Kova Corp https://kovacorp.com Platinum Performance Guaranteed Wed, 15 Apr 2020 19:10:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.16 Highway Patrol Officers Do Much, Much More than Catch Speeders https://kovacorp.com/highway-patrol-officers-do-much-much-more-than-catch-speeders/ https://kovacorp.com/highway-patrol-officers-do-much-much-more-than-catch-speeders/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 15:39:51 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4129 When you ask the average citizen what they think a state highway patrol officer does during his shift, they’re likely to tell you that the officer sits along a highway, points a radar gun at oncoming traffic, and then chases down speeders to write tickets. While yes, state troopers do enforce traffic laws and give out tickets to those who break the law, that’s just a small part of what they do every day. One of the essential things state highway patrol officers do is manage and investigate traffic accidents, especially if the accidents occur on multiple-lane thoroughfares. State officers are likely to be the ones to direct traffic away from the scene of the incident, and state investigators are usually the most experienced when it comes to determining the actions that led to the accident. State officers have been known to transport victims with non-life-threatening injuries to hospitals in the event that there are not enough ambulances are available, or to transport home those victims of the crash whose vehicles have been disabled and who have no other way to return to their homes. State patrol officers also spend much of their time helping motorists who have a flat tire or other problem with their cars. By stopping and putting the patrol car with flashing lights behind the disabled vehicle, they make the situation safer for everyone involved by making drivers of oncoming vehicles aware of a problem ahead. The troopers can help the drivers contact a tow truck or other services that can help them get the disabled vehicle away from the flow of traffic. Many times, especially in more rural situations, the state trooper is the first person to arrive on the scene of any reported crime. Troopers go through extensive training to be able to identify the type of situation they are facing upon arriving at a reported crime scene. The troopers usually are the ones who provide vital intel to later-arriving first responders or police about what they will face when they arrive on the scene. In many of those cases, the state troopers also handle the actual investigation of the crime. Most state police departments have troopers who specialize in crime scene investigations, evidence collection, and other key parts … Continue reading

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When you ask the average citizen what they think a state highway patrol officer does during his shift, they’re likely to tell you that the officer sits along a highway, points a radar gun at oncoming traffic, and then chases down speeders to write tickets.

While yes, state troopers do enforce traffic laws and give out tickets to those who break the law, that’s just a small part of what they do every day.

One of the essential things state highway patrol officers do is manage and investigate traffic accidents, especially if the accidents occur on multiple-lane thoroughfares. State officers are likely to be the ones to direct traffic away from the scene of the incident, and state investigators are usually the most experienced when it comes to determining the actions that led to the accident.

State officers have been known to transport victims with non-life-threatening injuries to hospitals in the event that there are not enough ambulances are available, or to transport home those victims of the crash whose vehicles have been disabled and who have no other way to return to their homes.

State patrol officers also spend much of their time helping motorists who have a flat tire or other problem with their cars. By stopping and putting the patrol car with flashing lights behind the disabled vehicle, they make the situation safer for everyone involved by making drivers of oncoming vehicles aware of a problem ahead. The troopers can help the drivers contact a tow truck or other services that can help them get the disabled vehicle away from the flow of traffic.

Many times, especially in more rural situations, the state trooper is the first person to arrive on the scene of any reported crime. Troopers go through extensive training to be able to identify the type of situation they are facing upon arriving at a reported crime scene. The troopers usually are the ones who provide vital intel to later-arriving first responders or police about what they will face when they arrive on the scene.

In many of those cases, the state troopers also handle the actual investigation of the crime. Most state police departments have troopers who specialize in crime scene investigations, evidence collection, and other key parts of the investigative process. Many of these officers are more seasoned members of the force who have worked their way up through the ranks.

In many state police departments, there are troopers who work in very specialized teams. For example, in most states, the state highway patrol is responsible for security for the governor and any other state official who may require protection at public events. It’s not unusual to see half a dozen troopers (sometimes wearing suits instead of uniforms) in a circle around a governor walking through a public venue.

With the looming threat of terrorism in America, many state police departments have developed some form of anti-terrorism team. These groups focus not only on being prepared for outside attacks on their states but also on homegrown organizations that might want to cause mass harm. These units will likely be the key members of an investigation in an incident such as the bombing or arson of a church, synagogue, or mosque.

And there are so many more things that a state highway patrol officer could do, such as running a canine unit in drug raids, vehicle stops or administering polygraph tests. They could be transporting prisoners from a courthouse to prison.

They also do things that don’t involve crime directly but that involve the community, such as helping to organize community watches or help security planning for major events.

KOVA Corp. salutes the men and women of our highway patrol departments across the country and wants them to know that we appreciate the long hours, hard work, and sacrifice they make to keep our country safe. KOVA’s software systems can help the communications of your departments and allow your officers to be secure in knowing they have reliable communications even in the most dangerous of situations. Contact your KOVA Corp. representative today to find out how we can help you.

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6 Forensic Advancements That Are Changing How Police Work Is Done https://kovacorp.com/6-forensic-advancements-that-are-changing-how-police-work-is-done/ https://kovacorp.com/6-forensic-advancements-that-are-changing-how-police-work-is-done/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 07:09:18 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4125 When you hear mention of the term “forensics,” you may immediately think of television shows like CSI, where a police officer discovers a tiny piece of evidence that can be used to positively identify a criminal. That’s the popular view of police forensics, but only recently have technological advances made actual police forensics resemble something like what you see on TV. Here are six major forensic breakthroughs related to technology that are changing the way crimes are processed. 1. Touch DNA One major forensic advancement has come in the field of DNA. Police are now able to obtain what is being called “touch DNA” from objects that were simply touched by a suspect. This means if someone is being questioned by a police officer and he or she happens to pick up a newspaper off a table, the officer can take the paper and obtain DNA simply from where the paper was touched by the suspect. 2. Portable testing units There have also been advances that allow for quicker analysis of DNA evidence. Tests on DNA that, historically, would have to be sent to a lab and where it would take three to five days to process for results, can now be obtained in as little as 90 minutes via a portable testing unit. This could lead to a more rapid apprehension of suspects in violent crimes. 3. Drones Drones are also doing their part to help advance police forensics. Some of the most sophisticated drones can shoot high definition video from higher altitudes than ever before. That means that when a police department is dealing with a situation where a riot or protest may be taking place, or there is an armed suspect hiding in an area that would be dangerous for officers to search without some kind of aerial surveillance, they can not only get up to the minute information for officers on the ground but they can provide recordings that will be useful in court. 4. Google Glass While Google Glass has been available to the general public for a while, it’s now also being developed as a tool for law enforcement. An officer on patrol would be able to use Glass to record what he or she sees as they cover an area and search for information, … Continue reading

