sure you tell us what you are thinking before, during, and after the stop. Things like what you see that leads to initiate the stop in the first place. This type of thinking out loud can make a big difference should your actions be called into question.

2. Just the Facts
Be sure that during your narration, you stick to the facts. For example, you should not say, “Driver appears to be drunk” as this is nothing more than an opinion. Instead, you should state, “Vehicle is swerving all over the road,” this is a valid statement and is verifiable (thanks to the video recording). If you add too many statements of opinion to your recordings, you could be giving a sharp defense attorney the ability to claim that your recording is filled with unsubstantiated details and call for them to be inadmissible as evidence. Stick the facts, and you can’t go wrong.

3. Short and Sweet
Your narrations need to be kept short and sweet. You don’t need to be like the sportscasters who love to fill their commentary with “color” as a way to keep their listeners engaged. The only reason you should be adding commentary is to cover any area of the video that needs to be explained. For example, if you see a bulge in the person’s waistline, it could indicate they are carrying a weapon, your narrative should cover this. In turn, this will help explain the actions you take next. At the same time, don’t let the need to narrate distract you from what you are doing. It will take practice to master this skill, but it could make the difference in the successful outcome of an arrest and your being charged with misconduct.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving!

On behalf of our Board of Directors and Staff, we would like to wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

In order to give our families time to spend with their loved ones, we will be closed on Thursday, November 22, with limited availability on Friday, November 23. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Having Antivirus Software Isn’t Enough – It Needs to be Current

Picture this, you’re sitting at home on the computer working on a report, and a window pops up with a reminder that there is a software update available. Without a thought, you click the “not now” or “remind me later” button and carry on. You say to yourself, “I’ll get to it later!” The problem is that you never seem to get back to it.

It’s so easy to keep putting updates off, but while some can wait for others need to be taken care of as soon as they pop up. If you skip updates to your antivirus and anti-spyware software, you leave a wealth of private information open to hackers. This could include:

• Your personal files (like that report you’re working on)
• Your address, phone numbers, social security numbers
• Your driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers,
• Your banking information
• Anything that could make it easier for a criminal to steal your identity

More Than Your Antivirus/Antispyware Software
But keeping your antivirus and antispyware software needs to be kept up to date. For example, recently the credit reporting company Equifax suffered a massive data breach that left personal information such as that listed above for approximately 143 million people open to hackers. The hackers made use of web application Equifax was using that had a known vulnerability to access the data.

A fix had been published that would have eliminated the possibility of this particular hack being successful and obtaining so much data. However, for whatever reason, the update was not installed. Talk about a hard way to learn your lesson, but at least the rest of us can learn a lot from their mistake. No matter what type of software you have on your computer when an update comes out, you should probably install it.

Software Makes You Vulnerable
A large percentage of the worst malware attacks are successful only because they can breach vulnerabilities in the most commonly used software such as browsers and operating systems. Because of this, software developers are continually working to improve their products by eliminating these vulnerabilities and make it harder for hackers to find their way in. With this in mind, it should be easy to see why, when that next update window pops up; you should hit to “Do It Now” button rather than “I’ll Never Remember to Do It Button.”

There is more to most software updates than security fixes; many contain new features or updates to existing features. Each update is designed to enhance overall user experience by removing outdated features, and in some cases speeding up overall operation by reducing the load placed on the system.

Along with this, you should also:
• Keep your security software up to date
• Set updates to automatic on all software that has this setting
• Set reminders for to check for updates on those that don’t
• Verify the authenticity of any software before you download it
• Change your passwords frequently
• State up to date on the latest threats to make sure your computer is adequately protected

Keeping your computer and everything is safe from hackers is your job, and it should be your priority. By protecting your data, you are adding yet another layer of protection for your entire family.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Budget Cuts, Funding Shortages, Police Officers, and Safety

One of the most significant issues facing every level of law enforcement today is an extreme lack of funding. Current budget cuts continue to affect not only law enforcement officers but also every citizen of the United States as it becomes more and more difficult for police officers to do their job.

You Might be Surprised Where the Budget Cuts Hit

Most LEOs have seen firsthand at what happens when the money starts disappearing. Imagine having an officer responding to an “officer down” call and the transmission drops out of his cruiser due to “budget cuts.”  Police departments across the nation face situations like this every day as their officers wonder if their cruiser will stay running through to the end of their shift. How many times can a cruiser leave the officer stranded, before someone is injured or worse?

