Law enforcement agencies beef up cyber capabilities

Capital News Service
LANSING — What is to many people an all-in-one device for communication and entertainment is to law enforcement agencies a partner in criminal investigations. With smartphones containing GPS and time-stamped data, police can use them as an additional piece of the narrative when executing a search warrant, said Detective Lt. Jay Poupard, the assistant commander of the State Police Cyber Section. To keep up with demand for forensic services from local departments seeking help to access hidden smartphone data and train experts within those agencies, the State Police recently opened computer crime unit offices in Marquette and Coldwater, Poupard said. Those facilities will offer two programs for officers’ certification as a forensic examiner and as a high-tech investigator. “When we have that footprint and we have a physical place for detectives to go and learn while investigating these crimes, it makes the state a safer place,” Poupard said.

State Police reach out to diversify ranks

Capital News Service
LANSING – Lots of young people in Michigan want to be State Police troopers, but almost all of them are white men. The State Police, like law enforcement agencies across the country, are struggling to recruit minorities into their ranks. “The minority population, many of them, it’s not in their culture to become a police officer,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the State Police. “When you look out at hiring, I would say that actually we’re blessed that we still get a lot of candidates, but we want to make sure that our workforce is diverse, too.”

Officials are working to broaden their appeal by becoming more visible to young people with diverse backgrounds.

State Police aviators to break records, may expand north

Capital News Service
LANSING – The State Police’s team of helicopter pilots is set to break personal records in flight hours and hopes to move some of its copters to the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula. “This year we’re going to be closing in on 1,770 hours, which is a lot,” said Lt. Christopher Bush, commander of the aviation unit in the department’s Special Operations Division. The team flew about 1,500 hours in 2012 and 1,265 in 2011. The aviation unit provides a number of services to counties and cities, including search and rescues, fly-overs for pot fields, traffic control and criminal pursuits. The unit’s four pilots operate three aircraft: Bell 430 and Bell LongRanger III helicopters, as well as a fixed-wing Cessna 182, which is mainly used for transporting special forces teams like bomb squads to remote areas.

False alarms rile police agencies

Capital News Service
LANSING – Flash. Veins of white light spread through the sky. Crackle. A blast of 100 to 120 decibels assault your ears. But then something happens:
The pitter-patter of rain before the next lightning strike is interrupted: Parked cars outside wail as the thunderclap triggers their alarm systems.
But the problem goes beyond annoying noise, law enforcement officials say.

Meth labs pop back up after police raids

Capital News Service
LANSING – Meth labs are a growing and dangerous problem in Michigan, with more than 400 cases tallied by the State Police this year. “The incidents we have numbers for are just ones that the State Police have handled, so the number could be much higher,” Shanon Banner, public affairs manager for the  State Police, said. “These incidents include busting a meth lab, finding a vacant lab, finding containers used to store or create the drug and even finding dumpsites.”
Meth is a synthetic stimulant created from pseudoephedrine and a number of toxic chemicals that affects the central nervous system through smoking, snorting, injecting or swallowing the drug. Meth was first discovered in Michigan in 1996 and has been an escalating problem since then, Banner said. “As soon we try and get it in control, another spike will happen and more cases will appear.”
Detective Sgt.

New technologies help police ID crooks

Capital News Service
LANSING — Be careful. If you have a criminal record, are pulled over by police and happen not to have a driver’s license, you might be identified in a minute through a mobile fingerprint device. And someday your body odor and voice may be near-immediate give-aways of your true identity. So called biometric technology, including fingerprint recognition, is not something new since it’s been used since the 1980s. But the 1-1/2-year old Biometrics and Identification Division of the State Police makes Michigan the first state to have a separate office working on criminal justice biometrics.

State police, universities work to increase safety

Capital News Service
LANSING – The State Police is working with several universities on research and training programs such as criminal identification technology, traffic safety and homicide investigation. For example, through one project, State Police would be able to match a suspect’s name, hometown and criminal history from its database to a sketch provided by a witness or even the position of a suspect’s tattoo. Anil Jain, a professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, said the recognition system is able to match fingerprints, images and videos from a low-quality camera, DNA and tattoos. “This has not been done before,” he said. “We would not able to design it without cooperating with the State Police.”
Jain said the State Police advises his team and provides records of physical characteristics for the database.

Troopers bolster local police in high-crime communities

Capital News Service
LANSING – The State Police is helping the downsized Inkster Police Department by providing increased patrols to reduce violent crime, in addition to its comprehensive cooperation effort in Detroit and three other major cities. Michael Canty of the Inkster City Council said the council passed a plan to request help for the police department. “I contacted the governor personally and his office said the state would support Inkster in any way they could,” Canty said. Two troopers were assigned indefinitely to augment the city department, he said. State Police Capt. Monica Yesh said the city’s main problem is not enough officers although Inskter’s murder and violent crime rate increased throughout 2012.