Tag Archives: law enforcement technology

12th Annual IAPro and BlueTeam Users Conference

 

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Public safety personnel from Professional Standards, investigative and criminal intelligence units are attending the 12th Annual IAPro and BlueTeam Users Conference this week, October 18-20 at the Monte Carlo Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. IAPro is the leading Internal Affairs/Professional Standards software used by law enforcement agencies across the USA, Canada and Australia. The conference includes sessions supporting advanced usage of IAPro and BlueTeam, customer feedback and Q&A sessions, networking opportunities and more.

Transcription of interviews and statements for Internal Affairs investigations can be extremely sensitive, requiring the utmost attention to accuracy, confidentiality and chain-of-custody. As a longtime alliance partner of IAPro, Net Transcripts is the top provider of secure, accurate transcription for law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. Our customers find comfort in having their sensitive material securely transcribed outside of the department and the local community, thereby removing any potential conflict of interest. Sign up today to experience the many benefits of utilizing Net Transcripts.

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Fighting Crime from the Sky: Drones and UAVs for Law Enforcement

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are being used by more police departments. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are being used by more police departments. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Across the nation, drones are taking off.  The devices – also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs – are popular with hobbyists for piloting and capturing aerial footage, and have been positioned by corporation giants such as Amazon as a method for delivering goods to consumers. While drones have also been used for illicit activity such as smuggling drugs past border patrols or airlifting packages to inmates over prison fences, the devices also have imminent potential as a tool for law enforcement operations.

Drones can be an eye in the sky for search-and-rescue, providing an advantageous viewpoint while protecting the search team from hazardous conditions. The aircraft can also quietly and efficiently search for individuals at large – such as escaped inmates – and provide intel to officers necessary for search warrants. For SWAT team operations, piloted drones can enter dangerous situations ahead of officers to gather visual intelligence, or deploy non-lethal munitions to incapacitate violent criminals.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide are already using drones in limited capacities. In February of 2015, the Michigan State Police became the first agency certified to use drones anywhere within state boundaries. Typically, law enforcement use of drones must be approved through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which awards a Certificate of Authorization for a designated area only. The state police agency has already purchased one drone for $158,000 and is training to deploy the device to scout for missing individuals, as well as to take pictures of traffic accidents, fires and disasters for use in investigations.

Other law enforcement agencies are working to prepare policies for use of UAVs and testing newly-purchased equipment. The Jackson, MS Police Department recently displayed the devices for a demonstration in April, but is still considering the implications of purchasing and putting the UAVs to use, according to the Police Chief. Another early adopter in October of 2014 – the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (ND)– was the first law enforcement agency given permission to fly the devices at night. The fleet of four aircraft has been used in 11 missions so far, primarily to provide a new perspective on traffic accidents and in one instance, to hunt fugitives thought to be hiding in corn fields. Internationally, UAVs have been used in policing in India, Sweden, and other countries. The UK’s Sussex Police has been awarded an amount roughly equivalent to $380,000 to try out the devices, heralding the technology as a safe, effective intelligence-gathering tool in situations where patrols are dangerous for the officers.

Police use of drones has gathered controversy that sometimes keeps the devices grounded, however. Civil rights groups have opposed the use of the aircraft by law enforcement without proper guidelines, citing concerns over abuse of mass surveillance of citizens. As demand for the devices for crime-fighting grows, police agencies will need to develop protocols for use that address these concerns.

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Future Forensics: New Developments in Evidence Technology

Forensic Science Investigations collect  DNA and fingerprint evidence. Photo via West Midlands Police

Forensic Science Investigations collect DNA and fingerprint evidence. Photo via West Midlands Police

DNA evidence is widely used in criminal investigations to prosecute offenders and exonerate the innocent. The power of DNA often extends beyond the lab and into the courtroom – due to what some call the “CSI effect,” a reference to the popularity of crime scene investigation TV shows, juries have come to expect incriminating DNA testimonies to decide the fate of the accused.

