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Back to Archives | Back to April 2013 Contents 

April 2013

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.

Zco and Columbitech Provide PolicePad and FireTab Users CJIS-compliant Access to Federal Information

Columbitech Inc., a leading mobile virtual private network (VPN) security provider, is partnering with Zco Corporation, the company behind PolicePad and FireTab, to provide police and firefighters with uninterrupted, secure access to public safety records. The police department in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, population 107,000, will be the first to use PolicePad with built-in VPN functionality.

The PolicePad and FireTab software runs on iPads, iPhones, and Android devices, providing access to information, including 9-1-1 calls, warrants, vehicle registration, driver information, sex offenders and other persons of interest, fire hydrants, and hazardous materials mappings. It enables replacement of ruggedized notebook computers costing as much as $6,000 with mobile devices costing $800 or less. In addition, PolicePad and FireTab provide out-of-vehicle mobility, use built-in cameras, support multiparty messaging, and connect to surveillance systems.

By using the Columbitech application SDK, Zco was able to integrate mobile VPN functionality into the PolicePad and FireTab software. The Columbitech mobile VPN supports advanced two-factor authentication with unique client certificates, user-based public key infrastructure, one-time passwords, smartcards, biometric systems, and software and hardware tokens. Information is encrypted.

The VPN eliminates problems with dropped connections in remote areas. It creates a persistent network connection between the mobile device and the server with seamless roaming as police and firefighters move around and switch networks or temporarily lose coverage.

“The Lowell Police Department is looking to meet the highest-encryption, FIPS 140-2 standards for [Criminal Justice Information Sharing] data traffic,” said Kenneth Lavallee, superintendent of the Lowell Police Department. “Columbitech and Zco are helping us fully meet those standards.”

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Sorenson Forensics Helps New York’s Monroe County Forensics Laboratory Achieve 200 Percent Efficiency Increase

Sorenson Forensics announces that after teaching the principles of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma process improvements to the New York’s Monroe County Crime Laboratory DNA Section in August and September 2012, the lab has improved efficiency by 200 percent.

“By applying the Lean Six Sigma principles to forensic science, Sorenson Forensics has helped us significantly streamline casework reviews,” said Ellyn Colquhoun, DNA Technical Leader for Monroe County Crime Laboratory. “We have been extremely impressed by how drastically efficiency has improved in just a few months. We’ve already seen an increase of 200 percent, and we project that by the end of 2013 we will have processed 400 percent more cases, which is a phenomenal achievement.” In addition to being a leading provider of advanced forensic DNA services, Sorenson Forensics also offers industry-best DNA casework assistance to federal, state, and local crime laboratories and is the first accredited forensics laboratory to offer Lean Six Sigma consulting services. In an effort to improve the technical and administrative review of case reports and case files, Monroe County contracted with Sorenson Forensics for guidance in developing more efficient methods using lean manufacturing and Six Sigma process improvements.

Sorenson Forensics began adapting the Lean Six Sigma principles to forensic procedures in 2008 and, after experiencing great success internally, began consulting other forensics agencies who saw similar results. For example, after working with Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences DNA Section, also in New York, the lab was able to reduce case processing time by nearly 50 percent, and increased productivity equivalent to adding an additional analyst.

For information, visit

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to Solve More Crimes for Improved Public Safety with New Morpho Automated Biometric Identification Solution

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) will soon be able to search, match, identify, and verify fingerprints with even greater speed and accuracy, thanks to a system upgrade contract recently signed with MorphoTrak, part of Morpho (Safran).

The new contract upgrades the existing TBI fingerprint system with the latest technology from Morpho, the Morpho Biometric Identification Solution. This latest generation product showcases nearly 40 years of technological improvements, including the top matching accuracy featured in the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system.

The system upgrade will provide increased system accuracy and throughput by using the most advanced matching algorithms, as well as greater fingerprint database capacity. Among the improvements will be the ability to check if a DNA sample is required during a criminal charge booking.

“TBI has made an investment in Morpho public safety technology that will translate into more crimes being solved, more offenders off the streets, and improved public safety,” said Mark Gwyn, TBI Director. “The service-oriented architecture employed by MorphoBIS makes it easily fit into our IT architecture and provides scalability to future-proof our investment.”

The new system protects TBI’s technology investment by providing the flexibility to easily and cost-effectively incorporate additional biometrics such as face, tattoo, and iris recognition.♦

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXX, no. 4, April 2013. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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