Retention is becoming one of the most significant issues facing many departments is attrition. More seasons officers than ever before are leaving the force to enter the private security sector or for many other careers. They leave because the risks associated with their jobs continue to increase and the budget cuts continue to prevent them from receiving well-earned pay raises.

The same applies to being able to recruit new officers. When it can take up to 10 years for the average officer to earn what a 25-year-old college graduate with a degree in electrical engineering can earn straight out of school, it’s easy to see why recruiting and keeping good officers is becoming more difficult with every round of budget cuts.

 A Lack of Protection

With a lack of available funding also comes a department’s inability to provide their officers with many of the latest technological advances available. This lack of equipment can place officers in dangerous situations that could easily have been avoided. A lack of investigative equipment can also have a dramatic impact on a police department’s ability to solve crimes, which in turn can lead to criminals being able to walk free instead of being convicted and sentenced.

Imagine having to explain to an officer’s widow why his armored vest was not new enough to offer enough protection. What do you tell an officer’s spouse when they are wounded or taken by surprise because they have to go into a situation without backup? These are the situations law enforcement officers and their family’s face every day of the year, yet budgets continue to be slashed.

Day after day our men and women in blue face life and death situations, often ill-equipped, under-supported, and under-trained to take on the role of “Protect and Serve.” The one thing you can count on is that no one is the business of law enforcement for the money. They do so as a way of giving back to the community, to make those who live in them safer, and to continue reducing crime. It is for these reasons that organizations like the National Police Support Fund and the National Police Association continue to fight for better funding.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Challenges Faced by Law Enforcement Today

In a report released by the Heritage Foundation, there are positive indications that many of our leaders are starting to take note of the pressure and danger our police officers must face on a daily basis. A group including retired LEOs, police advocates and lawyers met in 2017 to discuss the current situation. This meeting resulted in the publication of ” Policing in America: Lessons from the Past, Opportunities for the Future.”

A False Narrative
Police across the country have been getting a lot of attention for incidences involving minorities and “marginalized” people. While no doubt, much of it is well-deserved, the report noted that perhaps it was time that law enforcement “re-branded” itself. In other words, while the inevitable rough spots are going to occur, law enforcement needs to work to re-establish their reputation as being the “good guys” so when something does happen, it is not an immediate black-eye on the rest of law enforcement.

Another issue LEOs are dealing with is the constant litany of claims of racism that seem to never quite add up. The problem with the majority of reports claiming systemic racism fail to take into account that the number of minorities involved in contact with the police tends to go up in areas where the number of crimes being reported is highest in minority communities.

Money Plays Its Role
Leaders of the law enforcement community understand something that most political leaders and economic development leaders seem to have no comprehension of. They fail to realize that in order for their communities to grow, they need to be able to offer interested parties a safe community to build their businesses in and for their employees to live in. When political leaders bow to the pressure from anti-police activists to cut law enforcement budgets, doing so will have a direct impact on everyone’s quality of life and the health of every community.

No Credit Given
There is an old adage that goes, “When we do good, no one remembers. But, when we do bad, no one forgets.” Never has this been truer than in the world of law enforcement. Rather than looking at the many things police officers are doing that are successfully reducing crime such as “stop and frisk” reducing the number of guns on the street, all the activists see, is police officers violating a person’s civil liberties. This despite the fact an LEO must follow very strict guidelines in order to “stop and frisk.” Even though overall crime rates in the U.S. are steadily declining, law enforcement still doesn’t get any credit for their hard work and dedication.

The Need for More Technology
Sufficient funding to invest in new technologies and science to help predict and solve crime could help reduce repeat offenders and put the guilty where they belong. New technologies could help improve how physical evidence is processed.

Bring in the Feds
Many of those in attendance also stated their wish that the Department of Justice stop being such a political organization and become more involved in helping law enforcement succeed all the way down to the cop on the beat. In doing so, perhaps more attention and money might become available for training and equipment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Have You Stopped to Think About the No Guns Policy at Disney?

To the casual guest at Disney, whether or not they have a strict no-gun policy probably never crosses their minds. Who thinks about taking a gun with them into the “World’s Happiest Place?” Well, if you are a cop, the chances are good that the thought has crossed you more than once. This doesn’t matter to the powers-that-be at Disney as their policy states that no-one, including off-duty police offers, is permitted to carry any type of firearm, even if it is a concealed weapon or so it seems. However, you are not likely to find this information anywhere on the company’s website. Yet, despite this, with a little research, you can find reports regarding off-duty officers being asked to secure their weapons in their vehicle or simply to leave the premises. Even their security guards are unarmed; some will even tell you that it is against company policy for “anyone” to carry a firearm on the premises and that includes off-duty LEOs.

