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Police Officer’s Bodycams – Researching Use of Force

Criminal justice experts at Washington State University (WSU) are developing innovative technology to improve police–community relations, officer training and public safety.

David MakinResearchers in the new Complex Social Interaction (CSI) laboratory at WSU are using body-worn cameras and advanced scientific tools and techniques—such as data analytics, biometrics and machine learning—to examine the complex factors that shape interactions between police and community members. The interdisciplinary, intercollegiate research team is led by David Makin, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology.

It is the first to explore police officer decision-making and interpersonal interaction by examining data from body-worn cameras, Makin said. “This cutting-edge research and technology will provide revolutionary insight into police practice as well as real-world applications for improving organizations and decision-making at the individual level.”

The team is using the information to design algorithms and new software to help public safety agencies improve police-community relations, reduce conflict, cost and liability, and enhance the health and well-being of law officers and their communities, Makin said.

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Israeli Homeland Security

Biometric Update

WSU News

Pullman Arts Commission to seek funds to build WSU-designed bus stop

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Pullman City Council authorized—via head-nods—the Pullman Arts Commission to move forward with fundraising for a new bus stop designed in part by members of the WSU Department of Fine Arts.

The bus stop is to be built in front of Safeway grocery store and designed by the WSU Collaborative, a team of WSU art, architecture, design and engineering students and professor Ayad Rahmani.

In April, the commission chose the “Magnificent M” as its favorite design out of four presented by WSU Collaborative.

Now called Rolling Hills, the modified design shows previously sharp points of the “M” have been softened to mimic the hilly Palouse landscape. The design has also been modified to incorporate bike parking and add an anti-graffiti clear coat for wood and metal parts of the structure.

The project was originally estimated to cost $2,500. With the modifications, that estimation jumped to $5,000.

WSU is donating its time and manufacturing resources, the commission’s interim chair, Joanna Bailey, told the council. Crowd-sourced fundraising may also be utilized.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News (login required)

A new IMS breathalyzer for marijuana

Herb Hill
Herb Hill

A team of researchers at Washington State University’s Department of Chemistry has shed new light on the challenges surrounding the growing marijuana industry.

Prof. Herbert Hill and his team of researchers at the WSU Department of Chemistry have come up with a novel approach to measure drugs via breath with ion mobility spectrometry. IMS is currently used for explosives detection at airports and for chemical warfare detection. So Hill and his team decided to extend it further for illicit drug detection.

“I’m an ion mobility spectrometry person, that’s what I do and have been doing for many years,” Hill told R&D Magazine. “We began to focus primarily on THC, although the potential is for this technology to be used for many different kinds of drugs.”

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R&D Magazine

WSU online criminal justice degree ranks best in nation

WSU’s online criminal justice bachelor’s degree in the College of Arts and Sciences is the best nonprofit program in the nation, according to a new ranking by Criminal Justice Degree Online.

The group emphasized its thorough methodology:

“To reach number one, a program had to pass a gauntlet of tests: be a part of a university with stellar graduation and retention rates, provide more department resources than others, amaze us with useful answers to our survey and even answer more questions over the phone. WSU did it all.”

The group praised the faculty’s strong professional affiliations and found that the criminal justice program had the nation’s ninth highest graduation rate and 12th highest retention rate, as well as high placement in rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Forbes and Washington Monthly.

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WSU professor, Spokane Police featured in CNN segment on crisis intervention research

Bryan Vila
Bryan Vila

WSU professor of criminal justice Bryan Vila and the Spokane Police Department are featured in a CNN program for their collaboration on research into the physical and emotional responses of law enforcement in crisis situations.

As part of its “AC360” program hosted by Anderson Cooper, reporter Gary Tuchman visited a police confrontations lab run by students at WSU Spokane. Volunteers, including members of the Spokane Police Department, are placed in a virtual reality situation involving dramatizations of real-life confrontations, and their heart rate, brain waves and other vital signs are monitored as they make decisions about use of force.

Find out more and watch the program segment online