The future of forensics and crime scene investigation is set to catch up to its sensational TV counterpart, as new DNA technologies promise faster investigations and more comprehensive criminal identification techniques. Analysis technology called “Rapid DNA” is already outfitting police departments with the ability to analyze samples within just 90 minutes, and can be performed without operation by an expert technician.

The Criminal Investigations Division of the Palm Bay Police Department (FL) has been working with a standalone Rapid DNA device to process evidence since 2012, and is now using DNA profiles obtained with this new technology to prosecute a suspect in a 2013 theft case – the first use of Rapid DNA in a criminal investigation. Rapid DNA also poses potential for screening offenders during the booking process, as a DNA profile collected during an arrest can be matched against a database for an almost instant link to DNA found at the scene of the crime – a process that currently takes 30-60 days.

Researchers are also developing methods to construct 3D face shape as predicted by variations in different genes. This technology could give investigators the power to digitally recreate a criminal’s face based on DNA samples.

In addition to DNA, fingerprint analysis is another powerful tool for investigation and identification. Recently, experts from the Dutch Forensic Institute announced their discovery of accurate fingerprint dating, a technique that measures the deterioration of bodily chemicals left on objects to determine the age of a print. While current methods can only analyze the fingerprint age within 15 days, forensic investigators will one day be able to date prints from years before.

Collecting DNA, fingerprints and other evidence from crime scenes is what the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC) calls a crucial “first phase of the justice process.” The NFSTC Crime Scene Investigation Guide – downloadable as PDF or for e-readers – was composed by crime scene experts and released in 2013 as a tool for law enforcement. In addition to detailing principles and procedures for evidence collection, the guide describes interviewing witnesses as a crucial step in an initial response to a crime scene.

Interviews recorded either at the scene or police station can be sent to Net Transcripts for transcription, and promptly returned for use in investigations. Visit Solutions for Law Enforcement for more information on transcription of investigative recordings.

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VIEVU Integrates Net Transcripts Transcription Services into VERIPATROL Video Evidence Management System

VERIPATROL software by VIEVU allows audio and video to be sent to Net Transcripts for transcription.

VERIPATROL software by VIEVU allows audio and video files to be transcribed by Net Transcripts. Photo via VIEVU

Reduces public safety workload; delivers accurate and efficient transcription from secure and encrypted video evidence

SEATTLE, WA – April 29, 2014 VIEVU the industry leader in body worn video (BWV) for law enforcement, security, and emergency responders, today announced a partnership with Net Transcripts to integrate transcription and translation service into VERIPATROL, its highly secure video evidence management software, to provide rapid and cost effective transcription from video evidence collected in the field for later use in the courtroom.

Agencies continue to deploy police-worn BWV cameras as studies continue to show its benefits, including a recent study of the Rialto PD in CA illustrating an 88% decline in complaints filed against officers, and a 60% decline in use-of-force. VIEVU cameras are used by more than 3,100 law enforcement agencies including Oakland PD, Houston PD, Dallas PD, Atlanta PD, and Phoenix PD.

“We have enhanced the process of body worn video evidence collected in the field by offering an investigative tool of efficiency and accuracy that is courtroom ready. By integrating Net Transcripts into VERIPARTROL, officers can quickly upload encrypted crime scene footage or interviews. Then through our software, users can securely request transcription or translation from files stored in the database,” said VIEVU President Steve Lovell.
Additional benefits include:

  • Chain of custody tracking for single and multi-speaker transcription
  • No upfront costs or commitments with an online management center
  • Expedite turnaround, email notifications and live customer support.

The recently released VIEVU LE3, is a highly secure HD video camera, designed for law enforcement and was built not only to capture the best forensic video evidence possible but also to make operation simple with its large slide on/off switch for easy activation in stressful situations.

VERIPATROL, its accompanying software, installs in standalone, network, mobile or cloud-based environments; and can also be securely integrated through an advanced SDK into existing video systems or other video management platforms (i.e. dash cams, interview rooms or other third party software, et al).