A Huge Terrorist Target
When you stop to look at the thousands of people gathered together within the confines of Disney on any given day, it is easy to see what a juicy target this makes for crazies and terrorists. When you have this type of crowd, a single crazed person could kill, wound, and maim large numbers of people on their own with a suicide bomb or even an automatic weapon.

In recent news Islamic terrorists continue to talk about killing as many Americans as they can, including children. A terrorist attack on Disney that results in the death of many children would shake our country to its core. Yet, what Disney is saying, is that an off-duty cop who is sworn to protect, is not permitted to carry a concealed weapon to protect themselves, their families, and the lives of many others in the park should something like this go down.

Lackluster Security at Best
If you take a trip to Disney, one of the first things you can’t help but notice (especially as a law enforcement officer), is the poor quality of the company’s security force. To start with, most gather around the entrance gates with only a minimal number patrolling the park. Then, the rest look a lot like what you might expect from a private security firm, old, out of shape, and not up to the job.

In other words, if something major happened such as a terrorist attack or a crazed-shooter, the average security guard at Disney would certainly not be up to the task. To add more to this, you are not likely to spot off-duty, undercover, or plain clothed LEOs or security personnel. As a professional LEO, you should be able to detect at least some of these within the park.

You could be packing or carrying 10 pounds of C4 strapped around your waist or in your backpack and chances are no one at the gate would catch it. The reason, most of the guards, give only a cursory glance at bags and people. You could have an Uzi under your coat or in your backpack and go on your terroristic merry way; chances are no one would be there to stop you. Perhaps it’s time Disney changed their rules and improved their security teams to the point where they can carry a concealed or even an open sight weapon along with letting off-duty LEOs do the same. It could prevent the loss of many lives at some point in the future.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Calling Law Enforcement on Black People Offers LEO Teaching Moments

Over the course of the last few months, the number of 911 calls from white people calling to report “suspicious” or unwelcome activities by African-Americans has reached epidemic levels. From Oregon state representative Janelle Bynum was campaigning in her own district, to the two men waiting in a Starbucks, moving a lawn in Ohio, and swimming in a public swimming pool in South Carolina, racism seems to be once again rearing its ugly head in the United States.

Outrage is Not Just for the Victims
To be sure, these 911 calls and subsequent responses by members of law enforcement are creating serious outrage among African-Americans all over the country. But at the same time, these frivolous calls are tying up police officers for no other reason than the person being reported is not white. This means the officers are wasting valuable time that could be put to much better use.

While the majority of those making the calls have been found to be white, there are a few calls in which the race of the caller has not been identified. Yet, what really needs to happen first is that dispatchers need more training in how to gather the right information from the person calling in. This includes determining the circumstances surrounding the call and the intent of the person making it. This type of training will help the dispatcher to better determine if the call is an actual emergency or if it is merely a case of a biased complaint.

Officers Need Training Too
Along with training dispatchers to better recognize the situation and relay the appropriate information to the officer being sent to the scene, police officers need training as well. In this particular case, it means learning to recognize the situation, how to react to it, and the best way to deal with each type of situation.

Consider this situation: a group of African-American customers was standing outside of a Chili’s restaurant talking among themselves having just eaten a meal. It was after closing time, and one member of the group commented on the poor service and cold food that had received before they left. The incident was caught on a cellphone video and showed the officers talking to the group.

One officer stated, ” They called me here to prevent an altercation with you guys.” One of the group of men asked, “Why? Why? Because we’re black people in Abbeville  it’s an altercation?” Another member of the group asked, “What did we do? All we did is pay and leave.” Voice levels started to increase, but the officer managed to keep calm and work with the group. Eventually, they left, and no arrests were made.

Later Chili’s did put out a statement to the effect that they were sorry about what happened. In Abbeville, this incident has resulted in one major policy change. It states that before a business can contact the police to remove a someone from the premises, they must first ask the person to leave. Officers here are being trained in techniques they can use to defuse such situations when no crime has been committed. This is what it is going to take for the foreseeable future as racism in this country seems to be on the rise once again in large part due to the actions of our current administration. The hard work falls on the officer at street level to try and eradicate prejudice and maintain peace and civility.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biometrics Might Help Stop Criminals But Is It Constitutional?

Biometric science and technology continue to advance at an exponential rate. Thanks to this technology, law enforcement is finding new ways to put it to work cutting down on crime. In some instances, it could make it possible for law enforcement officers to solve cold cases. Despite these apparent advantages, many still feel as though the use of this technology could be a violation of a person’s civil rights and may be a violation of the constitution.

