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Back to Archives | Back to May 2011 Contents 

May 2011

Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Entropy USA Completes e-Desk Kiosk Pilot at Winnetka, Illinois, Police Department

The e-Desk kiosk is the vision of a Chicago area police detective to develop a more efficient method to handle citizen traffic inside police stations. Together with Entropy USA, the kiosk acts as an assistant to desk officers during high-traffic hours or when the front desk is closed. It allows citizens with general inquiries to get the answers they need while allowing the desk officers to focus on higher priority cases.

With recent budget constraints, the Winnetka, Illinois, Police Department was looking for new ways to reallocate resources. When considering closing its station desk after 6 p.m., Chief Joseph DeLopez worried about residents’ inability to receive service after hours. The e-Desk solves this problem by providing residents with the services they need while saving the department money.

After completion of the e-Desk pilot program at the Winnetka station, Chief DeLopez said, “I am impressed with how user-friendly the kiosk is; the ability to address a more efficient method of providing service to our community was a primary concern. E-Desk has addressed that concern with the flexibility to design and adapt the functions and accessibility for the specific needs of my department.”

E-Desk is designed to be user-friendly, allowing for quick navigation, which then leads to quick answers. The software can be customized for each department’s specific needs and is able to be updated at any time.

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Spillman Facilitates Wisconsin's National Data Sharing Effort

An interface created by Spillman Technologies is helping Wisconsin public safety agencies submit law enforcement data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Spillman’s interface allows Wisconsin agencies to submit data to the Wisconsin Justice Information Sharing (WIJIS) program office in National Data Exchange (N-DEx) format.

N-DEx allows law enforcement agencies throughout the United States to share incident and case reports, booking and incarceration data, and parole and probation information. The system was developed and is continuously improved by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services division.

Nine agencies in Wisconsin—the Monroe Police Department, the Green County Sheriff’s Office, the Monticello Police Department, the New Glarus Police Department, the Albany Police Department, the Brodhead Police Department, the Glendale Police Department, the Whitefish Bay Police Department, and the Sherwood Police Department—implemented the interface in August 2010. The remaining 47 police departments and sheriff’s offices in Wisconsin that use Spillman software also plan to implement the interface.

Glendale Police Chief Tom Czarnyszka said that the interface provides officers with critical information and allows them to work more efficiently. “The Spillman-WIJIS interface saves time as police and prosecutors can access and share each others’ information,” he said.

WIJIS program coordinator Shelly Fox said that the N-DEx program gives agencies the ability to exchange information they would otherwise not be able to share. “This is a way to get information to people on a much wider scale than we were able to before,” Fox said.

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation Employs Leica Geosystems 3-D Laser Scanner

To support its 230 agents working an average of 300 death investigations a year, including almost all officer-involved shootings, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has a sophisticated and well-equipped crime laboratory. Now, with the purchase of a 3-D laser scanner from Leica Geosystems, the agency has added a powerful forensic tool that enables investigators to quickly document and measure a crime scene using laser mapping technology that provides an accurate, 3-D picture of the scene. In addition, the laser system can provide digital color photographs and sophisticated graphic presentations of a crime scene for use by prosecutors in courtroom proceedings.

“I have long maintained that we have the best-trained crime scene investigators in the country,” said GBI Director Vernon Keenan. ‘They have a tremendous amount of experience and they’re very busy, and we make every effort to ensure that they have the very best tools at their disposal. With this important acquisition, they now have a versatile instrument for forensic documentation that embodies the very latest in proven technology.”

The Leica Geosystems ScanStation C10 is a portable 3-D laser scanner that can capture 50,000 measurement points per second to a range of 900 feet. The system also features an internal digital camera for panoramic photography. The technology is used by law enforcement agencies around the world for crime scene investigations, vulnerability and threat assessments, post-blast investigations, police action inquiries, accident investigations, and more.

Keenan explained that the GBI has on several occasions conducted ScanStation mapping using instruments borrowed from other agencies assisting with investigations. “Now that we have this equipment, we will be routinely deploying it and certainly will use it at all major crime scenes we’re involved with,” he said. He added that the Leica system minimizes the potential for human error, which can sometimes undermine the credibility of evidence in a criminal trial. ■

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 5, May 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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