VERIPATROL exceeds current evidence standards and prevents tampering, editing or deleting video using a FIPS 140-2 compliant file authenticity process. It also prevents unauthorized access if the camera is lost or stolen.

LE3 is available for $25/month per camera, including VERIPATROL. For more information, additional specs/requirements, please click here.

About Net Transcripts

Net Transcripts is the nation’s leading provider of secure Web-based Transcription and Translation services for Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice. Serving hundreds of local, State and Federal agencies nationwide, Net Transcripts has an impressive list of references that have come to trust the proven investigative efficiencies, operational improvements and significant budgetary savings – all without any upfront investment or commitments of any kind. More information is available at: www.nettranscripts.com or call: 800 942-4255

About VIEVU

Made for Cops by Cops, VIEVU is the leader in body worn video (BWV), providing a secure, high-resolution video cameras for law enforcement, security, emergency medical services and retailers. Built on police experience, VIEVU body worn video cameras are used by more than 3,100 law enforcement agencies in 16 countries. VIEVU received the highest score in an evaluation of body worn video by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For information please visit www.vievu.com.

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Dictation and Detail Improve the Written Report

An officer dictates his report.

An officer saves time by dictating his report rather than typing it.

It may be unpopular with officers, but the police report is one of law enforcement’s most powerful tools. Quality report writing is a critical skill and consistent feature of day-to-day operations. Everything an officer responds to must be crafted into a factual incident report that captures in detail the who, what, when, where, and how of the event. These accounts are invaluable in court and necessary for a prosecutors’ case, but preparing and typing reports for every incident can be time-consuming and tedious for officers pressed with other responsibilities.

Many departments have turned to digital dictation to allow staff to spend less time behind a computer and more time on the job. With single-speaker dictation transcription provided by Net Transcripts, an officer can speak reports and narratives directly into any recording device, upload the audio file, and receive a transcript of their report before the end of their shift. Net Transcripts’ new iOS mobile application allows reports and narratives to be recorded and uploaded for transcription directly from the user’s iPhone, equipping officers with a mobile tool to create incident reports with more efficiency and convenience.

Dictating reports may also solve problems with report writing that obstruct cases from processing smoothly. The San Francisco Police Department notes that in recent years, poorly written police reports caused the District Attorney’s Office to turn down a high volume of cases for prosecution. In a review of the reports, the department found the officers’ writing often lacked necessary descriptive information, and suffered from poor spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Digital dictation offers the speaker a way to describe incidents naturally without focusing on written grammar, and may encourage more thorough explanation of events.

Another distinct advantage to dictation is the ability to prepare a report immediately after the incident while the information is still fresh in the officer’s mind. Reports can be dictated from virtually anywhere and completed before the end of a shift, saving valuable time.

To improve report content, law enforcement professionals suggest focusing on clarity and attention to detail when describing incidents. By expanding phrases such as “used physical force” into more detail, officers can better communicate the situation to prosecutors, judges, and jury. Active and retired officers feature articles online with additional advice for report writers, including methods for organization and providing objective information.

Dictating reports is also a valuable solution for investigators and detectives, who can increase leads and follow-up opportunities in the time usually spent typing reports following interviews or other events. Visit Net Transcripts for more information on transcription services for investigative and patrol dictation.

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Law Enforcement Looks to Google Glass Technology

Image courtesy of CopTrax from Stalker

Image courtesy of CopTrax from Stalker

Google Glass is making waves as one of the year’s most anticipated technologies. While the average “Explorer” – one of Google Glass’s approved early adopters – is interested in the eyewear’s features for use in daily life, some agencies have begun sizing up Google Glass as a tool for law enforcement and public safety. Notable testers include the New York Police Department, the nation’s largest police force, which just recently announced their evaluation of Google Glass for potential use in operations. Officers may soon be sporting the wearable technology to capture media in the field, identify suspects, call up information while on patrol, and more.