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When you hear mention of the term “forensics,” you may immediately think of television shows like CSI, where a police officer discovers a tiny piece of evidence that can be used to positively identify a criminal. That’s the popular view of police forensics, but only recently have technological advances made actual police forensics resemble something like what you see on TV. Here are six major forensic breakthroughs related to technology that are changing the way crimes are processed.

1. Touch DNA

One major forensic advancement has come in the field of DNA. Police are now able to obtain what is being called “touch DNA” from objects that were simply touched by a suspect. This means if someone is being questioned by a police officer and he or she happens to pick up a newspaper off a table, the officer can take the paper and obtain DNA simply from where the paper was touched by the suspect.

2. Portable testing units

There have also been advances that allow for quicker analysis of DNA evidence. Tests on DNA that, historically, would have to be sent to a lab and where it would take three to five days to process for results, can now be obtained in as little as 90 minutes via a portable testing unit. This could lead to a more rapid apprehension of suspects in violent crimes.

3. Drones

Drones are also doing their part to help advance police forensics. Some of the most sophisticated drones can shoot high definition video from higher altitudes than ever before. That means that when a police department is dealing with a situation where a riot or protest may be taking place, or there is an armed suspect hiding in an area that would be dangerous for officers to search without some kind of aerial surveillance, they can not only get up to the minute information for officers on the ground but they can provide recordings that will be useful in court.

4. Google Glass

While Google Glass has been available to the general public for a while, it’s now also being developed as a tool for law enforcement. An officer on patrol would be able to use Glass to record what he or she sees as they cover an area and search for information, such as business information or who lives in the homes they are passing. If the Glass is connected to facial recognition software, they can even get real-time information about anyone they meet.

5. Immunochromatography

Another advancement in tech for forensics is aimed at assisting the investigations into sexual assault cases. The new method will allow technicians to look at blood samples taken from assault victims and test it in a way to let investigators know if the blood is natural blood or resulting from an injury. This helps investigators and forensic techs narrow down which blood needs to be sent for DNA testing, lowering response time for cases and the overall workload on regional forensic centers.

6. Fingerprint protection

Finally, a new development in fingerprint technology created by British researchers at Loughborough University makes it impossible for criminals to remove their fingerprints from a crime scene. The university researchers worked with the British Ministry of Defense to create a technique to retrieve fingerprints from crime scene surfaces that have been immersed in water, exposed to high temperatures or have been deformed.

“This research with Loughborough has seen us demonstrate the ability to recover fingerprints that would have been previously exceptionally challenging or impossible to recover,” lead scientist Steven Thorngate told Forensic Magazine. “Although the technology needs further refinement, it will be of significant benefit to forensic scientists across the world.”

KOVA Corp. is dedicated to being on the cutting edge of technology advancement for law enforcement and first responders. Talk to your KOVA Corp. representative today about how KEANS or one of our other programs would be an enhancement to your department’s services.

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Five Technologies That Could Serve Firefighters https://kovacorp.com/five-technologies-that-could-serve-firefighters/ https://kovacorp.com/five-technologies-that-could-serve-firefighters/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 15:31:18 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4122 The men and women who fight fires every day are always hoping for new advancements in technology that would make their work easier, and more importantly, safer than it is today. Here are five revolutionary technological advancements that are on the cutting edge of fire safety, and could help firefighters save lives. 1. Virtual reality One of the most groundbreaking technological revolutions, virtual reality is positioned to make firefighters’ lives easier and safer by allowing them to train without actually having to fight a real fire. “Virtual reality will give us the opportunity to immerse students into real incidents, allow them to see outcomes and develop critical thinking skills,” says Dan Wright, owner of Wright Public Safety Consulting and Training. “I believe it will disrupt the training model as we know it.” So how does it work? Virtual reality can place a training firefighter into any scenario, complete with a 360-degree field of vision. That means training officials can surprise the firefighters with any kind of complication during their emergency scenario, including something coming up on them from behind. This will allow them to execute an infinite amount of training scenarios without having to spend the money to build multiple training locations. Plus, it allows firefighters to train safely. With virtual reality, not only can firefighters enter virtual environments – they can use virtual tools like hoses and axes to douse flames, breach walls, ventilate a fire room or rescue people. 2. Portable ultrasound devices Portable ultrasound devices, which are currently being tested in the field, are intended to help fire-based EMTs the ability to make better assessments in heart, lung and abdominal cases. The device allows them to feed better information back to their command center or a nearby hospital, giving doctors the opportunity to help them in the field. 3. Drones When a fire unit arrives on the scene of a major fire, information obtained quickly by drones for the firefighting crews can not only help them quickly extinguish the flames but increase safety by showing areas too dangerous to enter. Using a drone, a fire technician can hover over the scene, provide up to the second intel for firefighters on the ground and direct rescue personnel should someone be discovered inside actively … Continue reading

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The men and women who fight fires every day are always hoping for new advancements in technology that would make their work easier, and more importantly, safer than it is today. Here are five revolutionary technological advancements that are on the cutting edge of fire safety, and could help firefighters save lives.

