Doing the Math on Public Safety Technology Investments

December 27, 2012
Cop Car
In early October, Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB) convened a roundtable of criminal justice experts to discuss ways of improving the choices public safety agencies make about technology. During the meeting, members of the group cataloged some of the factors influencing these decisions, a list that, regrettably, included lobbying, hunches, and the urgent need to spend unused grant money. All agreed that careful and methodical assessments are too often missing from the equation. Fortunately, such assessments do exist, and I’d like to draw attention to a couple of recent studiesone on license plate readers and another on electronic monitoringthat exemplify a more evidence-based approach.
Cynthia Lum and fellow researchers at George Mason University investigated the impact of license plate readers (LPRs) on crime in two Northern Virginia jurisdictions. According to a 2010 survey by Lum, et al., nearly 50 percent of law enforcement agencies either have LPRs or plan to acquire them soon. LPRs are capable of scanning vast numbers of license plates for instantaneous comparison against an agency database of stolen or suspect vehicles, completely automating a process that otherwise requires constant radio communication with dispatchers (or an elephant’s memory). Now that’s a device with tremendous intuitive appeal.

The Convergence of Social Science and Technology

December 26, 2012
We are beginning to see an unusual coming together of cultures and disciplines that looks a lot like a convergence of views and purposes. Social scientists and technologists are not known for their frequent collaborations, but this fortunate circumstance may indeed be emerging.
A better and more complete way of sharing knowledge and communicating objectives would help everyone to produce the kind of innovation that the law enforcement and justice community seeks to solve some of the tougher problems. Whether this is done by conferences, Web sites, or social media, the evidence is coming in that the mutual focus on solving significant problems would dramatically improve the quality of justice and law enforcement.

ISE Begins Work On Creating a Standards-Based Acquistion Process

December 24, 2012
Dozens of federal agencies, state governments, and international governments are making the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) the standard for secure information sharing.  The story around the Federal Identity Credentialing and Access Management (FICAM) framework is similar to that of NIEM. Federal and state government agencies recognize the value of adopting the common approach to identity management.

State Courts Go Digital as Budget Pressures Mount

December 19, 2012
National Center for State Courts logo
The National Center for State Courts (NCSC), during a press conference, shared that between FY 2009 and FY 2012, 43 state court systems were hit with budget cuts. NCSC explained how state courts were managing to perform their duties smarter and cheaper. For example, Utah, pressed by fiscal realities, brought its courts into the twenty-first century, switching to digital audio versus professional court recorders. The civil side of the system has gone completely paperless, with all filings, including warrants, and payments made online. The transition to a paperless system, however, is not always easy, as the California courts discovered. Despite facing interoperability obstacles getting systems to talk with each other, California courts are reorganizing and planning for a better electronic court system.

OJJDP Bulletin Analyzes Long-Term Impact on Serious Juvenile Offenders Transferred to Adult Court

December 18, 2012
Office of Justice Programs logo
The Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released the bulletin Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Court: Effects of a Broad Policy in One Court, which examines the effects of transfer from juvenile court to adult court on a sample of serious adolescent offenders. The findings are the result of the OJJDP co-sponsored Pathways to Desistance study, which investigates factors that lead serious juvenile offenders to cease or continue offending. Over a seven-year period, the Pathways research team followed a group of 1,354 young offenders in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Maricopa County, Arizona, after their conviction, collecting comprehensive data on their offending and their lives. The study examines the factors that lead youth who have committed serious offenses to persist in or desist from further offending. The authors also discuss the implications of the findings for future changes in transfer statutes.

Defense Intelligence Office Marks 10 Years of Progress

December 17, 2012
Department of Defense logo
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently marked ten years of progress combating security threats through the establishment and successes of the DoD’s undersecretary of defense position.   In 2001, eight DOD agencies had intelligence responsibilities. Even then, defense officials understood the need to improve the department’s intelligence management, but the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on U.S. soil made the need more urgent. An entry in the National Defense Authorization Act created the position which, for the first time, harnessed and focused the department’s diverse intelligence assets. Today, Michael G. Vickers is the third undersecretary of defense for intelligence in an office whose 500 combined personnel are boosting the department’s ability to tackle conventional and emerging national security threats and its work as a partner with those in the broader intelligence community. “The silent professionals in the intelligence community are really some of the most dedicated and hardest working people I have ever met and are really committed to trying to protect this country and rarely get the recognition they deserve for the great work that they do to protect this country,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said at a dinner held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the position.

NASCIO Call-to-Action for Maturing Identity and Access Management Services in States

December 14, 2012
In a newly published call-to-action titled The Necessity for Maturing Identity and Access Management in State Government, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) encourages states to create a strategic vision for state-based identity, credential and access management efforts to address the challenges associated with trust, interoperability, security, and process improvement. The call-to-action urges states to adopt the State Identity Credential and Access Management (SICAM) Guidance and Roadmap that NASCIO released in September 2012. The publication includes discussion of the programs, processes, technologies, and personnel used to create a trusted digital identity environment.

Benton County Sheriff's Office Mapping and Statistics Tool

December 13, 2012
Map with push pins
The Benton County Sheriff's Office, Arizona, has launched a new online crime mapping tool that was developed completely in house. The map shows all reported crimes from 2011 and 2012, from a purse snatching to car wrecks and illustrates data on incidents and accidents, inmates, sex offenders, and more. The data represents all data for the year up to one week prior to the current date.

SEARCH Offers Online Training Course on Public Safety Project Management Success Factors

December 13, 2012
SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, is pleased to offer an online version of its popular training course on Public Safety Project Management Success Factors. The 4-hour course provides senior-level public safety managers with an overview and practical application of project success factors to help them successfully execute their duties related to their public safety projects. SEARCH developed this course through funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC). The course covers the top 10 public safety project management success factors, including governance, scope, time, cost, quality, and risk management. It focuses on the duties and responsibilities of a senior-level public safety professional as they relate to executive sponsorship and improving project success and features audiovisual presentations, exercises and self-assessments, and downloadable templates. Students are able to print a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course.

Corona Police Department Begins Social Media

December 12, 2012
Man using computer
The Corona Police Department (CPD), California, is utilizing social media outlets to send important, valuable community information directly to residents using the latest technology.  CPD will send community alerts, news, advisories, and other relevant safety and community event information using social media, as well as via cell phone text message and/or e-mail. This service is free to the public and allows CPD to reach an extensive community audience.

California Releases State Findings on Human Trafficking

December 12, 2012
California State Seal
The California Department of Justice released The State of Human Trafficking in California describing the state’s progress in combatting human trafficking since the formation of the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force in 2007. Considered the world’s second most profitable criminal enterprise after drug trafficking, human trafficking is defined in California as control of a person through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. The report addresses common challenges such as the prevalence of human trafficking among local and transnational gangs, the use of new technologies and social media to recruit victims, defining the scope of human trafficking in California, and providing assistance and protection to victims. Recommendations from the report include using California’s fusion center system to share and gather comprehensive information on human trafficking, tailor law enforcement and prosecution operations to handle human trafficking cases, create cross-border partnerships, leverage technology, and improve services and benefits available to victims.

Sunnyvale Unveils Online System for Reporting Nonemergency Crimes

December 11, 2012
Computer monitor and mouse image
The Sunnyvale Police Department, California, has unveiled an online reporting system for nonemergency crimes that allows residents to quickly obtain an electronic copy of an official report.  Such nonemergency crimes include check fraud, insufficient funds, theft that does not involve robbery, phone harassment, lost property, vandalism, identity theft, and vehicle tampering.  More than a fifth of the crimes reported in Sunnyvale in 2011 can now be reported online. The police report will be available within 24 hours for use in filing insurance claims and getting driver's licenses replaced. With online reporting, victims can enter information themselves and receive an e-mailed link to a report as early as the same day.

NCJA Webinar: Addressing the Intersection Between Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Systems

December 11, 2012
NCJA logo
It is often been noted that the largest mental health facilities in this country are local jails and state prisons. The Council of State Government estimated that 14 percent of men and 31 percent of woman in jail and state prison suffered from chronic and persistent mental illness in 2007. On January 23, 2013, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EST, in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) is sponsoring a Webinar titled “Addressing the Intersection Between Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System.” The Webinar will discuss two state-level strategies aimed at preventing those with chronic mental illness from either entering or returning to state and local justice systems. It will highlight the training and technical assistance provided to counties by the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Justice Center of Excellence and Oklahoma’s Collaborative Mental Health Reentry Program.  To register for this event, refer to the NCJA Registration site.

Armenian Police Officers Receive American Training in IACP Pilot Program

December 10, 2012
International Association of Chiefs of Police logo
The International Association of Chiefs of Police's (IACP) International Police Education and Training Program (IPET) aims to increase the capabilities of international senior police officials and police organizations; encourage effective and mutually beneficial relations between U.S. and international police organizations; and provide current and future international police leaders with broad theoretical and practical exposure to state-of-the-art policing concepts, practices, technology, and trends.   Armenia was selected to participate in an IPET pilot, which offers training and assistance to officers in developing change proposals for their home agency.  Armenian officers, who travelled to the United States for the first phase of the IPET pilot, identified two focus areas:  community policing and intelligence-led policing. They also identified several goals, such as establishing a citizen advisory council, refocusing existing school resource officers, and adding more crossing guards. In addition, they will attempt to standardize their report formatting to improve intelligence and data mining.  After the fellows returned to Armenia, they worked with the Police of the Republic of Armenia to gain approval for the plan that they had developed while in the United States. Further assistance was provided through site visits to Armenia by IACP officials and subject-matter experts (SMEs) as a follow-up visit by IPET mentors.
Source: IACP

Achieving Interoperability Across the Commonwealth of Virginia Through NIEM

December 7, 2012
Virginia State Seal
In May of 2012, Virginia’s General Assembly adopted language in the 2012 Appropriation Act requiring the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Technology to work with all cabinet secretaries and their agencies to standardize “citizen-centric” data to reduce redundancy, enforce data quality, and realize a higher return on investment for data assets.  The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), working on behalf of the Secretary and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Commonwealth, has centered its compliance strategy on migrating agencies toward conformance with the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM).  By integrating NIEM into the Commonwealth’s enterprise information architecture program, VITA will be able to enforce a common discipline; an established, stable set of standards; and a shared vocabulary to support semantic interoperability for person-related data across state government.  Virginia’s adoption of NIEM represents the Commonwealth’s latest step toward enterprise data governance and standardization.

Attorney General Eric Holder and High-Level Officials Launch Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online

December 6, 2012
U.S. Department of Justice Seal
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union (EU) Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström launched the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online at a ministerial conference on December 5, 2012, in Brussels. The initiative aims to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and prosecute perpetrators.  Participants include 49 countries:  27 EU member states and 22 countries outside the EU. "Our responsibility is to protect children wherever they live and to bring criminals to justice wherever they operate. The only way to achieve this is to team up for more intensive and better coordinated action worldwide,” said Commissioner Malmström.  The countries of the alliance are committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals aimed at combating this pervasive problem.

