Category Archives: Technology

DNA Produces Facial Images

I found this equal parts cool and creepy.  Parabon NanoLabs has developed a process called Snapshot that takes a DNA sample and extrapolates it into physical traits of the contributor.  The traits include sex, genetic ancestry, skin color, hair color, eye color, freckling, and–gulp–facial morphology.  A dab of blood or strand of hair can lead to a virtual mugshot of the person.  Yikes. Parabon, based in Reston, VA, uses DNA phenotyping to read biomarkers and make predictions about physical appearance.  This process involves DNA data mining and data modeling to compare the genetic variants of the unknown subject against known DNA patterns. With funding from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction … Continue reading

Posted in Detectives, Technology | 2 Comments

RAMP–Rapid Access Magazine Pod Review

When I cruise the vendors’ displays at SWAT Round-Up International, I look for new products.  About three-quarters of the way down the north aisle, I saw something that made me pause:  an AR-15 mag pouch that had the magazine…upside down.  Well, I had to stop and chat with the folks at CEO Doug Mullen is the inventor of the RAMP, or Rapid Access Magazine Pod.  Doug’s military experience and work as a civilian defense contractor led him to ask, “Why are we still carrying rifle magazines the same way we did in WWI?”  In examining the ergonomics of a magazine change, Doug figured out something innovative. The patent pending … Continue reading

Posted in Firearms, Protective Armor, Street, SWAT, Technology | Leave a comment

The Costs of Police Body Cameras

What would happen if police departments declined to employ body cameras because of expense?  Not the cost of buying the actual equipment, but the cost of complying with public record requests.  An unforeseen result of Sunshine Laws can potentially immobilize state and municipal governments. Modern think is that officer-mounted cameras will prevent corruption and misconduct and, conversely, may also exonerate innocent cops.  If every police-to-citizen interaction is recorded, then nothing will be left unproven.  Problem solved!  Perhaps. An open public records request in Washington state may be a cautionary tale as to how future deployment of body cameras may cause their own demise.  A citizen in Poulsbo, WA made a … Continue reading

Posted in Misc., Technology | 4 Comments

Taurus Curve Gets Spanked by Gun Pundits Everywhere

You may have seen this on the Internet recently.  Taurus USA took the popular lightweight polymer .380 ACP carry pistol in a different direction by introducing “contour” to this familiar formula.  The electronic media descended upon the new Taurus Curve .380 autopistol and treated it like Theseus did the Cretan Bull at Marathon:  One bovine D.O.A. Keyboard pundits are calling this gun a publicity stunt, not a serious self defense firearm.  If you trawl the gunblogs, you will find both sarcasm and derision for this design. From the Curve’s wonky shape to a total lack of iron sights to its holster-less clip of death, not much good is being recorded … Continue reading

Posted in Concealed Carry, Firearms, Technology | Tagged | 2 Comments

Coolest Vehicle at SWAT Round-Up 2014

As I was leaving the range at SWAT Round-Up International today, I saw this fully functional vintage operator delivery vehicle, a 1969 Dodge Barracuda.  It wore its original tactical OD green and black colors.  In its day, the convertible top allowed for high speed deployment of the “Special Weapons And Tactics” officers as the ‘Cuda roared up to the scene in a cloud of acrid, vision-obscuring tire smoke. At a venue where today’s armored vehicles are coated in metric tons of plate steel, yards of ballistic glass, and gallons of flat black paint, this vehicle stood out as an old school witness to how The Fuzz used to show up … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, SWAT, Technology | Tagged | 1 Comment

New ActivEdge Card Reader Defeats Skimmers

Diebold Inc.’s new ActivEdge™ Secure Card Reader is one attempt to stop identity theft at the terminal.  ActivEdge reads the credit/debit card via an internal motorized head that moves along the top edge of the card, which is inserted lengthwise in.  Diebold says the ActivEdge will: • Prevent External Skimming devices from reading card data by requiring long-edge card insertion.• Mitigate Internal Skimming through modification of the card reader with an encrypting read head.• Eliminate capture and tracking of card data via USB Sniffing by encrypting communication to the CPU.• Deter full Card Reader Substitution by pairing each ActivEdge™ card reader to a specific terminal. ActivEdge prevents the card being scanned during its … Continue reading

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New Aimpoint Carbine Optic for your AR-15

Aimpoint, Inc. is introducing a carbine-specific red dot optic for the modern sporting rifle, a.k.a. the AR-15.  Unlike some optics, this one co-witnesses with your AR’s iron sights for reliable performance.  I have my own (different brand) optic set up this way on my personal rifle.  Batteries be damned! The price point of the Aimpoint ACO is very tempting.  Details are below. Randall Chantilly, VA, October 20, 2014 – Aimpoint, the originator and worldwide leader in electronic red dot sighting technology, has announced the introduction of a new sight designed specifically for modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15. This new product, known as the Aimpoint Carbine Optic (ACO), expands … Continue reading