1. Virtual reality

One of the most groundbreaking technological revolutions, virtual reality is positioned to make firefighters’ lives easier and safer by allowing them to train without actually having to fight a real fire.

“Virtual reality will give us the opportunity to immerse students into real incidents, allow them to see outcomes and develop critical thinking skills,” says Dan Wright, owner of Wright Public Safety Consulting and Training. “I believe it will disrupt the training model as we know it.”

So how does it work? Virtual reality can place a training firefighter into any scenario, complete with a 360-degree field of vision. That means training officials can surprise the firefighters with any kind of complication during their emergency scenario, including something coming up on them from behind. This will allow them to execute an infinite amount of training scenarios without having to spend the money to build multiple training locations. Plus, it allows firefighters to train safely.

With virtual reality, not only can firefighters enter virtual environments – they can use virtual tools like hoses and axes to douse flames, breach walls, ventilate a fire room or rescue people.

2. Portable ultrasound devices

Portable ultrasound devices, which are currently being tested in the field, are intended to help fire-based EMTs the ability to make better assessments in heart, lung and abdominal cases. The device allows them to feed better information back to their command center or a nearby hospital, giving doctors the opportunity to help them in the field.

3. Drones

When a fire unit arrives on the scene of a major fire, information obtained quickly by drones for the firefighting crews can not only help them quickly extinguish the flames but increase safety by showing areas too dangerous to enter.

Using a drone, a fire technician can hover over the scene, provide up to the second intel for firefighters on the ground and direct rescue personnel should someone be discovered inside actively dangerous areas.

Because drone technology is advancing rapidly, the cost to obtain a quality drone is no longer prohibitive for most departments. Most departments can afford the cost of the FAA required training and certification, so now that equipment is becoming affordable, look for the use of drones by fire departments to continue to increase.

4. Personnel location gear

These devices allow a technician in a mobile command center to track the exact location of every single firefighter deployed in an emergency. They become vital in the event a situation is occurring inside a building or some other structure prone to collapse. If the building falls, there is a good chance that the firefighters involved will become unconscious or otherwise incapable of communicating their position to their fellow firefighters.

5. Thermal imaging displays

A final advancement that is beginning to gain popularity is thermal imaging displays that are built directly into a firefighter’s helmet. The use of the helmet mounted thermal imaging allows the firefighters to keep both of their hands-free in all situations.

The team at KOVA Corp. is dedicated to technological advancement that keeps our firefighters safer and in contact, reliable communication. To find out how KOVA is working to stay on the cutting edge of today’s technology, like our KEANS system, contact your KOVA representative today!

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Six Ways First Responders Can Alleviate Stress https://kovacorp.com/six-ways-first-responders-can-alleviate-stress/ https://kovacorp.com/six-ways-first-responders-can-alleviate-stress/#respond Mon, 13 Aug 2018 08:50:41 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4118 Many non-responders do not understand the toll that being a first responder can take on the mind and body. The stress of being “the one” the public turns to when their worst fears are being realized around them has ill effects, whether a responder wants to admit it or not. This means that taking the time to put safeguards and habits into your life to manage stress is vital for your health and the wellbeing of your family and friends around you. Here are six ways that first responders can help manage and reduce stress. Take time off. One of the things that drives first responders is their commitment to their communities and their core belief that they were called to serve others and make a difference where they live. When you have that kind of calling in your life, you tend to want to be there to fulfill it, and it’s hard to take time away, because of your passion to serve. However, it’s vital that you take time away from the stressful grind of the job and allow your body and mind to refocus and heal. Leave work at work. It’s hard at the end of your work day not to think about what you’ve experienced during your shift. The problem is that you can still have the impact of the stress of the moment lingering on your mind and body when you revisit traumatic situations. Develop a system where you can put your work in a box at the end of the day and refuse to allow yourself to start thinking about something bad that happened or about preparing for an emergency you might face in your next shift. Exercise. While your job requires physical health and strength, there are additional benefits to exercise that can help you manage the stress of your work. Exercise releases endorphins that have been medically shown to improve mood, decrease irritability, and help the mind concentrate on tasks. A regular exercise program such as jogging or cycling can make a tremendous impact on stress management. Create boundaries and realize that it’s all right to say “no.” No matter where you work, there is always one more thing to do or one more task that pops up … Continue reading

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Many non-responders do not understand the toll that being a first responder can take on the mind and body. The stress of being “the one” the public turns to when their worst fears are being realized around them has ill effects, whether a responder wants to admit it or not. This means that taking the time to put safeguards and habits into your life to manage stress is vital for your health and the wellbeing of your family and friends around you.

Here are six ways that first responders can help manage and reduce stress.

  1. Take time off. One of the things that drives first responders is their commitment to their communities and their core belief that they were called to serve others and make a difference where they live. When you have that kind of calling in your life, you tend to want to be there to fulfill it, and it’s hard to take time away, because of your passion to serve. However, it’s vital that you take time away from the stressful grind of the job and allow your body and mind to refocus and heal.
  1. Leave work at work. It’s hard at the end of your work day not to think about what you’ve experienced during your shift. The problem is that you can still have the impact of the stress of the moment lingering on your mind and body when you revisit traumatic situations. Develop a system where you can put your work in a box at the end of the day and refuse to allow yourself to start thinking about something bad that happened or about preparing for an emergency you might face in your next shift.
  1. Exercise. While your job requires physical health and strength, there are additional benefits to exercise that can help you manage the stress of your work. Exercise releases endorphins that have been medically shown to improve mood, decrease irritability, and help the mind concentrate on tasks. A regular exercise program such as jogging or cycling can make a tremendous impact on stress management.
  1. Create boundaries and realize that it’s all right to say “no.” No matter where you work, there is always one more thing to do or one more task that pops up at the last minute. Your natural tendency to want to help others can be used against you when these situations arise, because the boss will ask you to work late for “just this one little thing…” Learn that it’s all right for you to tell the boss no sometimes because you know you need the break or you need to put your family first.
  1. Choose to eat healthier foods and avoid excessive amounts of fast food. Sure, many times you have to eat on the run because of the number of calls you face during your shift. That still doesn’t mean it’s all right to pile on the carbs and sugar and unhealthy fats from processed fast food every time you need to eat. Not only does eating that food on a regular basis negatively impact your overall health, fast foods can increase irritability, lower energy, and even affect your ability to concentrate. Drink water instead of soda or coffee and eat balanced meals.
  1. Seek counseling or attend a support group. Many responders avoid counseling or support groups because of their fear that it makes them appear weak to ask for some help or to lean on someone else with their struggles.  Nothing could be farther from the truth! Talking to a counselor or discussing struggles with your peers can help you find ways to counter stress, ways that may have never entered your mind, and shows others that you’re serious about being the best you can be as a first responder and as a person.

