IACP Regional Forensic Video Analysis Project
Video technology is transforming law enforcement and changing case investigations. In the post-September 11 world, the proliferation of surveillance systems, in-car camera systems, and even video-enabled cell phones have resulted in an unprecedented flood of video evidence.
Despite the growing availability of video, law enforcement is frequently ill equipped and unprepared to deal with the influx of valuable visual evidence. To add to the problem, there are fewer than 650 recognized forensic video analysts in the country spread among 17,784 police agencies.
Forensic video analysis is the scientific examination, comparison, or evaluation of video in legal matters.
To help law enforcement solve the problem of too few video analysts and a backlog of available video evidence, the IACP has partnered with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to design and implement a regional approach. Between May 2006 and September 2007, the IACP will establish four regional forensic video analysis labs around the country. These labs will be linked using new technology that allows for the transfer of large video files in a matter of seconds. This will provide participating agencies with vital information regarding trends in criminal activity, enable them to share intelligence, and enhance their ability to solve crimes. These labs will be centrally located at a host agency and service the video forensic needs of all agencies within a defined geographic area. The team is in the process of identifying the host agencies that have or will commit to having trained video analysts on staff who will be willing to train additional examiners from surrounding agencies. Once these host agencies are established and trained analysts are in place, the team will work with the agency to provide the necessary forensic video equipment and then monitor the progress and caseload by using a shared database. Once these goals are met, the IACP will begin working with other existing forensic video labs to create a national network for training and for sharing critical visual evidence and other valuable information. For more information on this topic, contact Mike Fergus at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 800-THE-IACP, extension 811, or Grady Baker at (email@example.com) or 800-THE-IACP, extension 839.
Scholarships Awarded by the IACP University and College Police Section
The IACP University and College Police Section awarded Kaley A. Foster of North Andover, Massachusetts, and Jason R. Kroptavich of Scranton, Pennsylvania, scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. The section's Scholarship Committee selected Kaley and Jason for this recognition from a broad field of applicants because of their outstanding academic efforts and commitment to community.
Kaley Foster: Kaley is an honor student in Northeastern University's College of Criminal Justice and has worked for Northeaster's Public Safety Division since June of 2005. Her assignments in the detective unit included processing all warrant and criminal history information, administering all noncriminal fingerprinting, maintaining the criminal court schedule, and managing the lost and found unit. She speaks conversational Spanish and assists officers by interpreting during interviews.
Kaley participates in all aspects of student life at Northeastern and currently serves on the Criminal Justice Student Advisory Committee. She is vice president of NU TELLS, a group that teaches English-language literacy skills to Boston residents. She is a member of the Student Judicial Board, Sigma Alpha Lambda (a national scholarship and honors organization), and Alpha Phi Sigma (a national criminal justice honor society). A strong believer in giving back to the community, Kaley volunteers many hours tutoring young children, visiting the elderly, and displaying her concern for people of all ages by personally giving of her time with them.
Jason Kroptavich: Jason is a sophomore criminal justice major at the University of Scranton. Jason has worked for the public safety department since joining the student officer program in his freshmen year. He was recognized for his academic excellence by being named to the dean's list last fall.
When he's not studying, Jason works two part-time positions to pay for his education. He was recently promoted to sergeant in the student officer program. Jason's loyalty and commitment were big factors in helping to build the department image and to close the communication gaps between staff, faculty, students, and full-time officers. Jason also works in the intensive care unit at Moses Taylor Hospital. He may be assigned to one-on-one suicide and safety watch duty for patients in crisis.
Jason is active in church and community service activities. He is a regular blood donor for the American Red Cross and has participated in church-sponsored mission trips to Russia, Mexico, and Panama. Jason worked and participated in fundraising projects to finance his mission trips.
Jason is enrolled in the university's Army ROTC program and was recently welcomed back as a member of the student officer program after returning from military duty with his Army National Guard Unit in Iraq. Jason believes that his "deployment not only helped me to learn about Iraqi culture, but also to learn about myself by taking advantage of time and learning all I can."
For more information on the IACP University and College Police Section scholarships, including applications, please visit the IACP Web site at (www.theiacp), enter the area devoted to committees, sections, and divisions, and select the University and College Police Section.
Public Safety Officers' Benefits Online Application
The Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) Program of the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance now has an online application system. The PSOB Office knows that the loss or injury of a colleague or loved one is difficult and hopes that this new system will impose the least possible burden for providing the necessary information to complete a claim.
The online application forms collect the same information required for the original paper applications; therefore, there is no need to submit an application by both methods. The information is submitted via a secure network and is kept confidential. Social security numbers will be encrypted and will only be viewable by PSOB Office staff responsible for the handling the claim.
At any time in the process of a claim, the completed work can be saved and the claimant can come back to it later. Please note that all fields in the application are mandatory, and each must be provided in order for the application to be considered complete. After submitting the application, the claimant may return to add attachments but will not be able to change any of the information in the application.
Because no two PSOB cases are alike, PSOB Office may ask for additional information to help clarify or establish the eligibility of claims and beneficiaries according to the PSOB Act and its regulations.
New users will be asked to create an account, including a user name and password. The user name and password will be required before logging on the system and can be used for multiple claims if necessary. For more information, visit (https://www.psob.gov/).
Public Health Role in Homeland Security
An issue brief recently published by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), State Strategies for Fully Integrating Public Health into Homeland Security, offers recommendations for integrating public health into homeland security.
For the past 50 years, public health was often considered a less than integral part of disaster and emergency response. As emergency management and homeland security evolved, public health officials frequently found themselves at the periphery of preparedness and response efforts. According to the issue brief, these individuals were further hindered by a public health culture sometimes at odds with decision-making approaches favored by other first response agencies, and a public health infrastructure that has lagged behind other response agencies in terms of involvement.
The 2001 anthrax attacks and the emerging threat of bioterrorism have changed this perception. With expertise not found in other disciplines-unique authorities including quarantine, isolation, and drug distribution-and surveillance systems that provide important intelligence about infectious diseases, states have come to realize that they can ill afford to leave public health out of disaster response plans. The result is a search for new ways to integrate public health into emergency response and homeland security at all levels of government.
The issue brief provides the following strategies for better integrating public health into homeland security:
- Include public health fully in the state homeland security governance system
- Include public health in homeland security planning
- Incorporate public health in state and local exercise and training activities
- Include public health in homeland security intelligence and analysis
"Public health plays a critical role in preparing for and responding to disasters," said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. "We must fully incorporate the lifesaving benefits and expertise provided by the public health community into our homeland security and emergency systems."
For more information, call John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center, National Governors Association, Hall of the States, 444 North Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20001, at 202-624-5300, send a fax to him at 202-624-5313, or visit the NGA Web site at (www.nga.org). ■