Tag Archives | Law Enforcement

Handcuffs Of The Future Administer Shocks And Drugs To The Detained

CNET reports on handcuffs that practically do the police’s work for them:

A patent for next-generation handcuffs offers a future in which the detained can be zapped directly from their restraints, and even injected with a medication, sedative, irritant, paralytic, or other fine substance. The patent is called “Apparatus and System For Augmented Detainee Restraint” and is the brainchild of Scottsdale Inventions.

The augmentations it offers are truly quite something. The handcuffs are “configured to administer electrical shocks when certain predetermined conditions occur.” These shocks might be “activated by internal control systems or by external controllers that transmit activation signals to the restraining device.”

These handcuffs might also be used to inject the detained with a substance in the form of “a liquid, a gas, a dye, an irritant, a medication, a sedative, a chemical restraint, a paralytic, a medication prescribed to the detainee, and combinations thereof.” Yes, you really did read the word “paralytic.”

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California Law Enforcement Battles Controvery Over Move To Use Drones

Oakland, a hotbed of political activism, may serve as the model city for the deployment of police spy drones, Ars Technica reports:

Since Congress passed legislation in February ordering the FAA to fast-track the approval of unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones) for use by law enforcement agencies, police and sheriff departments across the country have been scrambling to purchase the smaller, unarmed cousins of the Predator and Reaper drones which carry out daily sorties over Afghanistan.

California’s Alameda County (which encompasses Berkeley and Oakland) has become one of the central battlegrounds over the introduction of drones to domestic police work. Earlier this year, County Sheriff Gregory Ahern raised the hackles of local civil libertarians by declaring his intention to purchase a drone to assist with “emergency response.”

Were Alameda County to purchase a drone, it would set a precedent in California, which has long been an innovator in law enforcement tactics: from SWAT teams (pioneered in Delano and Los Angeles) to anti-gang tactics such as civil injunctions.

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Researchers Developing Robotic Police Officers

With municipalities desperate to reduce budgets, use of remotely-controlled robots for some law enforcement duties is an inevitability. CNET reports:

Researchers at Florida International University’s Discovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being [remotely] controlled by disabled police officers.

Students and professors at the Discovery Lab have been working with the two-wheeled, military-grade IHMC robots built under a $2 million DARPA initiative. The patrol bot prototype, which will have two-way video and audio, will be based on them.

They would work as patrol officers, operating wheeled telepresence robots and doing everything from responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities. Remote-controlled robots are already used in military, medical, and business applications, and the lab believes law enforcement is a natural next step.

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Local Cops Now Paid With Federal Money To Troll IRC

Picture: Liam Cooke, Flickr (CC)

In an era where the Rand Corporation claims links between IP theft and terrorist activity (ignoring a 2011 major international study that found “‘no evidence’ of systematic links between piracy and serious organized crime”), your tax dollars are being used to put cops in chat rooms to track down the degenerate digerati.

Via  at Ars Technica:

In a speech before an assembled crowd of law enforcement officials in Maryland this week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the winners of a new federal grant that will send hundreds of thousands of dollars to 13 agencies in an effort to step up enforcement of copyright and trademark laws.

The Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Grant Award, which became available in January 2012, was given to a wide variety of local law enforcement groups, including the City of Austin, the City of Orlando, the County of Sacramento, the Virginia State Police, and most oddly, the City of Central Point, Oregon (population: 13,000).

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Time for Dogmatists to Put their Cards on the Table.

Adelaide Now has an interesting, and in my opinion misjudged, editorial piece on Tarot cards at the moment:

A SURPRISINGLY honest tarot reader at “Psychic Tarot Insights” has tried to locate Jill Meagher.
Here’s the surprisingly honest (if understated) bit: “Tarot is not considered 100 per cent accurate by law and I cannot claim to solve issues, only show what I have in the cards.”

They go on to say: “Something must have happened quickly; that there was a male person, stronger than her; there might be a car, something, something, rural area, something, something, eight weeks, something, something, sex and weapons and southeast and someone tall and strong. And a horse. Maybe a church. A dog.”