NIEM Technical Training Course

December 4, 2012
The Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute, through grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is hosting a National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Technical Training Course on March 57, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona, at the Nlets Training Facility. This three-day technical course is intended for information exchange developers and implementers and is designed to guide students through NIEM in a structured process. [Additional Course Information] [Register Online]

Introducing the Bureau of Justice Assistance Strategic Plan

November 26, 2012
Bureau of Justice Assistance Logo

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 20132016. The plan is based on one overarching guiding principle: Reduce crime, recidivism, and unnecessary confinement, and promote a safe and fair criminal justice system. Recognizing the need to be innovative, yet evidence-based and results-driven, BJA will focus on major strategic areas during this five-year period. Read the Strategic Plan to learn more about the specific goals and strategies that will guide BJA's future efforts.

Google Joins AMBER Alert Network

November 23, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) recently announced a new partnership with Google that will allow users to receive AMBER Alerts—urgent child-abduction bulletins—through Google Maps and Google Search features. The AMBER Alert program is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice and is a voluntary partnership of law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, Internet service providers, and the wireless industry. The AMBER Alert program was created in 1996 after the abduction and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman and is credited with the recovery of 595 abducted children.

Information Sharing for Prosecutors

November 21, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
We have been focused for decades on improving information sharing about case, offender, and event information, mostly in structured databases, and there is no question that we must improve our ability to automate information sharing among the police, prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Together, with a high degree of attention on this topic, and with the development of standards such as the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), we are indeed making progress. But there is a lot more information that should be shared from unstructured sources. Before she was appointed by President Obama to be Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Denise O’Donnell served as the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and, in that capacity, she approved a grant of BJA funds for a little exploratory project to create a place on the Internet where prosecutors could share information on strategies and cases of wide interest. What ultimately emerged from this modest beginning is now the Prosecutors Encyclopedia (PE), a national repository and sharing vehicle with 4.7 million pages of highly searchable information. PE, as it has come to be called, contains a plethora of useful information for helping prosecutors prepare for and execute a strategy for major cases. It includes links to federal and state case law since 1970, case strategies for complex and difficult cases, reams of transcripts and video testimony of expert witnesses in such cases, learning opportunities, and even a national directory of prosecutors and expert witnesses.

National SMS System Successful During Superstorm Sandy

November 16, 2012
Radio Tower
Roughly six months after the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)a free, national alert system that sends emergency notifications to the public via their mobile phone during emergencieswent live, alert messages were sent out during superstorm Sandy, which swept across the eastern seaboard in late October. Despite damages caused by Sandy, however, some experts said CMAS was ultimately successful during the storm. CMAS is the interface to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service that wireless phone carriers began rolling out earlier this year, and according to confirmations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Weather Service, messages were sent out to people located in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine when Sandy hit the East Coast.

FBI Builds Facial Recognition App

November 15, 2012
Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal
The FBI is creating a mobile tool for collecting facial images, iris scans, and other biometric indicators to tag suspects in the field, according to federal acquisition documents. Authorities are two years away from completing a $1 billion facial recognition system that will modernize the bureau’s 13-year-old biometric fingerprint database. The envisioned app will be able to contribute to the system’s growing compilation of crime scene photos, iris scans police file, and other digitized images of physical traits.

IJIS Institute Announces New Associate Program for Government, Academic, and Nonprofit Employees

November 14, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
The IJIS Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on mission-critical information sharing for justice, public safety, and homeland security, announces the creation of a new Associate Program. The new Associate Program will support the IJIS Institute’s mission of uniting the public and private sector to jointly address the challenges of information sharing. For the first time, government, academic, and nonprofit employees, who are interested in information sharing technology and standards, are invited to join the IJIS Institute in the role of an Associate and to work alongside their industry counterparts.

Could a Cyber Ecosystem Automatically Defend Government Networks?

November 13, 2012
Keyboard Lock Key
Since its inception, the Internet has grown wild, which has spurred innovation, activity, and information sharing, but has left security and standards unattended. The result is an online environment where outlaws can roam free. Now a multiagency effort wants to impose a little order with a structured cyber “ecosystem” that could automatically assess and respond to threats, learn from previous incidents, and even heal itself. Through a recent request for information issued in September, the Homeland Security Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are examining the current state of technology and the advances needed to create what they call a healthy and resilient system capable of using a defensive concept called Automated Collective Action. The goal is a broad-based, multiagency or even global system that could, through machine learning and automated information sharing, detect, mitigate, and respond to threats while maintaining mission-critical operations.

DHS Deploys Data-Rich Emergency Maps

November 5, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
In the event of an urban catastrophe, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now has access to a new mapping tool to mitigate the damage. In conjunction with the agency's participation in the Wide Area Recovery & Resiliency Program (WARRP), the DHS will be able to use dynamic maps that pull data from multiple sources to provide emergency officials with an accurate, cohesive view of the situation.

Smart Cameras Predict Human Behavior

November 2, 2012
Image of Surveillance Camera
Security guards who monitor surveillance cameras could one day be replaced by a computer program, thanks to the Mind's Eye program at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). At CMU, researchers are working on software that can not only monitor surveillance video, but also predict what will happen next and prevent crimes before they occur, reported. The system would sound an alarm upon detecting behavior considered suspicious.

Pentagon’s Roving Intel Center Helps Emergency Responders

November 1, 2012
Department of Defense Seal
When street signs fall and cell towers fail, the Pentagon is ready to dispatch a high-tech command center with digital mapmaking gear for federal emergency responders arriving in unfamiliar hurricane-ravaged regions. In response to a civilian agency’s request, the Defense Department’s Domestic Mobile Integrated Geospatial-Intelligence System, or DMIGS, can discern the location of critical infrastructure. The 44-foot long vehicle is built like a fire truck and contains technology similar to the computers and communications available at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters.

Milwaukee Police Give 911 a Facelift

October 24, 2012
Image of Dispatcher

In recent years, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) has made a sustained effort to curb the practice of dispatching patrol cars in response to non-urgent 911 calls. The new initiative is named the Differential Police Response (DPR). DPR is the brainchild of Milwaukee’s reform-minded police chief, Ed Flynn. Flynn arrived in Milwaukee four years ago, after serving as police chief in Springfield, Massachusetts; Arlington, Virginia; and several other cities. He also served as Massachusetts’ secretary of public safety under Governor Mitt Romney. In Milwaukee, Flynn found a department “trapped in amber,” the majority of whose officers were focused on clearance rates and response times rather than on preventing crime.


VanRoekel: Agencies to Adopt NSTIC

October 23, 2012
Keyboard Lock

The Office of Management and Budget wants agencies to adopt the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, to enable shared, citizen identity management across government. "NSTIC basically orders government to trust a level of assurance across government boundaries," said Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel October 11 while speaking at the World Government Summit on Open Source in Washington, DC.  In employing NSTIC, agencies will adopt a federated identity management model that allows trust relationships across agencies.

Feds Pilot "Rapid DNA" to Potentially Identify Casualties, Immigrants

October 16, 2012
DNA Strand
The Pentagon in January will start testing portable DNA analysis equipment intended to identify individuals within an hour, federal research documents show. If successful, government agencies could use the technology to detect border trespassers and enemy combatants, according to the documents. During the next two years, the University of North Texas will evaluate “rapid DNA” tools for certification before widespread rollout, under terms negotiated with the Defense Biometrics and Forensics Office. The school’s genetics laboratory is the only independent, accredited institution capable of running samples against the FBI’s DNA index, officials stated in a spending disclosure to justify awarding the project without competition.

Predictive Policing a Success in Santa Cruz, California

October 12, 2012
California State Seal
Burglaries are down in the iconic beach community of Santa Cruz, California, and police are crediting the drop in crime to the use of predictive policing technology. The Santa Cruz Police Department compared crime statistics from the first six months of 2012 to the same timeframe in 2011 when the advanced analytics and prediction technology wasn’t being used. Without adding more officers to the streets or changing beats and shift times, the results were a 19 percent reduction in property theft. Zach Friend, press information officer and crime analyst for the Santa Cruz PD, said the program’s success really started being noticed a few months after the department installed the system as a pilot project in July 2011. Crime data is pumped into a database and a complex computer algorithm predicts hotspots around the city where officers can expect illegal activity to occur.

New Resource for Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections: APPA's Community Corrections Automated Case Management Procurement Guide with Bid Specifications

October 11, 2012
American Probation and Parole Association Logo
With support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA)--long-standing Global member agency--developed and published guidance on procuring automated information solutions (such as case management systems) in one concise volume. This report addresses preparing for change (e.g., strategic planning, evaluating the current technological climate), choosing between developing or procuring a solution (or a combined approach), preparing and developing a Request for Proposal (including an RFP template), information sharing considerations, and tips for evaluating proposals. The appendix includes an extensive list of system requirements/bid specifications for agencies' tailoring and use in their own RFPs.

Data Sharing Fights Crime in the Desert

October 9, 2012
Arizona State Seal
Touted on its Web site as one of America’s fastest-growing cities, Mesa, Arizona—15 miles outside of Phoenix—boasts a population nearing 500,000. Law enforcement in Mesa is increasing its crime-fighting odds with an analytics tool cited as evidence of a new trend in policing.

A Big Data Road Map for Government

October 8, 2012
Image of Binary Code and Globe
No entity produces, gathers, and stores more data than the American government. So the challenges and opportunities of so-called Big Data loom large for the many agencies and departments of the United States government. The Obama administration acknowledged that reality last spring when it announced a major research initiative in Big Data computing in government, with funding commitments that totaled $200 million. Research is one step, but to really harness the Big Data opportunity there needs to be a proliferation of useful projects across government. The goal is to find insights and make better decisions using data from traditional databases as well as from the fast-growing new sources of digital data, including the Web, biological and industrial sensors, video, e-mail, and social network communications.

Study: Police Are No Longer Social Media Skeptics

October 5, 2012
Image of @ Key
Law enforcement is taking social media seriously, according to a recent survey showing that most agencies use social media and almost all agencies are interested in using sites like Facebook and Twitter to solve crimes. Through its partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Center for Social Media released its third-annual social media survey on October. 2, revealing social media as a fast-growing trend in law enforcement.

The Promise of Big Data in Public Safety and Justice

September 25, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
The world is overwhelmed by data—and the prospects are for more than we can drink in for as far as we can see. Studies by IBM and Cisco have concluded that 90 percent of the data in the world today has been acquired in the past 18 months, and that we will double this vast store every 18 months for the foreseeable future. These same studies calculate that we generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. A major source of the increasing store of data comes from the Internet, including social media, online shopping, and the posting of incredible amounts of detail on stories and everything from movies to books to newspapers to you name it. As Internet use grew, companies that were growing rapidly and supporting searches across the data repositories on the Internet, as well as online personal consumption records captured in the course of doing online business, realized that there was a massive amount of data being captured about people. If they had a way to analyze and sort through all of this data, then they would be able to introduce a new model where personalized interaction was possible as long as there was enough detail data to create individual preferences. This commercial drive led to the creation of what is now called big data. It is based on the use of a new approach to analysis using highly sophisticated models and a new distributed file system called Hadoop designed to break processing and computation down across hundreds or thousands of individual computers. The low end of the Hadoop processing world covers hundreds of gigabytes.

Phoenix Website Helps Visually Impaired Residents

September 21, 2012
Arizona State Seal
Government Websites are often used for finding the locations of municipal buildings, health clinics, and city parks. But for those who don’t read with their eyes, browsing a computer screen can be nearly impossible. To assist the blind and visually impaired community with this, Phoenix's Street Transportation and IT departments launched a new Website that works with technology to read the text out loud to users. The Website, launched in August, lists the locations of all the accessible pedestrian street signals within the city and features audio files of the different sound signals used for pedestrians at crosswalks, so individuals can identify which sound means what.

Feds Predict $16.6 Billion in Cloud Savings, Triple OMB’s Estimates

September 24, 2012
Cloud Computing
Federal managers believe they can save more than $16 billion annually by moving critical technology infrastructure to cloud computing, a survey released recently shows. That’s more than three times the highest figure to come from the Office of Management and Budget. In May 2011, then-federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra told a Senate panel that moving computer storage and services to the cloud would save the government a minimum of $5 billion annually. Kundra stressed that the $5 billion figure was only the minimum possible payoff, and said a definitive number would have to wait until more of the transition was completed.

Can Digital Recordings Save Money for Courts?

September 20, 2012
Picture of Lady Justice and Statutes
In his novel David Copperfield, Charles Dickens describes the difficulty of learning “the noble art and mystery of stenography.” Dickens wrote from experience: Before becoming a novelist, he worked as a court stenographer. People have practiced the “noble art” for millennia, from the Ancient Greeks to the actor Harvey Keitel, who worked as a court reporter before launching his acting career. But 162 years after Dickens published his classic novel, a shrinking number of U.S. courts rely solely on human beings to record legal proceedings. In an era of tight budgets, courts in all 50 states have replaced court stenographers—many of whom can type more than 250 words per minute—with digital recording systems. These systems range from simple tape recorders to multiple-camera, motion-sensitive systems.

County Government Learns to Catch Online Predators

September 19, 2012
New Mexico State Seal
The popularity of shows like Dateline NBC's To Catch a Predator shed light on a widespread problem in 2004 when the show was first launched. Today, a small county in New Mexico is doing its part to fight pedophilia and child pornography locally with a little help from the FBI. In Eddy County, New Mexico, Sergeant Alan Griffith of the Eddy County Sheriff's Office received extensive training to fight child pornographers online and in person, Chris Hansen-style. Griffith uses special software, funded by state and federal funds, to secretly monitor the IP addresses of local residents who access child pornography through their computers or cellphones. In one case, the police were able to catch a man they had been monitoring online and then recover deleted files from his phone to verify the crime.

Justice Gives NASCIO Grant to Promote Info Sharing Across Borders

September 13, 2012
U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Seal
The Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) a grant to advance justice information sharing at the state government level. The National Justice Information Sharing Initiative grant, in the amount of $200,000, continues the partnership that began in 1998 between NASCIO and the Bureau of Justice Assistance to advance enterprise architecture and information sharing in the states, NASCIO officials said.

National Association for Justice Information Systems (NAJIS) 2012 Conference

September 4, 2012
National Association for Justice Information Systems Logo
JOIN NAJIS October 912, 2012, in Portland, Maine. The National Association for Justice Information Systems (NAJIS) will hold their annual conference in the beautiful seaside of Portland, Maine. The 2012 Conference agenda will cover trending topics of importance to criminal justice technology practitioners. Topics include “SAVIN IEPD,” “eEverything—The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” “Re-Entry of Offenders—The Hampden County Project,” “Implementing Statewide Master Charge Codes or Offense Tables,” “Mobile Apps for Government,” to mention a few. Opening KeynoteSocial Media’s Impact on Criminal InvestigationsThe Philip Markoff “Craiglist Killer” case. The conference will take place at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, located within walking distance of the Atlantic Ocean, the Old Port, and the working waterfront and Arts District. TO REGISTER CLICK HERE!

10 Agency IT Projects Take 2012 GCN Awards

August 29, 2012
Computer Code Globe
Ten government IT projects showing ingenuity in connecting citizens with government as well as creative ways of meeting the growing demand for information sharing tactics and tools have been named winners of the 2012 GCN Awards for IT achievement. The winning projects ranged from massive enterprise turnarounds to those demanding swift but flawless execution, including an application that lets truckers easily map safe transportation routes and the IT rebuild of the nation’s largest state benefits agency.

FBI Gives Police Free Tool to Convert Photos for Facial Recognition

August 28, 2012
Facial Recognition Software
Within weeks, police nationwide should be able to obtain free software for matching photos of unidentified suspects against the FBI’s biometric database of 12 million mug shots, according to an Office of the Director of National Intelligence agency.
The FBI and Homeland Security Department are experimenting with facial recognition to determine the real names of illegal immigrants, identify persons of interest in candid photos, and fulfill other law enforcement responsibilities. To make that happen, however, law enforcement agencies at every level of government must share images with compatible technology that they can afford, former FBI officials say.
So, the bureau is offering agencies some of the equipment at no cost.
“Later this summer, the FBI will deploy the Universal Face Workstation software, a free-of-charge client application that will provide users with the tools for conducting and managing facial/photo searches with a minimal resource investment,” Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, wrote in his annual report to Congress.

Congratulations, Global Partners! The IJIS Institute and ISE Honored by FedTech for “Must-Read Blogs”

August 23, 2012
Binary Ciode and @ symbol
In the recent selection of “50 Must-Read Federal Technology Blogs,” FedTech singled out the IJIS Institute (IJIS) and the Information Sharing Environment (ISE) for commendation. Paul Wormeli, IJIS Executive Director Emeritus, was lauded for authoring “The IJIS Factor,” focusing his insights, expertise, and historical knowledge of the justice and public safety information sharing enterprise on “Strategic Thinking for innovations in government through technology.” The ISE blog was praised for the innovation and breadth of topics and authors: “...the Information Sharing Environment is designed to prevent terrorist activity by exchanging sensitive information between agencies and governments. As you might imagine, the technology behind this operation is trailblazing, and so are the people writing the blog.” Program Manager Kshemendra Paul is a frequent contributor to the ISE posts. Congratulations on the well-deserved recognition of these long-standing Global champions and compelling bloggers! 

Inside the Weird World of Tracking Gangs on Social Media

August 17, 2012
Internet Screenshot
Graffiti has served as the billboard of gang violence for decades, or as Inspector Jon Cargill of the gang unit for Oklahoma Cityone of the worst cities for gang violence in the countryputs it, "graffiti is the newspaper of the street." It's a means of provocation and a tool to lay claim to streets, of showing other gang members you aren't scared to fight. "Gangs put the information out there as a way to show territory, to intimidate people, to show disrespect to other groups," Cargill says. "It's a way of riling things up, of going after each other, and it works." But gang graffiti today has taken a turn for the worse. It's going viral and virtual. Gang members aren't just writing on the walls of their neighborhoods, they're marking up the walls of Facebook and Twitter, bringing the war of the streets to the world of social media. "Facebook is their new street corner," Sergeant Lou Savelli, a former NYPD gang specialist who now runs a law enforcement training firm, explains. "Rather than yelling at each other on the streets and on the walls, now they do it on the Internet and everyone can see."

Inside a State-of-the-Art County Operations Center

August 15, 2012
Michigan State Seal
When people think of local government, they don't usually imagine a NASA-style control room buzzing with people wearing suits and headsets. But in Macomb County, Michigan, that fantasy may soon become more fact than fiction. The county has a $12.5 million plan to consolidate resources and build a high-ceiling operations center complete with work stations and an 18- by 45-foot wall of video monitors displaying a Doppler radar map and video feeds of nearby infrastructure. The sheriff’s dispatch, road department traffic operations, IT data center, and the emergency management and communications department will all work under one roof sharing the technology.

App Tracks Campus Police in 3D

August 14, 2012
Satellite Orbitting Earth
With attacks on universities and in public places becoming an almost weekly occurrence, finding ways to get police where they need to be, quickly, is vital. The University of North Carolina, Charlotte’s police department has been testing an app that maps out the university and tracks officers. The Effective Emergency Response Communication app aids officers during emergency situations by mapping the campus and keeping tabs on each other’s location through their iPod Touches.

New York City Shows New Law Enforcement Technology

August 13, 2012
New York State Seal
Top New York City officials recently revealed capabilities of a next-generation situational awareness platform being used in the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative Command Center. The software, called the Domain Awareness System, is New York City’s attempt to build a truly one-stop shop for crime and counterterrorism data that’s accessible in real time to New York Police Department officers and other law enforcement personnel. Architected by the NYPD with technical assistance from Microsoft, the system brings together the city’s many data sources — from license plate readers, radiation detectors, 911 call information, public and private surveillance cameras, criminal records and incident reports, and predictive analytics — into a single dashboard tailored to aid police work. The information is presented visually on maps and is organized chronologically.

Growing Number of Communities Using Smart911

August 3, 2012
Picture of Emergency Dispatcher
Smart911 systems are springing up around the country, offering a new way to help first responders save lives by providing critical health information ahead of time. Traditional 911 systems provide dispatchers with only a callback number and the name of the company providing the phone service, but Smart911 gives a clearer picture of patients.
A man who called 911 in Nashville recently was too ill to speak to the dispatcher. That could have been a life-threatening situation, says Duane Phillips, director of Emergency Communications Center in metro Nashville. But because the man had registered with a new 911 database called Smart911 and detailed his health issues, the dispatcher knew what to do. "Normally, we handle that as an open line and send police to investigate," Phillips said. "Because he had registered with Smart911, we knew he had heart problems, so we sent an ambulance and the police. It probably saved his life." Nashville is one of a growing number of cities and communities that have adopted the Smart911 systema voluntary database that allows people to enter personal information, such as medical conditions and number of children in a house, that gives dispatchers information that could prove critical when they send first-responders out on emergency calls.

Are FBI's Android Data-Sharing Apps Hacker-Proof?

August 2, 2012
Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal
The FBI plans to tap George Mason University scientists to perform tests on the law enforcement agency's Android mobile applications to see if they are hacker-proof, a notice of intent reveals. The bureau will match funding provided by the military venture capital arm, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to help tailor testing systems to the FBI's specific needs. The team chose to focus on the Android operating system because it has one of the most widely used and vulnerable app markets. Also, because Android is an open-source platform, it is ideal for experimentation in the laboratory, the scientists said. The goal is to create tools that test vulnerabilities in mobile apps such as those integrated with the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange and National Crime Information Center, both data-sharing tools that grant access to criminal justice records.

BJA Announces Open Comment Period for Charging Reference Service

July 27, 2012
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Logo
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)—in response to recommendations from the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global), a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) to the U.S. Attorney General on justice information sharing, together with support from the Global Standards Council (GSC)—is pleased to make available the draft Charging Reference Service for public review and comment.
The Charging Service will assist justice agencies by supporting more efficient and effective sharing of charging information, including bill of information and complaints, and indictments to appropriate agencies and individuals within the justice system. The service will obtain charging information from a particular system (e.g., law enforcement) and send it to other criminal justice agencies as appropriate (e.g., courts, prosecutors) in an effort to increase the accuracy and timeliness of sharing the initial charging information.
To access and comment on this draft standard, please direct your attention to     Deadline to submit all comments is August 10, 2012.