While these are not everything you can do to help reduce and manage stress, making these six suggestions a part of your life will help you find that place where you can excel at your job without having it take over your life, making you a better family member, co-worker and neighbor.

KOVA Corp. is dedicated to helping public safety personnel of all kinds by providing state-of-the-art call center and public safety software. For more information on how we can help enhance your department’s performance and working conditions, contact us today.

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Beyond Public Relations: How Law Enforcement Uses Social Media in Crime-solving https://kovacorp.com/beyond-public-relations-how-law-enforcement-uses-social-media-in-crime-solving/ https://kovacorp.com/beyond-public-relations-how-law-enforcement-uses-social-media-in-crime-solving/#respond Thu, 09 Aug 2018 07:51:13 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4115 Ah, social media: the daily time-sucking tools that have ended friendships over petty squabbles, made celebrities of people who just put the right picture on the right social media account at the right time, and showed us that cats can be pretty darn grumpy. But while many people look at social media as some kind of lightweight thing that is a part of their daily lives without much real impact, websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and others are becoming a valuable tool for law enforcement. Initially, many law enforcement organizations used Facebook and Twitter as a means of improving their community image. It was a way to interact directly with citizens to inform them of upcoming events, warn them of dangerous weather conditions or traffic hazards in their jurisdictions, or even just dispel the myth some try to perpetuate that police officers are always serious and out to “get you.” In that vein, social media has been a very successful public relations tool for departments. Departments have also used social media pages as a form of cyber “tip line.” They can post photos of people who are being sought for crimes or who have missed court dates, along with contact information for someone to report the whereabouts of those people of interest. But it’s not just in those limited ways that social media has developed into a useful tool for officers. An example of one of social media’s uses to law enforcement comes from Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2017. The Lincoln Journal Star reported on the disappearance of a 24-year-old woman named Sydney Loofe. She had been reported missing, so investigators started combing through her social media accounts to find “breadcrumbs” that led to the discovery of her body. A retired Lincoln police investigator, Larry Barksdale, told the Journal Star a digital footprint that gives police “breadcrumbs” is more than just tracking cell phones like you see on television or in movies. “It also includes information from online apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, from credit card purchases or ATM visits, and from cameras along the state’s highways, outside gas stations or inside businesses,” Barksdale said, showing the importance of social media to the investigative process. But it’s not just in the … Continue reading

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Ah, social media: the daily time-sucking tools that have ended friendships over petty squabbles, made celebrities of people who just put the right picture on the right social media account at the right time, and showed us that cats can be pretty darn grumpy.

But while many people look at social media as some kind of lightweight thing that is a part of their daily lives without much real impact, websites and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and others are becoming a valuable tool for law enforcement.

Initially, many law enforcement organizations used Facebook and Twitter as a means of improving their community image. It was a way to interact directly with citizens to inform them of upcoming events, warn them of dangerous weather conditions or traffic hazards in their jurisdictions, or even just dispel the myth some try to perpetuate that police officers are always serious and out to “get you.” In that vein, social media has been a very successful public relations tool for departments.

Departments have also used social media pages as a form of cyber “tip line.” They can post photos of people who are being sought for crimes or who have missed court dates, along with contact information for someone to report the whereabouts of those people of interest.

But it’s not just in those limited ways that social media has developed into a useful tool for officers.

An example of one of social media’s uses to law enforcement comes from Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2017. The Lincoln Journal Star reported on the disappearance of a 24-year-old woman named Sydney Loofe. She had been reported missing, so investigators started combing through her social media accounts to find “breadcrumbs” that led to the discovery of her body.

A retired Lincoln police investigator, Larry Barksdale, told the Journal Star a digital footprint that gives police “breadcrumbs” is more than just tracking cell phones like you see on television or in movies.

“It also includes information from online apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, from credit card purchases or ATM visits, and from cameras along the state’s highways, outside gas stations or inside businesses,” Barksdale said, showing the importance of social media to the investigative process.

But it’s not just in the case of a missing person that social media can be a huge asset to officers seeking a suspect in a case. For example, many departments use Facebook profiles as a way to get information that would normally take many hours of legwork. A Facebook profile can give a ready list of friends of the suspect, allowing officers to create a list of persons of interest to contact in their search. The profile can show patterns of behavior that would give locations for surveillance. In some cases, people have even posted photos of their criminal activity that officers could then use in gaining search and arrest warrants.

And the information obtained from social media for warrants has stood up in court when challenged by defense attorneys and civil liberties groups. As an example, CNN quoted a federal judge in the case of a New York gang member who posted photographic evidence of his crimes on his Facebook page. A Facebook “friend” then allowed law enforcement to use their profile to read the gang member’s postings.

The judge ruled the gang member’s “legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his ‘friends’ because those ‘friends’ were free to use the information however they wanted—including sharing it with the government.”

A study from LexisNexus and PoliceOne showed that 81 percent of federal law enforcement used social media as an investigative tool, to go with 71 percent of state law enforcement and 82 of local departments. The highest rate of use was in the Northeast, with 89 percent of departments using social media as a tool.

With social media reaching a point of being almost vital for daily life in the minds of many Americans, these websites and apps will just continue to grow in importance as sources of information for police investigators.

This is part of a larger pattern of increased sophistication in communication techniques used by law enforcement. We at KOVA Corp. take pride in knowing that our public safety and dispatch software helps agencies take action quickly and improve their emergency preparedness. KOVA’s solutions can reduce liability and risk and reduce program costs, allowing more reach from available budgets and staff. For more information on how we can help your agency be its best, contact us today.

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Friend or Foe? Biometrics Can Stop Criminals, but Will the Constitution Suffer? https://kovacorp.com/friend-or-foe-biometrics-can-stop-criminals-but-will-the-constitution-suffer/ https://kovacorp.com/friend-or-foe-biometrics-can-stop-criminals-but-will-the-constitution-suffer/#respond Tue, 31 Jul 2018 08:16:46 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4110 Biometric technology is advancing at an almost exponential rate, and its impact on law enforcement is only going to grow. Despite the fact that biometric measures will allow police to help keep communities safer and perhaps even allow for cold cases to be solved and criminals brought to justice, there are many who believe these advancements amount to a violation of personal liberty. We’re going to examine biometric security measures and look at both sides of the question of their use and potential abuse. One of the biggest advances in biotechnology that can affect law enforcement is the use of fingerprint readers or face recognition to open devices such as computers and smartphones. When a suspect is arrested, many times police would like to search their electronic devices for any evidence that could be associated with their alleged criminal activity. However, this might be considered a violation of Fourth Amendment (search and seizure)  and Fifth Amendment (incrimination of oneself) rights, according to many activists. A federal judge ruled in 2016 that a suspect could be compelled to unlock an iPhone that was using fingerprint security, but a different federal judge in 2017 found that this did not meet the standard for compelling biometrics from a suspect. The issue surrounding compelled biometrics will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Another use of biometric advances comes in the area of facial recognition software and security cameras. The newest versions of biometric facial recognition software go far beyond just the face, to being able to analyze someone’s walking pattern, voice, and even just the iris of their eye. The subject of this use of biometric advancements in law enforcement has gained media attention lately with the provision of software by Amazon, called Rekognition, to law enforcement organizations. The system has been tested in major cities including Orlando, Florida, where it has received the support of the city’s mayor. “Facial recognition is already being used everywhere. I see people open their iPhones with it. When I come back in the country they do facial recognition for my Customs and Border Patrol entry,” Mayor Buddy Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel. “This is just using it in a little bit broader sense for crime prevention or crime … Continue reading

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Biometric technology is advancing at an almost exponential rate, and its impact on law enforcement is only going to grow. Despite the fact that biometric measures will allow police to help keep communities safer and perhaps even allow for cold cases to be solved and criminals brought to justice, there are many who believe these advancements amount to a violation of personal liberty. We’re going to examine biometric security measures and look at both sides of the question of their use and potential abuse.

One of the biggest advances in biotechnology that can affect law enforcement is the use of fingerprint readers or face recognition to open devices such as computers and smartphones. When a suspect is arrested, many times police would like to search their electronic devices for any evidence that could be associated with their alleged criminal activity. However, this might be considered a violation of Fourth Amendment (search and seizure)  and Fifth Amendment (incrimination of oneself) rights, according to many activists.

A federal judge ruled in 2016 that a suspect could be compelled to unlock an iPhone that was using fingerprint security, but a different federal judge in 2017 found that this did not meet the standard for compelling biometrics from a suspect. The issue surrounding compelled biometrics will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Another use of biometric advances comes in the area of facial recognition software and security cameras. The newest versions of biometric facial recognition software go far beyond just the face, to being able to analyze someone’s walking pattern, voice, and even just the iris of their eye.

The subject of this use of biometric advancements in law enforcement has gained media attention lately with the provision of software by Amazon, called Rekognition, to law enforcement organizations. The system has been tested in major cities including Orlando, Florida, where it has received the support of the city’s mayor.

“Facial recognition is already being used everywhere. I see people open their iPhones with it. When I come back in the country they do facial recognition for my Customs and Border Patrol entry,” Mayor Buddy Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel. “This is just using it in a little bit broader sense for crime prevention or crime apprehension. I think we’ll be able to balance that need. It’s not something where we’re going Big Brother and following everybody.”

Critics of the system, including the ACLU, say the use of facial recognition biometric systems on surveillance cameras around a city allow tracking of innocent civilians who have done nothing to stir the interest of local law enforcement. They fear that law enforcement officials could decide that someone is a “person of interest” in some crime and begin tracking them through these systems without warrant or oversight.

Another major concern among privacy activists is that the facial recognition software could be used to track a totally innocent person’s purchases and put it in a database that could cause them to be examined as suspects in crimes concerning which certain objects are discovered, even if that person has no connection at all to the incident in question. The activists feel that this would be an illegal search that violates an American’s Constitutional rights.

One thing that even the fiercest critics will admit is that biometrics can be a very valuable tool against domestic terrorism and acts of mass violence. Biometric measures were most recently used to identify the shooter at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland after he tried to avoid identification through manipulation of his fingerprints. The question seems to be finding that balance between biometric measures and personal freedoms.

No matter how far biometric advancements may go in helping law enforcement, departments will need the tools to share with each other the information that comes from biometrics. KOVA Corp. is your source for software that allows you to keep your department’s community and information smoothly flowing. Contact your KOVA representative today to find out how our systems can help you today and into the future.

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The Keys to Successful Communications in Law Enforcement https://kovacorp.com/the-keys-to-successful-communications-in-law-enforcement/ https://kovacorp.com/the-keys-to-successful-communications-in-law-enforcement/#respond Mon, 30 Jul 2018 10:44:29 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4107 In this day of social media, with everything police officers do at risk of being observed and recorded by the public, it’s more important than ever that law enforcement engage in effective communication techniques. The actions of officers in dealing with the public, with government officials, and even with each other can inadvertently escalate situations in which effective communication would alleviate the problem. The first step in having effective communications in a police department is to have an established process for communications when an incident takes place. This process should lay out step by step the actions officers should take if they find themselves in a situation where communication with superiors or the public is necessary beyond normal daily interaction. For example, if you have an officer at an incident who has gathered information that is vital to other officers responding to the situation, they should know who their immediate superior is in order to report the information. That superior, in turn, should have clear instructions about whether to contact the department chief, or the public information officer, or commanders of specialized units. The policy should be taught to every member of a department and also maintained in some kind of software version that records the acknowledgement of officers that they have seen and read the process. The second step is for leadership to be proactive in its development of communication plans and revision of them as community situations change. In many cases, it would be of benefit to a department to have a crisis communications team in place for major situations. This crisis communications team would have members with clearly defined roles that would be aimed to streamline communication of vital information during incidents such as mass shootings or natural disasters. The team should have a designated communications point person for internal communications as well as a single spokesperson who would be the only one authorized to deal with the public and media. That would allow your officers to know they can focus on the situation at hand without having to be pestered by reporters or nosy onlookers. It’s also essential to have a plan to set up press conferences and regular information releases so media outlets will back off from pressuring rank-and-file officers … Continue reading

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In this day of social media, with everything police officers do at risk of being observed and recorded by the public, it’s more important than ever that law enforcement engage in effective communication techniques. The actions of officers in dealing with the public, with government officials, and even with each other can inadvertently escalate situations in which effective communication would alleviate the problem.

The first step in having effective communications in a police department is to have an established process for communications when an incident takes place. This process should lay out step by step the actions officers should take if they find themselves in a situation where communication with superiors or the public is necessary beyond normal daily interaction.

For example, if you have an officer at an incident who has gathered information that is vital to other officers responding to the situation, they should know who their immediate superior is in order to report the information. That superior, in turn, should have clear instructions about whether to contact the department chief, or the public information officer, or commanders of specialized units.

The policy should be taught to every member of a department and also maintained in some kind of software version that records the acknowledgement of officers that they have seen and read the process.

The second step is for leadership to be proactive in its development of communication plans and revision of them as community situations change. In many cases, it would be of benefit to a department to have a crisis communications team in place for major situations.

This crisis communications team would have members with clearly defined roles that would be aimed to streamline communication of vital information during incidents such as mass shootings or natural disasters. The team should have a designated communications point person for internal communications as well as a single spokesperson who would be the only one authorized to deal with the public and media. That would allow your officers to know they can focus on the situation at hand without having to be pestered by reporters or nosy onlookers.

It’s also essential to have a plan to set up press conferences and regular information releases so media outlets will back off from pressuring rank-and-file officers for more information. If the media know they will receive regular updates from your designated spokesperson, it’s likely that that individual will be the only one who has to deal with the media.

Finally, make effective communication drills a part of your regular training process.  When you’re working through situations to prepare for the worst, include a focus on the communications between officers and command centers in your post-training debrief.  If officers know during training sessions that they are also going to be scored on their effectiveness in implementing your established communications plans, they are more likely to pay close attention to the details.

These are just a few suggestions toward making your department’s communication stronger and more effective, especially in times of high stress or community disruption.  Putting these items into practice can help you anticipate the unexpected and give you a solid base for future operations.

KOVA Corp. is dedicated to helping you establish solid communications between officers and departments. KOVA’s KEANS service could be invaluable in helping you in times of crisis. Contact your KOVA representative today to find out how you can use KEANS to work with these suggestions and make your department’s communications shine.

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Developing Trends in Law Enforcement: New Tech and Community-Oriented Policing https://kovacorp.com/developing-trends-in-law-enforcement-new-tech-and-community-oriented-policing/ https://kovacorp.com/developing-trends-in-law-enforcement-new-tech-and-community-oriented-policing/#respond Fri, 27 Jul 2018 09:19:12 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4104 When we try to take a look ahead into what the next decade could bring for law enforcement and public safety, there are multiple challenges that could mean significant changes to the way officers interact with their communities. One of the biggest ways to combat these challenges is a new focus on community-oriented policing. Community-oriented policing is not a new idea, and many departments have been successfully using it for years. However, with the recent media spotlight on any perceived misdeed by law enforcement officers as an excuse to disparage the men and women who are risking their lives to protect their communities, many people are being given negative impressions of their local police. That’s why the concepts of community-oriented policing are going to be a must for all departments, as every choice officers make could be put onto the internet and second-guessed by those who know nothing about law enforcement or the situation. Criminal justice researcher Rebecca L. Paynich of Curry College in Massachusetts calls for police to seek education, including higher education, because it will help them obtain better communication skills, be more tolerant with citizens who may approach an officer in a hostile or belligerent manner, comprehend different perspectives on civil rights issues, and find ways to avoid deadly force in confrontations. This focus on improved community-oriented policing can also be enhanced by key advancements in technology. Devices such as body cameras can allow police officials to show concerned community members and activists what actually happened in a situation if someone makes an accusation against an officer. Being able to bring the actual video and then have face-to-face dialogue with community leaders can be crucial in building relationships with segments of the community that may have a distrust of law enforcement. Another future advancement that will change the way officers are able to serve their communities is next-generation 911 systems that will allow residents to send text messages, photos, videos, and other information that will allow officers to have a better idea of the “situation on the ground” before arriving at the location of an emergency. Imagine the benefit to officers if they’re being called to a “shots fired” scenario and they’ve already been supplied with video from the scene that shows … Continue reading

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When we try to take a look ahead into what the next decade could bring for law enforcement and public safety, there are multiple challenges that could mean significant changes to the way officers interact with their communities.

One of the biggest ways to combat these challenges is a new focus on community-oriented policing. Community-oriented policing is not a new idea, and many departments have been successfully using it for years. However, with the recent media spotlight on any perceived misdeed by law enforcement officers as an excuse to disparage the men and women who are risking their lives to protect their communities, many people are being given negative impressions of their local police.

That’s why the concepts of community-oriented policing are going to be a must for all departments, as every choice officers make could be put onto the internet and second-guessed by those who know nothing about law enforcement or the situation.

Criminal justice researcher Rebecca L. Paynich of Curry College in Massachusetts calls for police to seek education, including higher education, because it will help them obtain better communication skills, be more tolerant with citizens who may approach an officer in a hostile or belligerent manner, comprehend different perspectives on civil rights issues, and find ways to avoid deadly force in confrontations.

This focus on improved community-oriented policing can also be enhanced by key advancements in technology. Devices such as body cameras can allow police officials to show concerned community members and activists what actually happened in a situation if someone makes an accusation against an officer. Being able to bring the actual video and then have face-to-face dialogue with community leaders can be crucial in building relationships with segments of the community that may have a distrust of law enforcement.

Another future advancement that will change the way officers are able to serve their communities is next-generation 911 systems that will allow residents to send text messages, photos, videos, and other information that will allow officers to have a better idea of the “situation on the ground” before arriving at the location of an emergency. Imagine the benefit to officers if they’re being called to a “shots fired” scenario and they’ve already been supplied with video from the scene that shows the incident, and pictures that show potential suspects and the general layout of the area. Knowing a safe way to approach the scene is much easier with those tools.

Along that line of knowing the scene before officers actually approach, advancements in robots and drones will also allow not only for increased intelligence about crises but also for provision of real-time data to officers in tense situations.

Other trends that are going to have an impact are the aging of the baby boomer population and the growth of cyber crime. The threat of cyber crime is exponentially growing in the U.S. and exceeded $1.3 billion in 2016. As the population continues to age and technology can be more difficult to grasp for older Americans, it opens the door to more avenues for cyber criminals. Departments will need to train their officers on how to deal with situations that may have a cyber component, when in the past similar situations wouldn’t have any involvement of something like a smartphone app.

An overall factor in the likely advances we’ve mentioned and others that we haven’t been able to include is the importance of strong communication. That’s where KOVA Corp. stands ready to help you and your department prepare for whatever changes you may find your department facing in the near and distant future. Contact KOVA at 1-800-204-5200 to find out how systems like the Verint Media Recorder for Public Safety can not only help you now but continue to develop to keep you ready for whatever is next.

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Mayberry it Isn’t: The Challenges of Rural Law Enforcement https://kovacorp.com/mayberry-it-isnt-the-challenges-of-rural-law-enforcement/ https://kovacorp.com/mayberry-it-isnt-the-challenges-of-rural-law-enforcement/#respond Wed, 25 Jul 2018 13:29:01 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4101 As we take a look at challenges facing rural law enforcement, we do have to make the disclaimer that no two rural police departments are the same, and while many will face similar challenges, not everything that is mentioned in this article necessarily applies to your local rural police force. Most people don’t know that according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly three out of every four police departments serve a community of fewer than 10,000 people and that these rural and small-town departments employ about 54 percent of the nation’s sworn officers as of 2013. About half of the departments have fewer than 10 officers. This means one of the biggest challenges that face law enforcement is covering their community when they have a small force of officers. Despite television shows that make rural areas appear to be idyllic crime-free areas, FBI crime statistics show that while crime rates are lower than in urban areas, they are on the increase when compared to previous years. In some cases, such as drug-related crimes, the crime rates between urban and rural areas can match. Because smaller areas produce less tax revenue, many rural police chiefs find they have to run a budget that is very strict in controlling overtime and other costs, making it difficult for departments to keep staffing at effective levels during times of high call volume. Recent statistics show that rural police make do with an average per-officer expenditure of about half that of their urban counterparts. In some rural departments, the budget restrictions are so intense that they have to pay for their own uniforms and weapons. This brings in a second problem for rural police departments: Officers who have more training and experience tend to gravitate toward departments that have more resources and can provide more safety equipment and safer situations. For example, many rural departments are forced to have officers patrol alone; this means backup in a dangerous situation could be too far away at critical moments. The rate at which rural police officers are killed in the line of duty is almost double that of the largest urban police departments. That risk to officers rises in some rural departments because of the size of their jurisdictions. For example, … Continue reading

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As we take a look at challenges facing rural law enforcement, we do have to make the disclaimer that no two rural police departments are the same, and while many will face similar challenges, not everything that is mentioned in this article necessarily applies to your local rural police force.

Most people don’t know that according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly three out of every four police departments serve a community of fewer than 10,000 people and that these rural and small-town departments employ about 54 percent of the nation’s sworn officers as of 2013. About half of the departments have fewer than 10 officers.

This means one of the biggest challenges that face law enforcement is covering their community when they have a small force of officers. Despite television shows that make rural areas appear to be idyllic crime-free areas, FBI crime statistics show that while crime rates are lower than in urban areas, they are on the increase when compared to previous years. In some cases, such as drug-related crimes, the crime rates between urban and rural areas can match.

Because smaller areas produce less tax revenue, many rural police chiefs find they have to run a budget that is very strict in controlling overtime and other costs, making it difficult for departments to keep staffing at effective levels during times of high call volume. Recent statistics show that rural police make do with an average per-officer expenditure of about half that of their urban counterparts. In some rural departments, the budget restrictions are so intense that they have to pay for their own uniforms and weapons.

This brings in a second problem for rural police departments: Officers who have more training and experience tend to gravitate toward departments that have more resources and can provide more safety equipment and safer situations. For example, many rural departments are forced to have officers patrol alone; this means backup in a dangerous situation could be too far away at critical moments. The rate at which rural police officers are killed in the line of duty is almost double that of the largest urban police departments.