The unique technology gets its name from its key feature – a small prism of glass mounted to simplistic eyewear frames, which projects a display into your field of vision above your right eye. Touching or swiping a trackpad allows you to control the device physically, but many commands can be performed with voice recognition.

The hands-free interface of Google Glass opens up possibilities for useful applications in patrol and investigative duties, including dictating reports and capturing interviews. Net Transcripts’ capabilities allows these audio and video recordings to be received and processed into completed transcripts. Net Transcripts serves departments nationwide who have transitioned to digital dictation, effectively eliminating time spent on typing reports and freeing officers for more critical duties. Conducting interviews or recording dictations with Google Glass would give the wearer the additional convenience of virtually hands-free recording operation, allowing for increased officer awareness and safety.

While not yet on the market, Google Glass has already passed its first law enforcement field test. In late 2013, in-car video developer CopTrax joined with Georgia-based Byron Police Department to run the device through a series of police operations, including a traffic stop, arrest, and use of firearms. It outperformed existing body-worn video for clarity and the advantage of an eye-level video reviewing experience, and did not hinder officer’s view when driving and shooting service weapons. By integrating its existing software functionalities, CopTrax fitted the device with an application to receive message alerts and store location markers. The eyewear’s ability to stream video, coupled with CopTrax’s geographic metadata, can also send a live feed with the precise location of officer interactions back to headquarters for review or backup response.

Law enforcement officials have also envisioned Google Glass as a powerful identification tool. Facial recognition software would detect individuals and draw on a comprehensive database of criminal history to display a suspect’s identity and information in the officer’s field of vision. By holding a driver’s license in front of the device, officers could pull up information from the barcode and complete a citation using voice commands. Data overlays could also provide life-saving information to officers responding to emergencies, and GPS functionalities could offer immediate access to directions, floor plans, and other location data.

The retail version of Google Glass is expected to be released in 2014, and more police departments will then be able to purchase and test the technology for its positive potential as a law enforcement gadget.

EDIT 3/19/14: Follow the discussion in the Google Glass for Law Enforcement LinkedIn group.

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Agencies Opt for Body-Worn Video

 

Police departments nationwide have been outfitting with an unblinking eye on crime.

While not yet a permanent addition to the lineup of uniform gadgets, the body-worn video camera is being rapidly adopted by agencies who feel that capturing video of police-citizen interactions often leads to more positive encounters. When coupled with services from Net Transcripts that quickly produce transcriptions of captured recordings, this technology also offers a significant increase in investigative efficiencies.

Current models of on-body video cameras are typically the size of a pack of cards, and clip to the chest. Certain types provide a thumb-sized lens clip that can be mounted on areas like shirt collars, sunglasses or helmets. Once activated by the officer, the device can capture high-resolution video and audio of anything from traffic stops to violent confrontations. Video files can be reviewed locally or uploaded to secure cloud-based storage, offered by body-worn camera manufacturers such as VIEVU and TASER International.

Agencies who have worked with on-body video herald its usefulness in aiding and even preventing investigations. When interactions with police offers become the subject of citizen complaints, law enforcement professionals can simply review video of the encounters to investigate claims.  False accusations of officer misconduct are easily resolved with this technology, as Doug Willie notes in his case study of Arizona’s Lake Havasu Police Department. In several incidents, Lake Havasu officers were swiftly cleared from unfounded complaints by review of captured video, including cases where citizens chose not to file a complaint entirely after learning the interaction had been recorded.

Proponents of body-worn video also confirm improvements in police-citizen interactions when the camera is present. When faced with a video device, citizens are more aware of their behavior toward officers, who are kept accountable for their actions.

The popularity of body-worn video cameras have propelled the technology into the law enforcement spotlight and enticed departments countrywide to outfit officers. Agencies adopting the technology will be faced with new challenges, such as policing use and integrating a system for reviewing and managing an influx of digital files. However, body-worn cameras have proved their worth in facilitating positive interactions and eliminating investigations into complaints, and will continue to be developed as a viable and successful tool for law enforcement.