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New FLIR One Thermal Imager

FLIR Systems, Inc. is producing a new low-cost thermal imaging system that mates to an iPhone 5 or 5s and lets the user view heat signatures through the cell phone’s display.  The new device is called FLIR One and will sell for about $350 (iPhone not included). I mention this product, not because I see it as a cutting edge law enforcement tool, but because I see this as a precursor to some exciting technology coming to a cop shop near you.  I predict cost-effective thermal imaging will make infrared night vision obsolete as an LE search tool. A few SHOT Shows ago, I previewed FLIR’s latest handheld thermal units–the … Continue reading

Posted in Officer Safety, Technology | Tagged | 4 Comments

Marion County Sheriff Employs Crime Kiosks

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has unveiled a new method for distributing criminal information to the community in the form of stand-alone kiosks.  Modernizing a concept used by Sheriff Chris Blair decades ago when he was a detective, a trio of video screens mounted in a secure housing shows crime alerts, Amber and Silver alerts, missing persons, sexual predators, and public service announcements to citizens within minutes of their posting. The kiosks are connected to the Internet and information is uploaded to them by crime analysts.  In addition to general crime trends, bulletins can be surgically sent to selected kiosks where it is determined the criminals or threats are specific … Continue reading

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Flashlight Terminology by Elzetta Tactical Lights

Dave Barnett from Elzetta Tactical Lighting explains some of the light output terminology you might use to decide whether or not to buy a flashlight for duty use.  Dave has informed and entertained us in their SHOT Show booth for several years.  They make solid lights and mounts here in the USA.  Check out their products. Randall

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RF Safe-Stop System to End Vehicle Pursuits?

e2v technologies is a British company which is diversified into the defense, space, medical, industrial, civil aeronautics, and security industries.  They have a multitude of products that revolve around hi-reliability semi-conductors, lasers, radars, and the like.  In their security and rescue division is the RF Safe-Stop System. The system uses a proprietary radio frequency emission to “confuse” the electronics of a car or ship thus bringing it to a halt.  e2v says they have tested the RF Safe-Stop in low speed applications.  Further testing is in the works.  A prototype RF Safe-Stop is shown below  in the bed of a pickup.

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TASER-proof Clothing Project has webbed up a “TASER-proof” clothing project.  The suggested mod is to use carbon-fiber strips in garments to make them “100% taserproof.”  By inserting iron-on CF tape strips between layers of cloth, the space-aged material will allegedly conduct electrical energy from a TASER or stun gun away from the clothing’s wearer and into the  CF strips to be dispersed without result.  Skin penetration by the probes is supposedly rendered ineffective as well. Gee, it is too bad that modern law enforcement officers do not train to transition to other less lethal options when their CEW’s are ineffective.  Oh, wait a minute…  We do!  This geek-inspired Hackaday Internet invention is … Continue reading

Posted in Officer Safety, Tactics, Taser, Technology | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

ELSA Mobile Language Translation

ELSA is a mobile language translation system designed for first responders, government agencies, health care, and financial services among the end users.  Live translators interact with the user and client.  This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  My department recently received two test and evaluation devices from RTT Mobile Interpretation, the developer. An ELSA device is a simple black box that is made to be clipped to the belt of the user.  With the push of a button, live translators are available over a wireless network to assist with translating a mind boggling 180 different languages and dialects.  Four small microphones on the top of … Continue reading

Posted in Street, Technology | 3 Comments

FHP Trooper Files Lawsuit for Misuse of DAVID

How many times does this have to be repeated to us?  DAVID is for official use only.  Period.  Period, period.  The latest shenanigans that involve the inappropriate access of Florida’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database is articulated in a lawsuit filed by Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Jane Watts.  Watts is suing 88 law enforcement officers, and the 25 police agencies where they are employed, for a breach of the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994. Following Trooper Watts’ 2011 high speed pursuit of Miami Officer Fausto Lopez, in which Watts ordered Lopez out of his marked police car at gunpoint and arrested him for reckless driving, Watts said … Continue reading

Posted in Misc., Technology | Tagged | 1 Comment

StealthSCOPE by Zistos Video Systems

I spent some quality time with Robert Levine and Michael Sterflinger at the Zistos Video Systems SHOT Show 2014 booth.  I was not just impressed with their Made in the USA (Holbrook, NY) products, but with Zistos’ extremely strong customer service attitude.  I also got to play with one of their cool new toys—the StealthSCOPE. The StealthSCOPE is a tactical tool that has a small articulating camera head that can be maneuvered into tough, tight spaces for covert video surveillance.  I took photos of its sibling, the ExplorerSCOPE.  The “wand” of these scopes moves in four directions to be able to place the camera in the desired orientation. A 980 … Continue reading

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