Finger Print Readers Are Only the Beginning
Among the most significant advances in the field of biometrics are facial recognition and fingerprint scanners. These technologies are used to secure a wide range of secured devices such as cell phones, tablets, even computers. Upon arrest, officers like to be able to search any electronic devices the alleged perpetrator might have. However, there is some concern that the use of this technology could be considered a violation of the individual’s 4th and 5th Amendment rights.

This issue has been before the courts, in 2016 a federal judge ruled that officers could compel a suspect to use their fingerprint to unlock their iPhone. But, one year later, another federal judge reversed this decision. Stating that he did not believe the situation warranted a suspect being forced to unlock their devices via biometrics so that officers could search them for evidence.

Moving on up to the latest in digital CCTV cameras and facial recognition software, the images, and video captured today can go way beyond just recognizing a person’s face. They can help with walking gait and voice recognition and create a picture accurate enough for “iris only” recognition.

In the Media
While many believe that since this type of technology is already in place adding to the toolbox of law enforcement officers is merely an extension of something we are all used to using. Many believe that making it available to law enforcement officers will make their cities safer.

The ACLU along with other critics, feel that the use of facial recognition software will make it possible for LE to track innocent people anywhere they go. At the same time, it would be possible for LE to follow a “person of interest” without having to obtain a warrant. At the same time, LE could monitor a person’s purchases (i.e., guns, ammunition, even fertilizer) and enter this information into a database which would then cause them to be added to the “person of interest” list.

Being on this list could then lead to a completely innocent person being tracked in the event of a crime being committed, even if the person in question had absolutely nothing to do with the crime in question. Critics believe that actions such as these could constitute a violation of that person’s 4th and 5th Amendment rights.

Finally, everyone seems to agree that the use of biometric devices can be of great help in helping law enforcement to deal with things like domestic terrorism. The final answer will be one that manages to achieve an acceptable balance between a person’s right their privacy and individual freedoms and the ability of biometrics to help make things a little safer for everyone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Four Trends in Law Enforcement to Watch in 2018

These trends are likely to continue having a significant impact at all levels of law enforcement including local, state, and federal. Here we present four trends that are most likely to affect law enforcement in 2018.

Domestic Terrorism
The number of incidences of domestic terrorism is expected to continue increasing leading to significant challenges at all levels of law enforcement. Incidents such as these are occurring in every state, forcing all sizes of law enforcement agencies to refocus their energies and work to modify their more traditional training techniques to better fit in with being able to combat domestic terrorism. This training should include recognizing “potential indicators” that an attack is imminent, understanding how the process of “radicalization” works, and an improvement in cooperation between all levels of law enforcement.

The Upswing in Vehicle Attacks
It is thought that in the very near future, vehicle attacks on crowds by bombing, suicide bombing, and simply driving into them, is going to the weapon of choice by terrorists. According to a report issued by the Transportation Security Administration, during the years 2014 through 2017, there were 17 known vehicle terror attacks in cities like New York, London, Paris, Barcelona, and Edmonton. These were all attacks using a vehicle to ram into crowds resulting in 173 deaths and approximately 667 injuries. The number of attacks is only likely to continue increasing in 2018.

The Continued Emergence of Long-Range Shooter Attacks
The ability to use long-range shooter or sniper type activities to injure and kill multiple people in large crowds such as happened in New York and Las Vegas has proven to be all too successful. The Las Vegas attack alone was responsible for 58 deaths and approximately 851 injured. With such large gatherings the norm across the nation, the number of these attacks are expected to continue growing. Law enforcement officers are now being trained to scan and search for such possibilities as far as 1,000 yards out along with enhanced training in how to recognize potential problem areas in the perimeter and how to identify assailants with ill-intent. At the same time, many law enforcement departments are now creating their own neutralization teams complete with marksmen (snipers) trained to take out shooters and other potential assailants.

Increased Public and Private Assessment of Police Behavior
The more active law enforcement officers become involved in doing their jobs, the more they are likely to come under scrutiny by literally everyone from the city mayor to the federal government and from the press to the man on the street. The current trend towards independent investigation is expected to continue as many police departments continue to struggle with their public image in the continuing environment of LEO related shooting deaths continues.

These are just a few of the significant trends that are likely to be growing problems for law enforcement officers in 2018 and the foreseeable future as the nation continues to demand more and better protection, but at the same time always expects officers to behave appropriately when they are on duty. The job of law enforcement will continue to be more challenging each year, especially with recruiting numbers falling at drastic rates in most areas of the country.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment