New Information Technology Standards Released
With support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, the Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council (LEITSC) has released 10 Information Exchange Package Documents (IEPDs) for computer-aided dispatch systems and records management systems using the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) version 2.0. An IEPD is a collection of artifacts that describe the structure and content of an information exchange. It describes the data involved in an exchange but does not specify other interface layers (such as Web services). IEPDs are created typically using the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) and/or NIEM data models. All of the IEPDs are currently available for download on the LEITSC Web site: www.leitsc.org.
LEITSC was created in 2002 with funding from the BJA and brings together a consortium of law enforcement organizations, including the IACP, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and Police Executive Research Forum to address law enforcement information-sharing and technology standards issues. These organizations have come together to develop standards for improving the application of information technology for law enforcement operations. Through these organizations, the U.S. law enforcement community is represented on technology standards issues. The results of this initiative will ultimately shape the integration of justice technology solutions meeting a wide range of needs, affecting the public safety community and the citizens it serves.
The IEPDs can be viewed by visiting the LEITSC Web site. In addition, agencies interested in receiving technical assistance to implement any of these IEPDs can complete the Request for Technical Assistance Form, found on the Web site, for follow-up from the staff.
For more information, contact Heather Ruzbasan Cotter, LEITSC Project Manager, at 800-THE-IACP, extension 275, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
New Research Reinforces Effectiveness of Speed Cameras
Speeding-related fatalities continue to be a serious highway safety problem, accounting for approximately 13,000 deaths a year—roughly a third of all traffic fatalities. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) publication titled Survey of the States: Speeding noted that there is little public recognition of the problem and that the law enforcement community faces numerous obstacles enforcing speed limit laws. The GHSA survey found that jurisdictions believe increased enforcement of speeding-related laws has become very difficult because of uncertainty in highway safety funding and decreased numbers of officers due to retirements, as well as an increased emphasis on homeland security issues.
New research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reinforces the effectiveness of speed cameras in reducing highway speeds. The IIHS studied two jurisdictions: Scottsdale, Arizona, and Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, D.C.). These two areas have implemented cameras in different ways, but both have seen a dramatic impact.
In 2006, Scottsdale became the first U.S. locality to demonstrate the effectiveness of fixed speed cameras on a major highway, the busy Loop 101. Prior to the cameras’ installation, 15 percent of drivers were driving faster than 75 miles per hour (mph), despite the posted limit of 65 mph. According to the new IIHS study, once the cameras were in place, the number of violators plunged to 1–2 percent. (For a detailed description of the Scottsdale demonstration program, see “Automated Speed Enforcement Study,” in the July 2007 issue of the Police Chief, by Lieutenant Jack Hegarty, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix, Arizona.)
In Montgomery County, Maryland, speed cameras are used to enforce limits of 35 mph or less in residential areas and school zones. Since the installation of the cameras, the proportion of vehicles going more than 10 mph faster than the posted limits has fallen by 70 percent. Additionally, speeds have fallen by 39 percent on roads where signs were posted warning of overall enforcement but where cameras were not yet operational.
Much can be learned from the Arizona and Maryland experiences. These programs are operated in a manner consistent with the recommendations outlined in the 2005 report from the National Forum on Speeding. The forum report advocates for speed camera programs when they are in place for safety and not for revenue purposes.
Additionally, the Arizona and Maryland cameras are in areas with demonstrated need and public support. To reinforce the safety objectives of both programs, numerous signs have been put in place and extensive media efforts have been conducted to remind the public that they must slow down or face a ticket. As with programs to combat drunk driving and encourage seat belt use, highly publicized enforcement is absolutely critical to a successful speed enforcement program.
The new IIHS report can be viewed at www.iihs.org. The GHSA survey publication and recommendations from the National Forum on Speeding are online at www.ghsa.org.
First Responders Technology Transfer Program
Known as the 1401 Technology Transfer Program, section 1401 of Public Law 107-314, signed on December 2, 2002, is legislation aimed at leveraging the technology and logistics capabilities of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to assist local first responders. Current programs include the following:
Law Enforcement Property Transfers: The 1033 program transfers excess military property suitable for counterdrug and counterterrorism activities to federal and state agencies. The Defense Logistics Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office is the office of primary responsibility for this program. See http://www.drms.dla.mil/leso/LesoHome.html for details.
Counterdrug Sales: The 1122 program allows state and local governments to purchase items suitable for counterdrug activities from the DoD. State and local governments use the 1122 program to purchase a large fraction of the repair parts for helicopters and wheeled vehicles obtained through the 1033 program. The Department of the Army, the General Services Agency, and the Defense Logistics Agency participate in this program. See http://www.hqda.army.mil/logweb/1122Program.html for details.
Firefighting Property Transfers: The 1706 program provides excess military property to state and local firefighting agencies. The Forest Service administers this program for the DoD as the Firefighter Property Program. See http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/partners/fepp/ for details.
Fire and Emergency Responders Supplies and Services Prime Vendor Program: This program, also known as the First Responder Equipment Purchase Program, allows state and local recipients of Department of Homeland Security grants to procure commercially available emergency response equipment through certain government contracts. See http://www.dscp.dla.mil/gi/general/pgfire.htm for details.
For more information, send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Chris Kincaid at 703-601-0223.
Receive E-mail Notices from FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) recently launched a new e-mail subscription management system, GovDelivery, which operates in conjunction with the Institute’s Web site: http://training.fema.gov/. The service transmits instant e-mail alerts to a wide range of users, students, and alumni when new and important information is posted on the EMI home page and distributes notices of EMI training opportunities and announcements.
The latest EMI news; updates; and training, workshop, and conference information are delivered directly to PCs, laptops, or wireless devices. This ensures that the emergency management community, its partners, and the general public receive this information as promptly and conveniently as possible.
Signing up is easy; users can simply click on the “envelope icons” found throughout the EMI Web site (a subscription link can be found right on the homepage, highlighted in a green box above the “Latest News” section). No personal information is required—just an e-mail address where the alerts can be sent.
PSA Helps Prevent Cyberbullying
The National Crime Prevention Council, in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, has produced a public service announcement (PSA) called “Chicken” to help prevent cyberbullying. This video specifically targets early-teen boys. Other PSAs, banners, and resources are also available through the Delete Cyberbullying campaign.
Police departments regularly handle bullying complaints, and the Delete Cyberbullying campaign is an opportunity to assist local departments with this problem.
Most teenagers spend considerable time on a cellular telephone or an instant messenger chatting with friends and uploading photos, videos, and music to Web sites. Many have online friends whom they have never met in person. The typical teen experience takes place in school hallways, at part-time jobs, and at friends’ houses, and unfortunately, bullies can emerge in any of these venues.
Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other technology to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. According to a 2006 Harris Interactive Cyberbullying Research Report, commissioned by the National Crime Prevention Council, cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all U.S. teens.
Some youths who cyberbully pretend they are other people online to fool their victims; spread lies and rumors about victims; trick victims into revealing personal information; send or forward mean text messages; and post pictures of victims without their consent.
When teens were asked why they think others cyberbully, 81 percent said that cyberbullies think it is funny. Other teens believe that cyberbullies do not think that their behavior is a big deal; do not think about the consequences; are encouraged by friends; think everybody participates in cyberbullying; and think they will not be caught.
Being a victim of cyberbullying can be a common and painful experience. Contrary to what cyberbullies may believe, cyberbullying is a big deal to victims and can cause a variety of reactions in teens including anger, hurt, embarrassment, or fear. These emotions can cause victims to seek revenge on the bully, avoid friends and activities, or even to cyberbully in return. Some teens feel threatened because they do not know who is cyberbullying them.
Police officers can give teens steps they can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cybersafe. Positive reactions to cyberbullying include blocking communication with the cyberbully, deleting messages without reading them, talking to a friend about the bullying, and reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or Web site moderator.
Officers can raise awareness about cyberbullying by holding school assemblies, creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents, and discussing the issue at parent-teacher meetings and other meetings addressing teen issues.
Officers can emphasize to teens that the Internet is accessed by millions of people all over the world, not just their friends and family. Although many Internet users are friendly, some are not. Point out some ways for teens to stay cybersafe: they should never post or share personal information online (this includes full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or social security number) or their friends’ personal information; they should never share Internet passwords with anyone, except with parents; and they should never meet anyone in person that they have met only online.
For more resources about preventing cyberbullying, visit www.ncpc.org. ■