Building Federated Search Capabilities for Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Partners

July 26, 2012
Information Sharing Environment Logo
Since 2007, authorized federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers and analysts have been able to access resources on Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU)/Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) systems beyond their “home” systems without having to log on to each system separately. For example, users of the Criminal Justice Information Services’ (CJIS) FBI’s Law Enforcement Online (LEO) system, the Chicago Police Department’s internal system, and the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) have been accessing resources on the Regional Information Sharing Systems’™ (RISS’s) RISSNET by clicking on the appropriate links on their home system’s Web site. In turn, authorized RISSNET users have been able to access resources controlled by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in a similar manner. The technology that provides this capability is known as federated identity simplified sign-on.
Making it easier for law enforcement officers and analysts to access critical information on multiple SBU/CUI systems through simplified sign-on was the first important step in bringing the right information to the right people at the right time. The next step is to provide law enforcement officers and analysts with a tool that will allow them to find the critical information they need with even less effort by allowing them to search for critical information across multiple SBU/CUI systems at one time without having to “go to” each target system. The technology that provides this capability is referred to as secure federated search. The exact results returned to a user using secure federated search are under the complete control of the owner of the information. Each user will receive only the information that is appropriate for their particular level of authorization.

Massachusetts Criminal Records System Speeds Up

July 25, 2012
Massachusetts State Seal
A new online system in Massachusetts is making it easier for nearly everyone—schools, hospitals, landlords, and employers—to request in-state “criminal offender record information” (CORI). The system—appropriately named iCORI—was developed as a result of a 2010 state mandate that updated who could have access to what criminal records data. The password-protected system launched in May allows users to open an account, submit a criminal record request for an individual in question, and pay the required fees via credit card, said Curtis Wood, undersecretary of forensic science and technology for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Privacy Trumps Cybersecurity, Poll Shows

July 24, 2012
Privacy Puzzle Piece
Proposals to increase cybersecurity by allowing businesses and government to share information may enjoy bipartisan support in Washington, but Americans are not sold on the idea, the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds. Almost two-thirds of respondents—63 percent—said government and businesses should not be allowed to share information because it would hurt privacy and civil liberties. But 29 percent of those surveyed said information sharing should be allowed to better protect computer networks.

Police Leadership Challenges in a Changing World

July 23, 2012
National Institute of Justice Logo
This resource examines the impact that new technology and a new generation of police officers are having on existing police culture, which presents not only leadership challenges, but significant opportunities. New recruits demonstrate a familiarity with technology and social media, new attitudes towards their role, greater acceptance of diversity, and different expectations regarding autonomy and participation in decision making.

Free JISP Beacon Webinar—The Indiana Data Exchange (IDEx) Project: A Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) Success-in-the-Field Story

July 20, 2012
Justice Information Sharing Practitioners Network
IDEx is a 21-agency effort under the leadership of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security that includes local, state, and federal agency participation. By using a range of Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) solutions (supported in response to Global recommendations), including the Global Reference Architecture (GRA), the Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM) framework, and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), IDEx connects disparate justice and public safety systems’ data, leveraging existing investments for enhanced decision making and increased public safety. Because the planning, design, and initial capital investment were grant funded, IDEx exemplifies how a state can use federal support to initiate a project resulting in immediate and long-term cost savings and efficiencies.
During the Webinar, Indiana State Senator Thomas Wyss, Global representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures, will provide introductory comments and insights, including the value of Global participation and use of Global-recommended tools, and the need for a project champion in justice information sharing projects. Director Jason Hutchens, Planning Division, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, will discuss the IDEx project, emphasizing leveraging of Global solutions, the importance of the principle of “reuse,” the IDEx Return on Investment (ROI) report, and how enhanced information sharing capabilities were critical in responding to spring storms that devastated Indiana.
Join us! Tuesday, July 24, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Register NOW at

BJA Announces Open Comment Period for ICOTNS and SORNA SIRS Standards

July 18, 2012
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Logo
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)—in response to recommendations from the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) to the U.S. Attorney General on justice information sharing, together with support from the Global Standards Council (GSC)—is pleased to make available two draft standards for public review and comment:
1. Interstate Compact Offender Transfer Notification Service (ICOTNS), used to notify fusion centers of the interstate transfer of a “high-risk” offender—i.e., an offender currently under supervision for a violent-related crime and/or affiliated with a gang and/or a registered sex offender.
2. Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Interjurisdictional Relocation Service (SIRS), used to provide offender and relocation information, including notifications among a sending jurisdiction, receiving jurisdiction, the SORNA Exchange Portal, and the United States Marshals Service as a part of the offender relocation registration process.
To access and comment on both draft standards, please direct your attention to the following link:   Deadline to submit all comments is July 30, 2012.

IJIS Institute—APCO White Paper Published: High Priority Information Sharing Needs for Emergency Communications and First Responders

July 17, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
This Unified Computer-Aided Dispatch (UCAD) project committee has documented the high priority information sharing capabilities needed by the emergency communications and first responder communities.  The IJIS Institute and Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International (APCO), on behalf of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), launched the UCAD Project in 2010, in part, to create the Unified CAD Functional Requirements document—an updated, comprehensive, and unified set of functional requirements for Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD). The current CAD Functional Requirements are often used by agencies in issuance of Request for Proposals (RFPs).  The project committee is comprised of 22 subject matter experts from various stakeholder disciplines (emergency communications, law enforcement, fire service, EMS, and industry).
Source: IJIS

DHS to Give Agencies Free Computer Threat-Detection Packages

July 16, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2013 expects to present each agency with what amounts to security-in-a-box for computers. The free, three-piece package will include near real-time threat sensors, a control panel for prioritizing fixes, and consulting services to make all the pieces work together, DHS officials said. Under the department’s proposal, $202 million in DHS funding would subsidize what Homeland Security calls ”continuous monitoring as a service” at all federal offices.

NIEM Virtual Executive Steering Council (ESC) Town Hall Meeting!

July 13, 2012
National Information Exchange Model Logo
You are invited to attend our first NIEM Virtual Executive Steering Council (ESC) Town Hall meeting! Please mark your calendars for Thursday, July 19, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. EST.
Who’s coming from the NIEM ESC, you ask? The three voting members--the chief information officers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They will kick off the hour-long event with general updates and news on the NIEM program, followed by a question-and-answer period with the NIEM community.
This is your chance to ask DHS CIO Richard Spires, DOJ CIO Luke McCormack, and HHS CIO Frank Baitman questions about NIEM, provide feedback, and share your ideas about the future. You can e-mail your questions ahead of time by sending them to Please put "Virtual ESC Town Hall" in the subject line.
​The Virtual ESC Town Hall is free and open to everyone. We just ask that you RSVP in advance to help us ensure that we can accommodate all who wish to participate.
​Just click here to RSVP and be sure to add the Town Hall to your calendar.

Bomb Threat? An App for that, too

July 12, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
At approximately 6:30 pm on Saturday, May 1, 2010, a smoking SUV in Times Square was reported by alert street vendors. Acting quickly, NYPD evacuated vast stretches on 7th and 8th Avenues, including Broadway theatres and several other buildings and hotels in the area. The entire area was barricaded. Times Square on a Saturday evening before the shows is teaming with people, and the terrorist knew that. The bomb failed, but had it detonated, it would have killed and wounded many, according to NYPD.
In the first chaotic moments after suspicion of a bomb threat, first responders have a myriad of questions, assessments, and decisions to make, all at once, and all the while the scene could be changing rapidly. Is the bomb real? How large is the potential blast radius? Where will we evacuate people? Are there any critical infrastructure or special-needs population centers in the vicinity? Any schools, hospitals nearby? What roads should be closed? Which roads should stay open for evacuees? And on and on....
What if they could get all this information in one place?
Now they can: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and its public and private sector partners have developed a must-have "app": the First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) for computers and smartphones.

International Association of Chiefs of Police—Center for Social Media

July 9, 2012
International Association of Chiefs of Police Logo
In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) launched its Center for Social Media in October 2010 with the goal of building the capacity of law enforcement to use social media to prevent and solve crimes, strengthen police-community relations, and enhance services. IACP is seeing an increase in agencies coming on board with “apps” and programs from third-party vendors to report crimes and tips. In IACP’s last social media survey, they found that 33.6 percent of agencies stated they were using Twitter, 22.9 percent Nixle, and 26.3 percent were using another type of e-mail or text notification system. Many agencies—approximately 40 percent—reported that they solicit tips via social media. IACP’s Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel develop or enhance their agency’s use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations. Visit for more information.

The National Network of Fusion Centers: Assessing Preparedness and Information Sharing

July 6, 2012
Information Sharing Environment Logo
In his recent Information Sharing Environment (ISE) blog entry, Mr. Mike Sena, President of the National Fusion Center Association, writes: “Earlier this month, I testified before the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications on behalf of the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA). The national network of fusion centers has played a major role in transforming the way that federal, state, local, and tribal governments share intelligence information, and as I told the Subcommittee, it is clear to those of us on the front lines that intelligence and information sharing has improved dramatically since 9/11....” 
Learn more by reading Commander Sena’s entire blog post as well as testimony transcript, which includes strong support for efforts of the Global Intelligence Working Group (GIWG) and Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC).

Local Georgia Cops Get Access to Palm Print Database

July 5, 2012
Seal of the State of Georgia
Improved access to biometric records may soon help crime scene investigators identify suspects faster and more accurately in Georgia. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) went live with an upgraded Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) on Monday, June 18. The technology now allows local law enforcement agencies to capture and compare palm print scans and more efficiently utilize the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).

Strengthening the Value of the National Network of Fusion Centers by Leveraging Specialization: Defining "Centers of Analytical Excellence"

July 3, 2012
Image of puzzle pieces
This article reports on the main findings of a project sponsored by the National Fusion Center Association to more precisely define the term "Centers of Analytic Excellence." Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, previously used this term to focus public attention on the analytical component of the fusion process. Drawing upon the input of a select group of federal, state, and local intelligence expert professionals through the application of the Delphi Method, the article proposes the (re)definition of the term “Centers of Analytical Excellence” to mean a validation of a fusion center’s demonstrated excellence in a particular subject area of analytical methodology. This is a significant departure from the sense in which this term has been used previously and provides a next state for individual fusion centers that aspire to share their analytic competencies across a national network. This article also discusses a number of additional perspectives regarding the state of analysis in fusion centers as raised by the experts consulted in the project.

Using Social Media to Improve Information Sharing in West Virginia

July 2, 2012
Image of fingers on keyboard
To more efficiently communicate a variety of national, state, and local justice-related information (including upcoming Webinars, trainings, and funding information) to the public and other stakeholders, the West Virginia Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center (CJSAC) explored the use of such media.  They examined how statistical analysis centers and government agencies can use social media to their advantage and the pros and cons of the social media revolution. 

When Work Tech Can't Keep Up With Personal Tech

June 29, 2012
Image of Smart Phone
Federal employees wish the technology they use at work could keep up with the technology they use at home, an issue that could play a major factor as agencies develop “bring your own device,” or BYOD strategies, according to a new study by MeriTalk. The study, Consumer Crossover: Me, Myself and IT, which is based on a survey of more than 220 federal employees, found that 67 percent of federal employees wished the technology they use at work kept up with the technology they use in their personal lives. That number is even higher for feds 35 and under, with 80 percent wishing work tech kept pace with personal tech. The new digital government strategy, released by the Obama administration last month, aims to ensure agencies manage mobile devices safely and affordably and give citizens mobile access to government Web sites and information. The plan also requires agencies to issue a BYOD plan by September, with a focus on allowing federal employees to access their work and agency-built mobile applications from any device.