That risk to officers rises in some rural departments because of the size of their jurisdictions. For example, some counties in Arizona are larger than the entire state of Hawaii. In those areas, communications can be a problem because cell towers are too far away to provide reliable coverage. Backup officers could be 25 or more miles away. If an officer is away for mandatory state training, it even further hampers the department and increases the risk to officers.

Another unique struggle for some rural departments is that because of the smaller population, the community will know the individual officers personally, know their families and the details of their private lives. Unlike in major cities where respect often is given because of the uniform, in rural communities people will know if the officer is a man or woman of integrity and honor and will give or withhold respect accordingly.

Now, this challenge can also be a benefit, as many rural residents report having a higher positive view of their local department’s officers than in urban areas. Studies show that in urban areas residents are more than three times more likely to believe that police are corrupt or are targeting a specific race.

These are just a few of the challenges that are facing rural law enforcement. Unfortunately, rural law enforcement has not been researched as intensely as its urban counterparts because of budgetary issues and other restrictions. With further study, more insight can be offered into the challenges that face our rural law enforcement officers and their commanders.

KOVA Corp. is focused on helping rural law enforcement in cost-effective ways. Contact your KOVA representative today to see how we can make your budget dollars go farther.

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New Tools for the Good Guys: 3D Printing in Law Enforcement https://kovacorp.com/new-tools-for-the-good-guys-3d-printing-in-law-enforcement/ https://kovacorp.com/new-tools-for-the-good-guys-3d-printing-in-law-enforcement/#respond Mon, 23 Jul 2018 12:58:31 +0000 http://kovacorp.com/?p=4098 Advances in technology for law enforcement have fascinated the public for years. That’s why shows like CSI were so successful: the public wants to believe the police have all the advanced tools necessary to bring criminals to justice even when the evidence is hard to find. While much of what’s seen on TV doesn’t much resemble the real thing, there is one area of technology that is becoming a reliable tool for law enforcement: 3D printing. One of the most effective uses of a 3D printer is the re-creation of crime scenes. A 3D printer can quickly and very accurately re-create the items at a crime scene, allowing investigators to have more accurate models for study. While the 3D printer can’t bring out every detail, because the models are plastic, it can create overall structures over which technicians can then place metal or other materials. These detailed models allow investigators to judge things like bullet trajectories, potential escape routes for criminals, or hiding places within the structure. The re-creation of crime scenes using a 3D printer is also valuable when dealing with a cold case or other circumstances in which the crime scene is no longer accessible to law enforcement. The 3D printing technology is advanced to the point that it can bring even the minutest detail to re-creations if clear photos of the scene are available to technicians. Officers can also use the models when testifying in court. This will allow them to explain more clearly to juries what happened at the crime scene. The models will allow jurors to review the crime scene throughout the trial and during deliberations. Another use of 3D printers is for re-creations of bodies in an attempt to solve cold cases.  For instance, a 3D printer can be used to re-create a victim’s skull from photographs or from the actual skull if it’s available, which would allow clay to be used for facial reconstruction of victims. That process was used by the sheriff’s office in Greene County, Ohio when they discovered the remains of a woman in the woods. Once they published the resulting reconstruction, they quickly obtained identification of the victim, and arrested suspects in the killing. It’s also possible to use the 3D printing of skulls … Continue reading

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Advances in technology for law enforcement have fascinated the public for years. That’s why shows like CSI were so successful: the public wants to believe the police have all the advanced tools necessary to bring criminals to justice even when the evidence is hard to find. While much of what’s seen on TV doesn’t much resemble the real thing, there is one area of technology that is becoming a reliable tool for law enforcement: 3D printing.

One of the most effective uses of a 3D printer is the re-creation of crime scenes. A 3D printer can quickly and very accurately re-create the items at a crime scene, allowing investigators to have more accurate models for study. While the 3D printer can’t bring out every detail, because the models are plastic, it can create overall structures over which technicians can then place metal or other materials.

These detailed models allow investigators to judge things like bullet trajectories, potential escape routes for criminals, or hiding places within the structure.

The re-creation of crime scenes using a 3D printer is also valuable when dealing with a cold case or other circumstances in which the crime scene is no longer accessible to law enforcement. The 3D printing technology is advanced to the point that it can bring even the minutest detail to re-creations if clear photos of the scene are available to technicians.

Officers can also use the models when testifying in court. This will allow them to explain more clearly to juries what happened at the crime scene. The models will allow jurors to review the crime scene throughout the trial and during deliberations.

Another use of 3D printers is for re-creations of bodies in an attempt to solve cold cases.  For instance, a 3D printer can be used to re-create a victim’s skull from photographs or from the actual skull if it’s available, which would allow clay to be used for facial reconstruction of victims. That process was used by the sheriff’s office in Greene County, Ohio when they discovered the remains of a woman in the woods. Once they published the resulting reconstruction, they quickly obtained identification of the victim, and arrested suspects in the killing.

It’s also possible to use the 3D printing of skulls or other bones to show the impact of weapons that led to injuries to the victim. Again, this technology can be used in the courtroom to allow juries to see the result of weapon impacts, and coroners can more easily explain cause of death or show how a particular injury would tie a defendant to the crime.

As the technology of 3D printing continues to advance, there are more applications that seem to be on the horizon. For example, a team of researchers at Michigan State University found that they could 3D-print hands that could bypass hand and fingerprint scanners. The printers used a flexible material which simulates human skin and contains metal particles in the outside coating. The hands were then worn like a glove to fool the scanners.

In the future, that technology could be used to unlock the smartphones of crime victims or suspects, or to bypass biometric security on a laptop or desktop computer. The technology needs better quality detail on fingerprints to make this happen, but the advances in 3D printing technology have been occurring so rapidly that this application seems imminent.

Companies that can take care of 3D printing services for law enforcement are already forming, and such companies can save time and money for individual departments.

So while there are things the public sees on crime shows that are still in the realm of fiction, it’s also apparent that actual advances in 3D printing technology are making the once-fictional completely factual.

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