2013 was marked by experiences at opposite ends of the spectrum for the nation’s crime labs.
Multiple jurisdictions – including Kansas City, Nashville, Mississippi, and Washington DC – have built new crime labs. Many of these have state of the art technology and facilities. Still other jurisdictions, such as Cincinnati and Memphis, are seeking responsible solutions for much needed improvements in their crime lab facilities. This signifies that communities across the country consider these labs and services to be a priority even in these fiscally constrained times.
On the other hand, 2013 also included numerous instances of labs either being under suspicion of having or being found to have a variety of significant problems. Continue reading
It took only a glance into the Exhibit Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center last week to get a sense of modern policing. Booths of hundreds of exhibitors at the 2013 conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police filled the hall, with the air pierced routinely with bursts of simulated gunfire and sirens. Vehicles from the latest in patrol cars to high tech helicopters and mobile command centers drew lots of attention. Even more common than these “big ticket” items were firearms, the latest software applications (including CrimePad®), uniforms, and other gear.
Whether it is a million dollar mobile command center or a hundred dollar backpack, all these products have one thing in common – somebody in the organization needs to know or figure out how to buy it. It might seem that getting the buy-in to make the purchase might be the hard part. In some cases that’s true. Unfortunately, sometimes it easy the easiest part! Continue reading
Searching Google for “Is My Stuff Safe in the Cloud?” produces 3,280,000 results. Likely many more people have wondered about than actually asked the question. Whether you are a parent wondering about your kid’s grades being stored there or a CIO leading enterprise wide efforts to “move to the Cloud,” this is a fundamental question you will face. The answer, like those to many of life’s questions, is “it depends.” Well-designed and managed Cloud services can provide unprecedented levels of security and other benefits. But how do you know if that’s what you have? Continue reading
Data security is essential. If you are in the business, it’s important for your customers to know the data security you offer them. Unfortunately, there’s a really important question that often goes unasked, even by companies that make significant financial investments in these data security activities: Are the data worth protecting? Continue reading
This month, Jeff Gurvis presented at the 2013 American Society of Crime Lab Directors (ASCLD) in Durham, North Carolina. Jeff, a forensic scientist and nationally recognized expert, talked about crime technologies such as panoramic image acquisition and 3D laser scanning. He also discussed forensic technologies such as rapid DNA and antibody profiling. Jeff’s takeaway message described his vision for the real future for crime scene management and investigation – leveraging emerging technologies to facilitate broad-based collaboration. Continue reading
Law enforcement agencies, like organizations throughout all sectors of the economy, are faced with ongoing budget constraints. Departments all over the country are confronting reduced staffing levels; in many cases being unable to replace officers that retire. Funding for civilian personnel is similarly constrained. Of course the purchase of goods and services has also taken a hit as departments try to find savings elsewhere so that as many officers as possible can stay out on the streets.
Unlike other sectors of the economy, law enforcement cannot sustain a “do less with less” philosophy in the face of these constraints. Citizens cannot tolerate a reduction in public safety. Thus, the question is “what can be done to offset or mitigate the budgetary limitations faced by so many agencies?” Continue reading
Investigations currently are worked in teams of people and may involve several entities. These may include crime scene technicians and investigators from the local police department (major events might also include state and federal law enforcement), death investigators from medical examiner/coroner offices, forensic laboratories, district attorney offices, etc. With so many people involved, there is a lot of data collected. However, the dissemination of this data is inefficient and sometimes nonexistent. Most information is first collected by hand with free hand notes or pre-formatted worksheets and then it is compiled into a report which is distributed days later. Often times, calls are made to inform others of vital data but it isn’t recorded. Needless to say, the knowledge transfer amongst all individuals from all entities is severely lacking.
We all know that the first 48 hours are the most critical to the successful resolution of an investigation. With CrimePad, information sharing in real time allows for the entire team to be up to date with what is known in the investigation, even between agencies. Hence, a collaborative environment is generated where investigations can proceed quicker and more efficiently.