New Forensic Method Could Help Police Solve Crimes

June 28, 2012
Image of Bullets
Forensic researchers at Florida International University have developed a groundbreaking method that can tie a shooter to the ammunition used to commit a crime, giving law enforcement agencies a new tool to solve cases. Through research funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and recently published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, chemistry Professor Bruce McCord and doctoral candidate Jennifer Greaux discovered a new technique that identifies the chemical signature of the powder inside a bullet. This unique process can potentially link a suspect to the ammunition fired even if the weapon is not found. Currently, crime labs test gunshot residue collected from a suspect’s hands and clothes for three elementsbarium, lead, and antimony. Instead of testing for just three elements, scientists using this method now focus on the smokeless powder that is found inside bullets to determine their chemical composition. Since each manufacturer has its own specific “recipe” for their smokeless powder, the process in essence defines the type of residue left behind.

NIJ Training Tool Helps Chicago Police Learn Spanish

June 27, 2012
National Institute for Justice Logo
A National Institute of Justice (NIJ) interactive training course is helping Chicago police officers learn Spanish and apply it on the job. Español for Law Enforcement: An Interactive Training Tool, is a CD-Rom and online training course developed for NIJ by the Eastern Kentucky University Training Resource Center. This course equips officers with a working knowledge of Spanish that they can use at crime scenes and during interviews, traffic stops, and domestic violence situations. It includes arrest commands and phrases helpful for obtaining descriptions of suspects from victims and witnesses. The training videos feature interview scenarios on a traffic accident, the report of a missing child, and drug use. The crime scene module features scenarios on responding to a noise complaint and a burglary. Motor vehicle scenarios cover a routine traffic stop, a driving while under the influence (DUI) traffic stop, and a felony traffic stop. Another module covers domestic violence situations. More than 1,000 Chicago officers have participated in the Chicago Police Academy-sponsored training since 2010.

Facial ID Tech Being Tested at Alabama County Jail

June 26, 2012
Alabama State Seal
The Calhoun County Jail in Alabama is testing facial recognition technology to allow officers to confirm an individual’s identity. Once the facial recognition technology is online at the Calhoun County Jail, it will be used primarily during the booking process. Using a special camera, the technology takes 3-D snapshots of an individual’s face, each consisting of 40,000 data points. The images are then automatically compared against a database to locate a match. The facial scans will enable officers to identify those individuals who are registered sex offenders or people who have outstanding warrants or previous arrests. The system will also be used when releasing an inmate to make sure the person being let go is really who he or she purports to be.

Global Is Proud to Support “OJP on the Hill Day”

June 25, 2012
Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Seal
On June 26, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) will hold its inaugural “OJP on the Hill Day” in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon. This exciting opportunity, hosted by Acting Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Mary Lou Leary, gives congressional staffers the opportunity to learn about key programs and initiatives from senior staff and subject-matter experts from the OJP bureaus, offices, and institutes. AAG Leary will kick off the event with opening remarks, followed by component heads delivering their top priorities and engaging in a question-and-answer period. The morning will also have an “open house” of booths, providing time for informal networking and additional education and outreach opportunities. Several of Global’s hallmark resources will be prominently displayed (and distributed) at the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) exhibit. The theme for BJA’s table of showcased materials is, fittingly, “Justice Information Sharing Initiatives—Making a Difference in the Field.” If you are interested in attending Tuesday’s event, please contact the Office of Communications at (202) 307-0703 to RSVP.   (For more information about BJA programs, visit, and stay informed by signing up for Justice Today, BJA’s monthly online newsletter, at For more information about OJP information technology efforts, including Global, visit 

Massachusetts Cops to Get Uniform IDs

June 25, 2012
Massachusetts State Seal
In Massachusetts, 13,000 police officers will soon be carrying a standardized identification card—replacing a hodgepodge of old IDs issued to cops in different agencies. The secure ID card program is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

Moneyballing Criminal Justice

June 22, 2012
Image of scales
Smart statistics have changed baseball, health care, and many other industries. But why haven't they changed crime and punishment?
In the movie Moneyball, Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) learned that the key to building a successful baseball team on a shoestring budget was deceptively simple: When signing a hitter, the crucial statistic was his on-base percentage. This insightthat smart statistical analysis can win baseball gameshas transformed how the sport is played. Technology has driven equally important shifts in other fields, including ones that traditionally did far less data collection and analysis than Major League Baseball. Innovative health care providers are examining electronic medical records to identify the neediest patients and provide them with better preventative care. In public education, technology can identify patterns in school data, allowing administrators to figure out which students are at the greatest risk of dropping out and to direct resources their way.
One area in which the potential of data analysis is still not adequately realized, however, is criminal justice.

“The ISE: Vision and Mission, Clearly Defined”

June 21, 2012
Information Sharing Environment Logo
Mr. Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (ISE), recently posted: “In recent conversations, our stakeholders have asked us to clearly define who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish. You want to hear the high-level strategy of where the ISE is going, how to help, and how to participate. With that in mind, I’m proud to release our newly clarified vision and mission.” Mr. Paul’s blog enumerates those points.

Nlets, INTERPOL, and U.S. DOJ’s Global: Partnerships and Technology for International Justice Information Sharing

June 20, 2012
Nlets Logo
Prior to in-car computers, smartphones, or other hand-held technology, law enforcement officials had very limited access to comprehensive and up-to-date criminal justice information at roadside stops.  Read this good news story about how Global, Nlets, and INTERPOL are changing that, combining the power of innovative technology with old-fashioned collaboration to provide real-time access to a world of never-before available information . . . information that truly can make the difference between life and death. 
File: Nlets Interpol Global story (508-compliant).pdf (163.4 KB)

Obama Unveils Mobile Tech Strategy

June 19, 2012
Image of Smart phone
The Obama Administration, acknowledging the explosion in mobile technology, has unveiled a "digital government" strategy that requires every federal agency to make at least two services available to the public via mobile applications within a year. In addition, the federal government will rework its own use of mobile technologies "saving taxpayer dollars and providing better service by bringing consistency to the way we buy and build for an increasingly mobile workforce," says Steven VanRoekel, federal CIO. The strategy emphasizes the importance of addressing privacy issues as the government takes greater advantage of the latest advances in information technology. For example, it calls for standardized implementation of privacy controls.

Aging Process Confounds Iris Recognition Biometrics

June 18, 2012
Image of eye with barcode
It is commonly assumed that biometric template aging does not occur for iris biometrics; there may well be a need to examine this assumption. Two University of Notre Dame scientists found that the rate at which a state-of-the-art, commercial iris-matching software system failed to match two images of the same iris—known as the false non-match rate—increased by 153 percent over three years.

Top Tech Official Calls for New Panel to Help Liberate Government Data

June 15, 2012
Image of the White House
Federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park called on the White House’s team of science and technology advisers recently to create a special subcommittee to advise his office on projects to disseminate government data to private sector developers and entrepreneurs. Park envisions the subcommittee of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) operating similar to a corporate board, he told PCAST, with members from inside and outside the council offering insights from their fields. PCAST cochairman Eric Lander endorsed the subcommittee idea. Lander is director of the Broad Institute, a joint initiative of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aimed at using genetic and biological research to transform medical practices.

VanRoekel: IT Reform "A Shock to the System"

June 14, 2012
Image of the White House
The 25-point plan to overhaul federal IT has been successful as “a shock to the system,” according to U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel. The plan pushes federal agencies to clear set goals to improve the overall function of the government. Over the past 18 months, the Obama administration has worked to eliminate hurdles that stand in the way of reform, allowing agencies to leverage IT to create a more efficient government, VanRoekel wrote June 7 on the OMBlog. “While the 25 points have not solved all federal IT challenges, they addressed many of the most pressing, persistent challenges we face,” said the federal CIO. “Most importantly, this plan established many wins that will drive our efforts well into the future.”

"Shared-first" Not a Must for Federal CIOs

June 13, 2012
Image of the White House
Agencies won’t see a mandate anytime soon to implement the shared IT services approach that the U.S. CIO released earlier this month. Instead, they should take it as a tool to guide their IT portfolio management, according to Scott Bernard, the federal chief enterprise architect. Speaking at a May 17 luncheon organized by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management, Bernard said the language in the strategy reflects the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) recognition that agency situations are often different and wouldn’t fare well with a rigid directive. “They need to have freedom to make informed decisions of how IT enablement occurs, so a mandate with no flexibility is not the right approach,” he said. Also known as the “shared first” approach, the plan draws on OMB's 25-point plan to reform federal IT by providing policy guidelines on IT shared services. It also embodies a philosophy of “innovating with less,” as described by U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel.

NASCIO's 12 Tips to States Considering the Cloud

June 12, 2012
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For state CIOs, leveraging cloud technology has the potential to optimize system efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance service delivery. The journey to joining the cloud, however, is not without issue; acclimating demands the careful consideration and involvement of state CIOs. To that end, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) recently released a report on the issues related to cloud privacy and security. To clarify this strategy, NASCIO outlined 12 recommendations for state CIOs as they maneuver onto the cloud.

Join Us for the Next Free JISP Beacon Webinar: Getting the GIST (Global Information Sharing Toolkit)

June 6, 2012
Justice Information Sharing Practitioners Network Logo
Got a justice information sharing problem? Then get the GIST! In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the U.S. DOJ’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) Advisory Committee (GAC) recently developed the Global Information Sharing Toolkit (GIST). Register Here: 
Over the course of the GAC's 13 years of work, many valuable for practitioner, by practitioner resources have been produced, but making them readily discoverable and easily accessible has been a priority…and a challenge. Enter the GIST, a Web tool to help easily identify the best Global solutions and resources for your particular needs. Based on your navigational preferences, you can quickly view and narrow the hundreds of resources currently available, from technical architectural standards to privacy policy development templates. The underlying premise of the GIST is that from Global's universe of resources and recommendations, you can now pinpoint the specific tools needed to accomplish your objectives and move toward more effective, efficient information sharing.
During this Webinar, Chris Traver, Senior Policy Advisor, BJA, will talk about national standards and updated justice information sharing grant special conditions to include the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), the Global Reference Architecture (GRA), the Global Federated Identity and Privilege Management (GFIPM), and the Global privacy policy activities. As a Global federal partner, he will discuss GIST’s ability to help practitioners leverage existing resources to meet these special conditions. JISP member James Dyche, Technical Services Manager for the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET), will talk about his role on Global and how JNET has contributed to and implemented GAC-supported products over the years, helping to guide many of Pennsylvania’s information sharing efforts. The Webinar will also include a GIST demonstration and request for practitioner input to improve this “living” resource by Angel Ganey and Magdiel Puig, lead GIST staff at IIR. Register Here:  

Global Standards Council (GSC) GRA Framework and GRA Execution Context Guidelines (Draft) Standards Open for Comment

June 5, 2012
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Logo
The Global Justice Information Sharing Standards Council - sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) - is pleased to make available two draft standards that incorporate recommended updates to previously released final versions. Proposed revisions for both the GRA Framework and the GRA Execution Context Guidelines standards expand upon the narrative regarding intermediaries, connectors, and adapters and to clarify all three concepts and their interaction. To access and comment on both draft standards, please direct your attention to the following link: http://www.globaljusticetools.netDeadline to submit all comments is June 15, 2012. 