Other possible links are: “Deserts, woods, obscure valleys, caves, dens, holes, mountains, churchyards, ruined buildings, coalmines, muddy places, wells, houses, offices.

“Perhaps some of this information will help, can’t be sure until information comes in to verify it,” they conclude.

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Oakland’s Law Enforcement Economy

A lot of thought is devoted to the prison-industrial complex, but what about the political economy of police and law enforcement? Pueblo Lands on the Oakland Police Department:

Oakland’s position within the Bay Area’s police and law enforcement economy is characterized by extraction. Oakland spends roughly 40 percent of its general fund budget on cops. The surrounding majority white and middle class suburban cities of the East Bay benefit from Oakland’s massive spending on cops via the redistribution of tax dollars from Oakland to other municipalities.

Most of Oakland’s cops don’t live in the city, meaning that their salaries and other compensation are spent on mortgages, consumer purchases, healthcare, and other forms of taxed consumption where they live. Thus, by our rough calculations, based on data provided by OPD and assembled from a database of public employee pay for 2010, at least $126 million left the city in 2010 in the form of officer compensation.

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The Science and Politics of Mind-Altering Drugs

Picture: Chris Breikss (CC)

British psychiatrist David Nutt specializes in neuropsychopharmacology, the research of drugs that affect the brain. In his recent interview with The Guardian’s Science Weekly Podcast, he discusses the science and politics of mind-altering substances. The neuroscience blog MindHacks refers to it as “essential listening” and “possibly one of the most sensible discussions of drugs and drug harms you are likely to hear in a long time.”

Prof. Nutt is quite well-known in the UK – largely due to being fired by the Government from their drugs advisory panel for pointing out in a scientific paper that the health risks of taking ecstasy are about equivalent to going horse riding.

Rather than doing the usual dishonest apology required of government advisors where they ask forgiveness for ‘unintentionally misleading the public’ away from a convenient collective illusion, he decided to take the government to task about their disingenuous drug policy.

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White Maryland Police Officer Caught on Video Beating Handcuffed Black Man

Image credit Vector Portal

Via Raw Story:

UPDATE: Video embed was disabled. Watch the video at NBC Washington.

A couple of Maryland police officers have been caught on video using the buddy system to beat a helpless, handcuffed suspect. The police department has launched an internal investigation. Any guesses on the outcome?

A police officer in Laurel, Maryland is under investigation after a witness came forward with video of him repeatedly striking a handcuffed man in the head.

Craig Reddix provided NBC Washington with video he shot outside the Laurel Station Bar and Grill, where police were responding to reports of a fight on Sunday.

The video shows two white officers escorting a handcuffed African-American man. One officer can be seen holding the suspect’s arms while the other strikes his head at least three times. It’s wasn’t clear from the video if the officer stuck the man with an open or closed hand.

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Indian Police Still Using Truth Serum

Critics say the results are more truth-y than truthful. The Guardian writes:

It is the sort of scene that belongs in a film noir, not a 21st-century democracy: an uncooperative suspect being injected with a dose of “truth serum” in an attempt to elicit a confession. But some detectives in India still swear by so-called narcoanalysis despite India’s highest court ruling that it was not only unreliable but also “cruel, inhuman and degrading”.

The technique is back in the news after officers from India’s Central Bureau of Investigation asked a judge for permission to administer sodium pentothal to a high-profile Indian politician and his financial adviser embroiled in a corruption case.

There are no official figures for the number of suspects who have been subjected to narcoanalysis, but VH Patel, deputy director at the Directorate of Forensic Sciences in Gujarat, western India, [said] he had personally conducted narcoanalysis in nearly 100 cases.

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Calling Out The Police For Hiding Their Nameplates

The California Penal Code states that uniformed police officers must wear "a badge, nameplate, or other device which bears clearly...the identification number or name of the officer". Feel free to remind the police of this when they forget:
Officer Hargraves of the Oakland Police Department is called out by a citizen journalist for covering his name tag with a strip of black electrical tape. Police lieutenant Hu removes the tape while the camera rolls. The issue of "anonymous police" remains a serious problem. This is especially true for "riot police" who wear dark anonymous uniforms while firing rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and flash-bang grenades into the crowd.
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