Leading body-worn video manufacturer VIEVU is the developer of the popular LE2 camera model and corresponding VERIPATROL file management software. VIEVU and Net Transcripts have partnered to offer the integrated ability for full transcription and translation of audio captured with VIEVU’s body-worn video cameras. For law enforcement agencies seeking to maximize department productivity, the ability to review and utilize verbatim audio-to-text transcriptions from body-worn video technology accelerates the investigation process. For more information on VIEVU’s partnership with Net Transcripts services, please view the press release here.

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Net Transcripts and VIEVU Announce Strategic Partnership

[Phoenix, AZ] — Net Transcripts, the nation’s leader and innovator of web based transcription and translation services specifically for the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice markets, today announced a strategic partnership with VIEVU, the industry leader in body worn video and trusted by over 3000 law enforcement agencies. Now VIEVU customers have the integrated ability to receive full transcripts and or translation documents of audio captured with VIEVU body worn video cameras. Net Transcripts and VIEVU will also participate in joint marketing, promotions and trade show opportunities. This is a first to market integration that provides Public Safety customers a cost effective and efficient means of processing evidence collected in the field for later use in a courtroom.

About Net Transcripts

Net Transcripts is the nation’s leading provider of secure web-based transcription and translation services for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice agencies – Specialists in fast, accurate, secure and confidential transcription of multi-speaker interviews, interrogations and single-speaker dictated report narratives for all types of Criminal and Internal Affairs investigations and Patrol. Currently serving hundreds of local, State and Federal agencies nationwide, Net Transcripts has an impressive list of references that have come to trust the proven investigative efficiencies, operational improvements and significant budgetary savings – all without any upfront investment or commitments of any kind.

More information is available at www.nettranscripts.com

About VIEVU

Made by cops for cops! VIEVU is the leader in body worn video (BWV), providing a secure, high-resolution video camera for law enforcement, security, emergency medical services and retailers. Built on police experience, VIEVU body worn video cameras are used by over 3,000 law enforcement agencies in 16 countries. VIEVU received the highest score in an evaluation of body worn video by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

For information please visit www.VIEVU.com

Media Contacts

Gary Nudd, CEO
Net Transcripts, Inc.
(800) 942-4255

Steve Lovell, President
VIEVU
(919) 412-5777

See Also:

www.policeone.com/police-products/body-cameras/press-releases/6408430-NET-Transcripts-and-VIEVU-Announces-Strategic-Partnership/

www.correctionsone.com/products/Body-Cameras/press-releases/6408429-NET-Transcripts-and-VIEVU-Announces-Strategic-Partnership/

View on our website

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School Cancelled in Washington Due to Good Weather

Well it looks like we will be in Washington for the WHIA Conference just in time to catch the tail end of the nice weather.  Although being based in Tempe AZ has its perks, as we do get our fair share of nice weather here as well.  Although I don’t think we cancel school for nice weather days, if we did, we probably would only have a 70 day school year.

This is Net Transcripts 3rd year sponsoring the Washington Homicide Investigators Association (WHIA) and we are excited to attend their 1st Annual Conference in Shelton, May 8th – 10th.

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How Do Computers Wreck a Nice Beach

It is a very complex processes for a computer to be able to recognize speech, essentially turning minimal changes in air pressure into language. Sometimes computers get it wrong, sometimes they get it right. This is the main reason why at Net Transcripts, all of our transcripts are typed by actual humans based domestically here in the United States.

Aside from our previous concerns of privacy and confidentiality, voice recognition still does not have a place in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Transcription. Especially in some cases when that transcript can be someone’s only voice in a trial.  We take our quality and accuracy very seriously having one of the best in the industry (98.8%). We realize and understand the importance of an accurate transcript when going to trial.

Following is a very interesting read from Mental Floss on all the processes involved in for a computer to understand speech.  It is no wonder with all these steps how there is potential for error.

Mental Floss via Gizmodo

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