Global Standards Council (GSC) Victim Notification (VN) Service (Draft) Standard Open for Comment

June 4, 2012
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Logo
The Global Justice Information Sharing Standards Council - sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) - is pleased to make available the Victim Notification (VN) Service Draft standard for public review and comment at http://www.globaljusticetools.netDeadline to submit all comments is June 15, 2012. The Victim Notification (VN) Service is designed as a standard for providing timely information and notification of key events to victims. At a high level, the VN service provides offender information to a victim notification provider (VNP). It also provides VNPs with event notification information collected from multiple criminal justice agencies as an offender traverses the criminal justice system. Crime victims have a right to receive notification when offenders have specific types of interactions within the criminal justice system. The VN service provides a standardized information exchange to be used by notifying agencies that are responsible for providing offender and event notification information, which may reside in various systems, and sharing that information with VNPs. Agencies that are required to participate in the victim notification process and victim information and notification programs that operate at a state or jurisdictional level benefit from this capability in a number of different ways.

Clouds Don’t Need Real-Time Threat Reporting Tools to Win Federal Stamp of Approval

June 1, 2012
Image of Cloud Computing
Cloud companies planning to apply in June for certification to sell Web services governmentwide will not be obligated to provide automated threat reports, the government’s purchasing agency told Nextgov. Until now, the Obama administration had expected agencies to outfit all information technology with “continuous monitoring” tools that feed risk indicators, such as unauthorized logins, to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), a cloud accreditation process, stipulated that Web-based IT providers supply agencies with these data feeds in a concept of operations released earlier this year. But officials at the General Services Administration, which manages FedRAMP, are still figuring out how to compel real-time information sharing between private companies and agencies. With cloud computing, departments essentially outsource their IT to a commercial data center over which they have no control.

White House Launches Federal Digital Strategy

May 29, 2012
Picture of the Whitehouse
The major goals of the White House’s long-awaited Digital Government Strategy, released recently, are to ensure that the government manages its mobile devices safely and affordably, to ensure citizens can access government data on mobile devices and to make mobile part of the government’s larger data transparency efforts. Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel outlined the digital strategy, titled “Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People,” at a TechCrunch event in New York City. That same day, the White House issued an executive order requiring agencies to implement major goals of the strategy within one year. The order gives agencies 90 days to create Web pages that will track and report on their progress toward strategy goals.

DHS Agencies Starting to Integrate Missions, CIO Says

May 25, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is beginning to integrate some of its core missions—such as developing an expanded common operating picture for multiple agencies—as part of its efforts to create “One DHS,” Chief Information Officer Richard Spires said on May 11. Departmental officials recently identified 13 major missions that stretch across its 22 component agencies and has begun consolidating and integrating various programs in those mission areas, Spires said at a meeting of the Northern Virginia chapter of AFCEA. The goal is to create the synergies that were envisioned by Congress in creating the department in 2003.

Just Released–An Introduction to Familial DNA Searching for State, Local, and Tribal Justice Agencies: Issues for Consideration

May 24, 2012
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Logo
Familial DNA searching–a critical issue facing jurisdictions across the country–is not without controversy. In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Global supported development of this overview of the science of familial DNA searching and its use in criminal investigations for state, local, and tribal justice agencies that are considering or performing familial DNA searches. Particular guidance is provided on implementing familial search protocols while carefully balancing the interests of both law enforcement and public safety with the privacy rights, interests, and concerns of affected persons.

IJIS Institute 2012 Summer Industry Briefing

May 18, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo

Budget constraints and staff cut backs at all levels of government are becoming the norm facing justice, public safety, and homeland security. The pace of technological advancement and interconnectedness has increased leaving many agencies behind or struggling to keep up. Information sharing and collaboration are more important than ever. Join the Summer Industry Briefing on July 26*28, 2012 in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico, to collaboratively explore various perspectives on the challenges of and future for information sharing and standards in this difficult environment. (*committee meetings).  Who should attend? Executives, key decision makers, and software developers from the government and industry information technology communities who are interested in information sharing.


NIEM Technical Exchange Meeting

May 16, 2012
National Information Exchange Model Logo
The NIEM program is inviting 80 active NIEM practitioners to attend National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Practitioner Technical Exchange Meeting (TEM) to be held on Wednesday, May 23, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM EST in McLean, Virginia. The NIEM Practitioner TEM seeks to facilitate dialogue between government and private sector practitioners related to using, governing, and managing the NIEM data model as well as to capture practitioner feedback to inform NIEM strategy going forward. This event will feature presentations by Donna Roy, NIEM Executive Director; resources in the NIEM Program Management Office; and NIEM practitioners from across the federal government. The recommended participants for the NIEM Practitioner TEM are government employees as well as government contract support personnel with a moderate to advanced level of NIEM understanding and implementation experience.
For more information and registration, click here.

States Aim to Launch More Mobile Apps

May 15, 2012
Picture of Smartphone
Many state and local jurisdictions have taken steps to provide citizens with mobile access to services, according to a February 2012 survey by GovTech Exchange. The survey of 100 senior-level IT pros from state and local government found that 38 percent of respondents planned to launch new mobile offerings within 12 months, while 23 percent said they were not sure. Of those planning new deployments, 55 percent said they will use responsive design approaches that enable a single source of content to be viewed by multiple device types and operating systems. About half said they will build the apps using in-house developers, while the other half planned to work with outside developers.
Source: Government Technology

Government-Specific Social Networks on the Rise

May 14, 2012
Picture of Globe with WWW
A recent Wakefield Research survey of 100 federal, state, and local government IT professionals found that they are using more internal social media networks and fewer external networks than they were 18 months ago. Additionally, video and multimedia are on the rise and blogs are falling in popularity, according to the survey. The most popular Gov 2.0 application being used by the government IT professionals was video and multimedia sharing, reported by 53 percent, up from 44 percent in 2010. "Today, video and multimedia sharing [53 percent] and government-specific social media networks [50 percent] are the most commonly used tools, replacing general social networks and blogs, which were the top picks in the 2010 study," says Wakefield Research. Fewer of the government IT respondents were accessing the external networks this year, compared to the 2010 survey. Finally, external networks and blogs have been becoming less popular for the last 18 months, according to the survey.

A Guide to Global Products by IJIS Executive Director Emeritus Paul Wormeli

May 9, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
Global has now introduced a Global Wizard that provides access to the Global Information Sharing Toolkit, covering all of the publications developed by and in support of information sharing. Through this portal, there are a very intelligent set of filters defined to limit the search to specific areas of interest and applicability, resulting in a set of results that can be further perused. The wizard is carefully designed to directly guide the user to products of interest. Through the use of the filters, keywords, and other time-saving search parameters, users can search the toolkit for those documents and guidelines of interest and then go directly through the many hyperlinks to view documents, podcasts, and other materials relevant. There is even a guided search section where phrases can be clicked like this one: “I want a review of the operational policies and procedures that govern the basic operation of a federation for trusted information sharing.” With only one click, the user is taken to the most relevant section of the toolkit to then permit further scanning, downloading, or perusing as appropriate.

Katrina Changed Everything: New Software for Flooding Protection

May 10, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate and Dams Sector partners team up to develop new software systems for fast simulation of catastrophic flooding. All over the country, millions of Americans still live behind dams or levees, and if these were to fail and unleash catastrophic flooding, as some did in New Orleans in 2005, property, and of course life, might once again pay the price. Answers to at least some of the problem are now on the way, thanks to a team led by the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), and they come in the form of some remarkable computer software.

Privacy Policies for State Justice Information Systems Explored

May 1, 2012
National Governors Association Logo
To help governors address the balance of justice agencies’ need for information with individuals’ privacy rights, the National Governors Association (NGA) released an issue brief highlighting actions states have taken to create and implement privacy policies within their justice information sharing systems. A System of Trust: Privacy Policies for Justice Information Sharing builds upon the lessons learned from a recent NGA meeting held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Participating states created privacy policies designed to govern their integrated justice information systems, provide accountability for potential misuse of the system, and protect the privacy rights of individuals.

Social Media, Crime Fighter

April 30, 2012
Login Key
Social media is an increasingly useful investigative tool for identifying breaking events and potential threats, as well as for surveillance to counter cyber crime and terrorism, according to law enforcement officers. But because the line between public and private is blurring so much in the online world, it’s wise for law enforcement officers to seek advice from legal counsel about how they are setting up their investigations, some officers say. Those lines can be something of a moving target, changing from site to site or every time Facebook updates or changes privacy settings, said FBI Special Agent Gunpat “Gunner” Wagh.

Bringing All Criminal Justice Stakeholders to the Table

April 27, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The following post appears courtesy of the Access to Justice Initiative
The Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program provides federal funding for states and localities to promote effective strategies across the criminal justice system. JAG grants provide support for a wide-range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court programs, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, crime victim and witness initiatives, planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs. The 2012 JAG solicitation, released on March 28, 2012, includes important new language of interest to indigent defense providers and other criminal justice stakeholders that have not consistently been a part of local and state jurisdictions’ planning processes for allocating JAG funds.   

Prominent Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Thought Leader Named Director of The Police Institute at Rutgers-Newark

April 26, 2012
Law Books with Statue of Lady Justice
Dr. Todd Clear, dean of the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, Newark, has announced the appointment of Thomas J. O’Reilly as director of The Police Institute at the School of Criminal Justice. O’Reilly comes to Rutgers from the United States Department of Justice where he served as a senior policy advisor for the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, since 2006, and director of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI) Program Management Office since 2010. O’Reilly is a noted manager and thought leader in the areas of law enforcement, criminal justice, and homeland security.

Can Technology Predict Gun Crime? ATF Hopes So.

April 24, 2012
ATF Seal
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is shopping for crime forecasting technology to predict where gun violence may occur so that ATF can intercede before it happens. The Justice Department (DOJ) on April 12, 2012, issued a solicitation for a system "designed to accurately identify the risk of personal and property crimes" covering 200 locations throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.

An Open and Accessible OJP

April 23, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The following post appears courtesy of Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is committed to providing timely and accurate information about OJP’s policies, programs, activities, and procedures to a wide public audienceorganizations and individuals. Highlighting a few of these efforts during this year’s Sunshine Week gives us an opportunity to share our work with those new to our efforts and to encourage those familiar with OJP resources to use them in new ways.

Readout of Secretary Napolitano's Remarks at the 2012 National Fusion Center Training Event

April 17, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano traveled to Phoenix recently to meet with state and major urban area fusion center leaders and deliver remarks on information sharing and analysis, and collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners at the 2012 National Fusion Center Training Event. During her remarks, Secretary Napolitano underscored the importance of collaborating with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners to improve information sharing and analysis, and enhance our nation’s ability to identify, mitigate, and respond to emerging threats. Secretary Napolitano also emphasized the importance of working jointly with fusion centers to further develop their grassroots analytic capabilities, so that national intelligence can be placed in a local context.

Bureau of Justice Assistance Launches Redesigned Web Site

April 16, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)'s Web site has a new look. The newly redesigned site allows users to create a "My BJA" account. It also includes a "Trending" link for popular content. Other tools provide customizable, self-service options to enhance visitors' experiences on the Web site.

Abracadabra. See the Magic of NIEM Video!

April 13, 2012
National Information Exchange Model Logo
The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Executive Director, draws an analogy between NIEM and a bank card transaction, both of which use the power of a common language to enable the cross-jurisdictional exchange of information, while protecting the information’s integrity. For more information on the "Magic of NIEM," click here.

