El Paso police, Sandia work together on high-tech law enforcement
"El Paso Crime Scene Investigations" may not have the glitter of "CSI: Miami ," but it has some technology and an approach to technology that many in law enforcement very much admire. Through the help of the Border Research and Technology Center (BRTC) — operated by DOE's Sandia National Laboratories from offices in San Diego — and some strong local initiative, that department in a city of 600,000 citizens is providing national leadership.
"In the area of teleforensics, the El Paso Police Department is the pathfinding agency," says Sandia's Chris Aldridge, who is BRTC director. Aldridge and the center, with National Institute of Justice funding, helped the El Paso department get started with some equipment in 1999. From there, Commander Michael Czerwinsky and his team have taken the project to new levels.
"Our old equipment was bulky, hard to hide, costly, and expensive to maintain," says Sgt. Darwin Armitage, who worked with Sandia's Richard Sparks to put the so-called "Investigators Toolkit" into use. "The new equipment had all the pieces — time-and-date stamps, recording units, cameras, transmitters; and everything was off the shelf," he said.
The vice team put the equipment to work with a bang. In its first test, a detective transmitted a conversation at a bar with a tiny camera hidden in a pager, while Armitage sat in the lobby nearby and watched and recorded the entire transaction for evidence using a briefcase full of equipment, including a small monitor.
Submitted by DOE's Sandia National Laboratories
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