Corrections Turns over a New LEAF: Correctional Agencies Receive Assistance from the Law Enforcement Analysis Facility

By Smith, Megan J. | Corrections Today, October 2001 | Go to article overview

Corrections Turns over a New LEAF: Correctional Agencies Receive Assistance from the Law Enforcement Analysis Facility


Smith, Megan J., Corrections Today


Video surveillance and audio monitoring can be a difficult process. Many times, tapes are too fuzzy or inaudible to use and are thrown away. Due to this growing problem, correctional agencies have been turning to the Law Enforcement Analysis Facility (LEAF) at the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-Northeast Region (NLECTC-NE).

Established by the National Institute of Justice office of Science and Technology (OS&T) in 1996 and located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, N.Y., LEAF operates in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/IF) to demonstrate commercially available and emerging technologies to correctional and law enforcement agencies. LEAF engineers demonstrate how cutting-edge Air Force technologies can be modified to benefit criminal justice by using investigative and criminal data from correctional and law enforcement agencies. Agencies can submit tapes to the facility for audio and video enhancement, one of the many areas in which LEAF provides technology demonstrations.

LEAF engineers not only receive technological upgrades and modifications from the lab, but they also participate in the research and development of these technologies, helping to ensure their applicability to corrections and law enforcement. LEAF personnel have completed 600-plus free demonstrations to various correctional and law enforcement organizations, including local, state and federal agencies. LEAF benefits agencies by providing technology demonstrations in aiding investigations, monitoring communications, and facility safety and management.

Aiding Investigations

LEAF shows agencies technological investigation aids and, at the same time, teaches agencies which technologies are available and how to access and use them. Technologies include video enhancement, time line analysis software and speaker recognition.

Video Enhancement. Although initially developed to demonstrate audio technology, LEAF quickly learned that video assistance was needed just as much as audio assistance. Thus began video enhancement demonstrations as well, using commercially available technology. Since that time, LEAF has established working agreements with the AFRL Imaging Lab and the FBI's Forensic Audio/Video Analysis Unit to build a robust video enhancement capability.

LEAF also is involved in an imaging technologies evaluation at the FBI's request to match hardware and software performance to FBI facility requirements. Operating as an honest broker, LEAF engineers can leverage the information gained by this study to offer more experience and technology to the correctional and law enforcement agencies they serve.

Time Line Analysis System.

Many problems that arise in corrections not only are isolated incidents, but systemic issues. When dealing with day-to-day operations, it is easy to overlook that fact. Finding the patterns in hundreds of incidents is not something many can do in their heads. It helps to somehow visualize the events laid out in sequence. The Web-Based Time Line Analysis System (WEBTAS) does just that.

WEBTAS renders events as graphic icons to aid in visualizing events and finding patterns. This technology was developed by AFRL/IF to analyze sensor intelligence regarding enemy aircraft and ground troops. LEAF is using WEBTAS to aid agencies in graphically plotting criminal events depicting visual and statistical data on time lines, graphs, tables and maps. WEBTAS is more than a management tool for investigative data or a visual aid to crime solving and courtroom presentations. WEBTAS also can build an event/behavior model based on past entries to predict future probabilities of occurrence. It can manage and collect intelligence from individuals, gangs or groups operating within prisons. Inmate activity then can be modeled to predict possible occurrences of crimes from past behaviors. …

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Corrections Turns over a New LEAF: Correctional Agencies Receive Assistance from the Law Enforcement Analysis Facility
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