Solving Crime Problems With Research

April 12, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) offers practitioners and policymakers a practical tool for finding information about evidence-based criminal justice programs. "We already know a great deal about what can be done to prevent and control crime," then-University of Pennsylvania professor Laurie Robinson told Congress in 2007. "But we have done a poor job—especially at the federal level—in getting information out." Robinson was testifying to encourage the development of a "what works clearinghouse," a centralized repository of information on evidence-based criminal justice programs and practices that would be specifically designed to meet the needs of policymakers and practitioners. Her vision became a reality in 2011, two years after she returned to the OJP for her second stint as Assistant Attorney General, with the launch of

Being Smart on Crime With Evidence-Based Policing

April 18, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
Cities face a growing number of fiscal challenges, among them balancing the need to combat crime with the cost of policing. Decreases in funding for public safety mean that police departments cannot support an ever-increasing number of law enforcement officers—or, in many cases, even the status quo. Therefore, police officials must shift their attention to the science of controlling crime and disorder. That model is called evidence-based policing, and it represents the field's "most powerful force for change," according to criminologist Lawrence Sherman.

The Criminal Justice Enterprise

April 20, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
In the late 1990s, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) conducted a series of focus groups of justice practitioners on the general topic of information technology and the needs of the field. The overwhelming outcry of these focus groups was that the various systems previously implemented were not compatible and could not exchange information, leading to duplicate data entry as the normal behavior rather than being the exception. Early efforts to apply computer technology to support operational processes generally led to what are now called “silos” or “stovepipes.” Such systems are labeled in this way because they do not work together well in exchanging information or because they end up being so organization-centric that there is no easy way to extract and re-use data that has been previously entered, leading to an enormous amount of redundant data entry. For some years now, the antidote to such designs has been to persuade system designers to think about “enterprise” information systems, in which the information system serves all components of the enterprise and minimizes redundant data entry while protecting data integrity.

Microsoft Donates Image-Matching Tools to Fight Child Porn Trafficking

April 5, 2012
Picture of Facial Imaging
Microsoft said it is joining the battle against child pornography by donating to law enforcement agencies advanced image-matching technology that helps track child pornography online and locate its traffickers. The company said it would make Microsoft PhotoDNA software available at no cost to law enforcement agencies to support their child sex-abuse investigations. The software, developed by Microsoft Research and Dartmouth College, creates a unique signature for a digital image, akin to a fingerprint, which can then be used to find other copies of the image online.

Cloud Will Change Intelligence Community's Business Model

April 4, 2012
Cloud Computing Picture
Cloud computing has the power to not only change the way the federal intelligence community manages information technology, but also to fundamentally change agencies' business models, according to a report released recently. That change will be effective, however, only if intelligence agencies are prepared to modify their own organizational cultures to match the new technology and to learn from similar transitions in the corporate and civilian government spheres, the report from the nonprofit Intelligence and National Security Alliance said.

Secretary Napolitano Issues Directive to Strengthen the Sharing of Classified Information with State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Partners

April 3, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released an implementing directive that strengthens the sharing of classified information by the federal government with state, local, tribal, and private sector partners. The directive implements Executive Order 13549, “Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities.”

FBI Chief Touts Partnerships in Cybercrime Fight

March 30, 2012
FBI Seal
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller believes public-private collaboration is crucial to protect America from cyberattacks—a threat he thinks could become bigger than terrorism itself. Addressing a crowded hall at the annual RSA Conference on Thursday, March 1, Mueller said government and business need to pool their resources to combat cyberthreats.


2 Nations’ Approaches to Data Center and E-Mail Consolidation

March 29, 2012
Picture of Email Key
After years of talk about cutting costs and eliminating waste, U.S. and Canadian federal governments are making good on those promises as leaders in both countries attack ambitious IT consolidation projects. Consolidation efforts in both countries are aimed at cutting operating costs and improving quality of service, which they do by reducing duplication and increasing hardware optimization. Efforts to eliminate acres of unneeded data centers and e-mail networks are moves toward embracing industry trends, such as server virtualization and cloud computing. Consolidation plans also point to reduced energy consumption and real estate costs.

CSIS: The Future of Information Sharing and the ISE

March 28, 2012
Recently the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) hosted an impressive information sharing conference, Information Sharing: Adapting and Improving an Expanded ISE. The conference featured many great speakers from the information sharing and safeguarding community, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, ISE Program Manager Kshemendra Paul, and other prominent officials from the White House, Defense Intelligence Agency, General Services Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and others.

9 Quick Tips Agencies Need to Know to Make Collaboration Work

March 27, 2012
Picture of Check Mark
Using the right tools in the right way can make collaboration efforts a resounding success. Industry observers maintain that there are numerous best practices federal agencies should employ to gain the many benefits collaboration tools can provide. Incorporating mobile devices, for example, makes collaboration and social media platforms more powerful by allowing employees to communicate and collaborate using multiple devices of their choice, throughout the day and wherever they may be. Highlighted are some of the best tips from industry experts to aid in the deployment and management of collaboration tools.

Cost Savings Draw Governments Worldwide to the Cloud

March 26, 2012
Picture of Cloud Computing
Cost savings are the biggest driver to cloud computing for federal, state, and local governments and security concerns are the greatest obstruction, according to a recent KPMG survey. About 25 percent of respondents said their government division would have to realize information technology savings of up to 10 percent to make a cloud transition worthwhile and another 20 percent said they would have to slash as much as 25 percent off their IT budgets to justify the move. In addition, about 50 percent of the government respondents expect to save money from a cloud transition, but just about 25 percent thought it would fundamentally change their operating model. U.S. federal IT leaders project the government can save about 6 percent, or $5 billion, of its $80 billion annual IT budget by moving 25 percent of its enterprise operations to the cloud by 2015. The survey also highlighted Australia, Italy, and Denmark for taking a lead position on cloud adoption.

Social Media in Emergency Response: Advice from Officials

March 23, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
Tweeting emergency alerts during a disaster isn't a panacea for effective communication with the public, said Chris Stelmarski, a digital strategy official at the Homeland Security Department, while speaking March 1 on a panel at the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference in Washington, DC. He noted that government has a reputation for excessive caution, so people might dismiss the urgency of a tweet or Facebook post from their local emergency management agency. But if someone's friend re-tweets the agency's information, that can validate the message, he said.

Western States to Modernize Shared Fingerprinting System

March 22, 2012
Picture of Finger Printing
A consortium of state and local law enforcement agencies in the western U.S. is set to modernize a criminal identification system shared by its members. There are eight states in the nonprofit Western Identification Network (WIN):  Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Each state has access to nearly 28 million fingerprint records in the western U.S. and also interfaces with the FBI.

Todd Park Named New U.S. Chief Technology Officer

March 21, 2012
Picture of the White House
Health and Human Services Department Chief Technology Officer Todd Park will be the next federal CTO, replacing Aneesh Chopra, the White House recently announced. For nearly three years, Todd has served as CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he was a hugely energetic force for positive change. He led the successful execution of an array of breakthrough initiatives, including the creation of, the first website to provide consumers with a comprehensive inventory of public and private health insurance plans available across the Nation by zip code in a single, easy-to-use tool.

FBI: Cyberattacks Could Shove Aside Terrorism As No. 1 Threat to U.S.

March 20, 2012
Federal Bureau of Investigation Seal
The leaders of the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation this week separately expressed concern over the increasing numbers of cyberattacks, with FBI Director Robert Mueller saying that while terrorism remains the FBI's top priority, "in the not too distant future, we anticipate that the cyberthreat will pose the No. 1 threat to our country."

Department of Justice FY 2013 Budget Request

March 19, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
On Monday, February 13, the President released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013. The budget proposes over $27 billion for the Department of Justice and focuses on providing resources to sustain critical national security programs, upholding the department's traditional missions with an increased focus on financial and mortgage fraud and civil rights enforcement; investing in prisons, detention capacity, and reentry; and assisting state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners.

State CIOs Discuss Next IT Priorities

March 16, 2012
Picture of Cloud Computing
Government-based cloud solutions, mobile platforms, shared services, and cyber security are the next sets of IT challenges facing Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, according to those states’ respective CIOs. CIOs Kristin Russell (Colorado), David Behen (Michigan) and Karen Robinson (Texas) gave a recap of their states’ current IT efforts and future priorities during a keynote roundtable discussion at the CIO Academy on February 29. Carlos Ramos, secretary of the California Technology Agency, moderated the session, which was held at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel.

National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource Center FY 2012 Competitive Grant Announcement

March 15, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is pleased to announce that it is seeking applications for funding to operate a National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource Center under the Second Chance Act. This program furthers the Department’s commitment to providing services and programs to facilitate offenders’ successful reintegration into society.
Eligible applicants are limited to any national nonprofit organization (including a tribal nonprofit organization) that provides reentry programming training and technical assistance, and has special expertise and national-level experience in effective practices in offender reentry programming and research application.

Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on April 19, 2012.

Video Camera Networks Link Real-Time Partners in Crime-Solving

March 14, 2012
Picture of Surveillance Camera
Jonathan Lewin, Chicago’s managing deputy director of public safety, believes that video cameras help officers protect citizens—and he has numbers to back up his claim. The Chicago Police Department says that Operation Virtual Shield, the city’s network of public and private surveillance cameras, has led to more than 5,500 camera-related arrests since 2006. Chicago, like a growing number of other cities, has dramatically extended its crime camera network by forging agreements with businesses and other private organizations. Perhaps half of the video feeds available to Chicago police now come from private cameras that can be accessed by law enforcement personnel, although the city won’t release an exact breakdown.

National Justice Information Sharing (JIS) Initiative FY 2012 Competitive Grant Announcement

March 13, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is pleased to announce that it is seeking applications for BJA’s National Justice Information Sharing (JIS) Initiative. This program furthers the Department’s mission by contributing to the development of policies and technology to support key national initiatives and facilitate direct services to criminal justice practitioners.
Eligible applicants are national, regional, state, or local public and private entities, including for-profit (commercial) and nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit or for-profit organizations), faith-based and community organizations, institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education), federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, and units of local government that support initiatives to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. For-profit organizations must agree to forgo any profit or management fee.
Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on April 19, 2012.

Pentagon Expects to Soon Clear Apple, Android Devices

February 24, 2012
Department of Defense Seal
Teri Takai, the Defense Department's chief information officer, promised that the department would quickly adopt commercial mobile tablet computers. According to a top Defense Information Systems Agency official, the agency expects to release security guidelines by August that will cover their use for a range of missions. Mark Orndorff, program executive officer for mission assurance and network operations at DISA, stated that the guidelines will cover both Google's Android operating system and Apple's iOS, which powers the iPhone and iPad. The guidelines will mitigate many of the security concerns that have precluded the devices' widespread use on Defense networks, although restrictions could prevail in some sensitive mission areas.

FBI Declares Cloud Vendors Must Meet CJIS Security Rules

February 14, 2012
Fedral Bureau of Investigation Seal
The FBI reaffirmed its rule that all cloud products sold to U.S. law enforcement agencies must comply with the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) security requirements. While the nation's top law enforcement agency concedes that some vendors may have a tough time meeting those requirements, it insisted that there would be no compromising on security. "The FBI remains committed to using technology in its information sharing processes, but not at the sacrifice of the security of the information with which it has been entrusted," Stephen Fischer Jr., a spokesman for the FBI's CJIS division said in an e-mail to Computerworld.

