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June 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.

University of Maryland Department of Public Safety Acquires Forensic Video Analysis Equipment to Better Protect Campus

The University of Maryland Department of Public Safety (UMDPS) serves the University of Maryland, College Park, and University College. These facilities are on 1,250 acres that contain more than 300 buildings, which serve as workplaces and residences for more than 52,000 students, faculty, and staff. The UMDPS records suspicious and criminal activity on more than 500 cameras—these include security, license-plate recognition, and in-car systems. Noticing the proliferation of criminal activity caught on these camera systems, the UMDPS sought to improve its processing capabilities. Evidence recorded in various lighting and weather conditions can be dark, grainy, and distorted; these conditions might hide key evidence that can help to solve a case. After researching available options, department leadership selected Ocean Systems dTective as its solution.

Not only is the University of Maryland, College Park, a high-profile campus, it also has major thoroughfares, including a Metrorail stop, and it is located only a few miles from Washington, D.C.

“The safety of the students, the faculty, and the staff of the university is the top priority for the UMDPS, and in acquiring a forensic video analysis solution from Ocean Systems, our department believes it can better protect the community,” said UMDPS Police Chief David B. Mitchell.

After visiting Ocean Systems and reviewing the professional tools included in its dTective forensic solution, the UMDPS was eager to secure a system for the campus and train investigators so they could immediately begin putting the forensic video, image, and audio analysis system to use.

There are many ways the UMDPS can leverage the system to help solve crimes more quickly and lower the department’s investigative costs. Some key features of this technology include the ability to capture and enhance proprietary digital video, still images, and audio. Video can be stabilized, and important areas of video can be clarified with super resolution. Suspects, faces, license plates, tattoos, and more can be highlighted or obscured.

For more information, visit

Scotts Valley, California, Police Department Becomes the State’s First Agency to Acquire a Zero DS Electric Motorcycle

The Scotts Valley, California, Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in California to accept delivery of a Zero DS electric motorcycle to assist in local patrols and traffic enforcement. The acquisition serves as a benchmark for evaluating the performance capabilities of the Zero DS in law enforcement situations, such as responding through traffic and on local bike trails. Because of its quiet all-electric drivetrain, the Zero DS is the perfect motorcycle for patrolling in urban areas where noise may be a factor.

“We are excited to be the first police department in California to receive an electric Zero motorcycle because it will allow our officers to patrol more places, more often,” said Lieutenant John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department. “Riding a police motorcycle requires a special skill set because the officer needs to be alert and keep the public safe while simultaneously scanning the area for criminal activity. We anticipate that the upright seating position, dual sport configuration, and silent operation of the Zero DS is the perfect combination for local patrols, and we cannot wait to put it to the test.”

Built from the ground up using Zero Motorcycles’ proprietary Z-Force power pack and aircraft-grade alloy frame, Zero achieves a power-to-weight ratio that increases range and maneuverability. The Zero DS has a range of up to 50 miles and is highway legal. Each model combines Z-Force technology with an ultralight frame designed to make the vehicle agile and fast. Characterized by instant acceleration and lightweight design, Zero’s product line allows riders to take on anything from city streets to off-road trails.

For more information, visit

Lubbock County, Texas, Chooses Spacenet to Connect the State in Emergency Situations

Lubbock County, Texas, is using Spacenet’s satellite communications services and equipment to support critical communications across the state. Spacenet Inc. is a provider of broadband network solutions for government, business, and industrial users. Lubbock County is using Spacenet’s transportable antennas and Connexstar S2 satellite services, based on the SkyEdge II VSAT platform, to provide emergency communications as part of the county’s instant command post.

Lubbock County integrated Spacenet’s satellite equipment and services into its mobile command vehicle, which is used across the state to maintain data, voice, and video communication during emergency situations. The vehicle is one of two primary mobile communications platforms within the region, and it can be utilized as an alternative dispatch point for its jurisdiction in the case of an outage, helping to enable the county to operate normally. The system supports Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) through telephone systems that connect back to Lubbock County’s telephone numbers.

“Spacenet’s satellite system has proven to be extremely reliable and effective for supporting our critical emergency communications requirements,” said emergency management coordinator Clinton Thetford. “In addition, the company has gone above and beyond to provide excellent customer service support, even assisting with issues that were outside of its normal scope of work. The system works well for our requirements and helps us protect the public across the county and the state.”

The vehicle recently was used to support a community in Texas that lost its connection to the 9-1-1 system because of a cut in the fiberoptic lines. The mobile command vehicle was deployed to the community and within an hour was able to provide 9-1-1 access through its VoIP phones. The fiber-optic lines were not restored until several hours later. In addition, Lubbock County is part of Texas’s Rapid Response Task Force and has used its mobile command vehicle and satellite services for several emergency exercises throughout Texas. ■

For more information, visit

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 6, June 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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