Authoritative resources: Four technology centers of excellence

     Focusing on four different areas of technology, the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP) began four technology-based centers of excellence (COE). Working within the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center...

     IBG has extensive hands-on experience with a range of biometric hardware and software solutions including fingerprint, AFIS, face recognition, hand geometry, iris recognition, multimodal systems and emerging biometrics.

     Raj Nanavati, director of the Sensors, Surveillance and Biometric COE, says: "We're very excited to further the mission of state and local practitioners. There's a lot of good technology in the research and development stages [and] being used at Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. It's an exciting opportunity for us to get technology to police departments, jails, prisons and courthouses and provide support so they can test and evaluate these products and get an understanding of how these technologies work."

     The Sensors, Surveillance, and Biometric COE will also host and support the sensors and surveillance, the biometrics technology working groups and the Aviation Technology Focus Group.

High-tech thoughts

     To law enforcement agencies looking at new technology on the market today, Nanavati advises, "Define what your requirements are and understand what your goals would be for the technology."

     Then, he says, it's helpful if an agency can do some research to understand the technology at hand.

     NLECTC's regional centers can provide generalized technology assistance and the COEs provide specialized information.

     When practitioners have a very specific issue, for example, Communications COE Chief of Staff Carrie Supko says, "We may talk them through over the phone and provide advice for them." Specialized help also can be provided on site.

     The centers are assisting the boarder law enforcement and corrections communities through technical working groups that bring users/practitioners together to identify, review and prioritize requirements to fill operating capability gaps.

     Operational evaluations of technology in the field, and in-house evaluations of different products and technologies in labs will be conducted by the centers.

     With these centers, "[law enforcement agencies] now have access to a capability to assist them in making important and intelligent procurement decisions," says Mazzara.

     Research and development information from the centers is being made available through publications, technical working group meetings and conferences.

     With the introduction of new devices, tools or weapons into the field, user guides will be produced and the centers of excellence will assist on a national level with the initial deployment.

     "In the long run, a wise investment in appropriate technologies will save time and money and help close cases," Lothridge says.

     The centers look at those technologies and will partner with the people who will be the first adopters of technology to pave the way for the second adopters.

     With tried and tested technology, Lothridge says, "We're trying to make [officers] work smarter so they don't have to work as hard."

     Editor's Note: NLECTC regional centers are located in Rome, New York, Anchorage, Alaska, Denver, Colorado, North Charleston, South Carolina, and El Segundo, California. Further information on the NLECTC and geographic coverage of its regional centers can be found at

     Rebecca Kanable is a freelance writer and editor specializing in law enforcement topics. She can be reached at

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