View Sessions From NIJ Predictive Policing Symposiums

February 13, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) held two predictive policing symposiums in which researchers, practitioners, and law enforcement leaders developed and discussed the use of predictive policing and its impact on crime and justice. Sessions from the First and Second Predictive Policing Symposiums are now available for viewing.

Melodee Hanes Named OJJDP Acting Administrator

February 10, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
On January 18, 2012, Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson announced that Melodee Hanes has been designated as the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP's) Principal Deputy Administrator. Ms. Hanes previously served as OJJDP's Acting Deputy Administrator for Policy and replaces Jeff Slowikowski, who served as Acting Administrator for nearly 3 years. Mr. Slowikowski will become OJJDP's Acting Deputy Administrator for Policy.

Federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra to Step Down

February 9, 2012
Picture of the Whitehouse
The first-ever U.S. chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra, is leaving the government in early February, White House officials announced. "As the federal government's first chief technology officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century," President Obama said in a statement. Chopra served as the White House's ambassador to the commercial technology sector, working to stimulate entrepreneurialism in areas such as health information technology, green IT, and nanotechnology. He also collaborated with first-ever federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra, who departed last summer, on IT initiatives aimed at transforming government operations through proven, private sector innovationssuch as mobile apps and prize contests.

Apply Now for Free Technical Assistance To Build Your CBA Capacity!

February 8, 2012
Department of Justice Seal

With funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB) is offering free technical assistance to help jurisdictions build their capacity to use cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in criminal justice policymaking and planning. CBKB will provide technical assistance to four jurisdictions over a 12-month period. Each team will receive up to three on-site visits along with ongoing support via online trainings, phone calls, and customized materials, and one to two multisite meetings to foster peer-to-peer learning across sites. Eligible applicants under this initiative are limited to local governments (i.e., cities and counties) and federally recognized Indian tribes (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior) that have a demonstrated commitment to developing CBA capacity.

The deadline for submission is February 23, 2012.

For more details and to apply, download and review the application instructions at

Note: This application is for technical assistance only. No direct funding will be provided to sites that are selected to receive technical assistance.


Capitals in the Clouds: Recommendations for Mitigating Risks NASCIO Releases Third in a Series on Cloud Computing

February 7, 2012
National Association of State Chief Information Officers Logo
State and local governments are sharing IT resources through the creative use of cloud computing, according to “Capitals in the Clouds Part III — Recommendations for Mitigating Risks: Jurisdictional, Contracting and Service Levels,” an issue brief released by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). This report is available for download on NASCIO’s website at

2012 National Institute of Justice Technology Institute for Law Enforcement

February 3, 2012
Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Seal
Registration is open! Apply by Friday, March 2, 2012, to attend the next NIJ National, State, Major Cities, and Counties Technology Institute for Law Enforcement. NIJ holds technology institutes for law enforcement officers to learn about and discuss technology initiatives and issues affecting the law enforcement community. During the five-day institute, attendees receive and exchange information about existing and developing technologies, problem-solving relating to technology implementation, and technology lessons learned. The National Law Enforcement Institute focuses on the needs of agencies with 50 or more sworn officers. The deadline for submitting an application is Friday, March 2, 2012. Applications not received by COB Friday, March 2, 2012, will not be considered. To apply, please select registration link: Registration Form.

Tennessee Strives to be a Next-Gen 911 Leader

February 2, 2012
Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee officially broke ground on a next-generation 911 network a few months ago, beginning work on a project that had been in the planning stages for years. Next-gen 911 networks expands upon traditional land line contact with law enforcement to provide an IP network for enhanced service, a technology that officials say will improve public safety. Tennessee officials believe the state is one of the first to begin the implementation phases for a statewide next-gen 911 network. Officials project the network will be complete in 2013., Take Flight to the Cloud

January 31, 2012
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration has begun the process of moving its public Web presence to a unified cloud, according to a press release from CGI Federal, which won the $21 million five-year contract for the transition. Among the cloud-bound sites is GSA's signature Web site, a catchall for information about government citizen services that sees about 2 million unique visitors each month, CGI said. The transition also will include, a repository for government-built datasets for researchers and developers of Web and mobile applications, CGI said.

U.S. Mayors Form Technology and Innovation Task Force

January 30, 2012
The United States Conference of Mayors Seal
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) appears to be making technology one of its priorities with the creation of a new task force. Part of the task force’s mission will be to show how technology can foster innovation and transparency in local government. The committee will define mayoral priorities and will advise Congress and the Barack Obama administration.

Louisville, Kentucky, Integrates Alerts Into New Crime Map

January 27, 2012
Kentucky State Seal
Louisville, Kentucky, residents now have access to crime alerts in a newly revamped online crime mapping tool. The Louisville Metro Police Department, located in Jefferson County, launched a new online crime mapping tool. Users can enter their home address into a QuickFind tool to receive crime updates based on which of the county’s eight police divisions they live in. Each division is further divided into different “beats”—or different sections of a division—so citizens can receive more granular crime alerts for where they live.

GSA Course Aims to Train Government Social Media Leaders

February 6, 2012
General Services Administration Logo
Every federal agency could benefit from engaging more on social media, but different agencies ought to engage in different ways, said Gadi Ben-Yehuda, who will be teaching a 12-week government-sponsored course beginning in February. Ben-Yehuda's course on social media in government will be the most in-depth yet offered by the General Services Administration's (GSA) Web Manager University.

Supreme Court: Planting GPS Tracker On a Car is "Search," Requires Warrant

January 24, 2012
Image of the U.S. Supreme Court
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that installing a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car constitutes a search and requires a warrant, applying an 18th century guarantee against unreasonable searches to a 21st century technology. “The government’s attachment of the GPS device to the vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment,” the court ruled in a decision released Jan. 23.

Apply for the Innovations in American Government Award

January 23, 2012
Dollar Sign Shadowed
The Innovations Award, administered by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, is the premier public-sector award in the nation. The award is given annually to programs that serve as examples of creative and effective government at its best. All units of government—federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial—from all policy areas are eligible to apply for recognition. The top winner receives a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants. The application deadline is March 1, 2012. [Online Application] [Nominate Organization for Award]

Eastern Regional NIEM Technical Training—February 2012

January 20, 2012
IJIS Institute Logo
The Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute, through grant funding provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is hosting an Eastern Regional National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Technical Training Course on February 28March 1, 2012, in Ashburn, Virginia. This three-day technical course is intended for information exchange developers and implementers and is designed to guide students through NIEM in a structured process. [Additional Course Information] [Register Online]

Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson Announces Departure from Office of Justice Programs

January 19, 2012
U.S. Department of Justice Seal
The Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Laurie Robinson, announced recently that she would be leaving her position at the end of February. Assistant Attorney General Robinson was confirmed by the Senate in November, 2009. She previously served for nearly seven years as assistant attorney general for OJP during the 1990s, making her the longest-serving head in the agency's 44-year history. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary will serve as acting assistant attorney general following Robinson's departure.

First Amendment Recommendations for State and Local Law Enforcement

January 18, 2012
Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative Seal
To assist state and local law enforcement agencies in understanding their role when responding to a First Amendment-Protected event, the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative recently published the Recommendations for First Amendment-Protected Events for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies resource guide and The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement at First Amendment Events Reference Card. These two products are designed to provide in-depth recommendations for agencies to utilize as they prepare for and respond to these types of events. As officers respond to First Amendment-protected events, integral in their response is the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties; as such, both resources emphasize the key role officers have in upholding these protections, while fulfilling their public safety mission.

Promoting the Broader Use of GIS by Law Enforcement

January 17, 2012
Department of Justice Seal
The latest issue of the Geography and Public Safety newsletter focuses on promoting the broader use of GIS by law enforcement. The newsletter, which is a joint effort by the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, highlights ways in which community policing, problem solving, community outreach, and partnerships can be enhanced by GIS. While mapping for the purpose of "putting cops on the dots" remains a core focus of GIS in law enforcement, more needs to be said about the versatility of GIS and how it can be deployed to improve effectiveness and efficiencies across all law enforcement functions.

State Department Fields Twitter Questions

January 13, 2012
U.S. Department of State Seal
After her daily press briefing recently, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland took questions from a new audience--several hundred Tweeters spread across a dozen or more nations. The State solicited questions under the #AskState hash tag as part of its 21st Century Statecraft month and is accepting them in English and nine other languages. Nuland plans to answer five questions after her press briefings every Friday.

California Creates Justice Unit for E-Crimes

January 12, 2012
California State Seal
The California Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has created a new unit of attorneys and investigators that will work on crimes that involve the use of technology. The department’s eCrime Unit will work across jurisdictional lines to investigate and prosecute cybercrime, identity theft, computer theft, online child pornography, intellectual property theft, and other similar crimes.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “If You See Something, Say Something” Public Awareness Campaign is Going Bilingual

January 11, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “If you see something, say something” public awareness campaign is going bilingual. Print, radio, and television ads for the effort, launched last year to encourage Americans to report suspicious activities or packages to law enforcement personnel, will begin airing in Spanish in some of the nation’s largest Hispanic communities, DHS said recently. Ads reminding people “Si ve algo, diga algo” (the Spanish translation for “If you see something, say something”) will be distributed to Spanish-language TV and radio stations in California, Colorado, New York, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Texas, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties on the Internet and Beyond

January 10, 2012
Picture of the White House
Recently, the President took a big step forward toward protecting Americans’ privacy and civil liberties with the nomination of three highly respected individuals to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). The PCLOB is a new independent board established by Congress to advise and oversee executive branch activities with civil liberties implications, including intelligence and law enforcement practices, and to assist the President and Federal agencies in making sure that the implementation of laws, regulations, and policies related to counterterrorism appropriately consider citizens’ privacy and civil liberties.

Pennsylvania Counties Hatch 911 Tech Sharing Plan

January 9, 2012
State of Pennsylvania Seal
Emergency management agencies are taking a regional approach to public safety in western Pennsylvania, as 10 counties plan to use a shared next-generation 911 system by early 2013. Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties will be linked on a network with access to the same 911 technology, giving each of the counties in the conglomerate the ability to accept emergency text and video messages.

Fact Sheet: Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future

January 6, 2012
Department of Homeland Security Seal
The United States is facing a continued and growing cyber threat, which has the potential to jeopardize our national security, public safety, and economic competitiveness. This threat makes securing cyberspace one of the most important missions facing the homeland security community today. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) established the safeguarding and securing of cyberspace as a critical mission of DHS, with the goals to create a safe, secure, and resilient cyber environment and promote cybersecurity knowledge and innovation. The Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future proposes a path forward to achieve these goals.

Biometric Standard Expanded To Include DNA, Footprints

January 13, 2012
National Institute of Standards and Technology
An update to the way biometric data is shared by law enforcement includes geo-positioning information about where samples were collected. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has added the identification of DNA, footmarks, and specific fingerprint information to its biometric data standard, with more enhancements slated for the future. The organization--which oversees technology standards for the federal government--published a significantly revised biometric standard last month that expands the amount of information that can be used across the world to identify victims of crimes or solve the crimes themselves, it said.