LAN Notice – Possible Virus

Just got a report of some computer herpes showing up after the LAN. Make sure to scan your machines and run anti-virus if you aren’t already. Microsoft Security Essentials does a good job, and is free as long as you’re running a legit version of Windows (which you all are, aren’t you?)

Just FYI, neither of my machines (Win7 and Server 2K8) showed any viruses, and the only report so far has been from an XP machine.

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 6

Week 6 covered the K-9 unit and TACT (SWAT) unit.

The K-9 unit currently has 4 dogs – Chico, Zeke, Arras, and Baron. All 4 are German Shepards, except for Arras, who is 1/2 Malinois. The dogs range in age from 3 to 5 1/2, and in price from $4500 to $9000. Dogs primarily come from European countries, since the bloodline of German Shepards in the US isn’t pure enough in most cases. The K-9 unit has been in service with Wyoming since 1989. In 2008, the unit was activated 193 times, primarily to track people or search for drugs.

TACT (Tactical Arrest & Confrontation Team) is Wyoming’s version of SWAT. It was established in 1974 to assist in serving high-risk arrest warrants, and dealing with hostage situations. Weapons vary by officer, currently offered are the M-4, the MP-5, and the Remington 700 rifle. They also have a wide variety of non-lethal options, such as rubber & bean bag rounds, tear gas, and the Taser.

TACT’s first armored vehicle was a re purposed Brinks security truck, purchased used for $10. The team currently uses a non-armored, customized deployment vehicle (customized by a Grand Rapids area RV garage). For more dangerous situations, a Bearcat is shared by all Kent County offices, and housed in the GRPD garage.

Installing Windows 7 – My Experience

Like a lot of people in the past week, I just installed Windows 7 at home.  I’m up and running now, but not without a few minor hiccups.

Windows 7 Home Premium would not do a seamless upgrade of my Vista Ultimate install.  I had to do backup my files and do a Custom upgrade.  The install process copied my Windows, Program Files, Program Files (x86) and Users folder to a Windows.old folder (hooray for another set of backups).

After the first reboot (and subsequent reboots during the install), if I left the DVD in the drive, I was presented with a boot menu that just said

1.
2.
Select CD-ROM Boot Type:

Yes, the 1 & 2 options were blank. I don’t recall the Vista install giving me the same issue.  I had to make sure to remove the DVD from the drive every time it rebooted during the install to get around this.

Once Win7 was installed (it took about an hour), I had no problems. The system did not install drivers for my video card, scanner, printer, or tablet. In the case of the scanner & printer, it did provide a direct download link to the drivers. The ATI drivers I had to download manually, which I would have anyways. The Wacom website said there were no drivers available for my tablet under Win7, so I used the Vista drivers and they seemed to work correctly.

Overall, the system feels a bit faster than Vista did, though that may just be because its a mostly clean install now. The swarm of UAC prompts that plagued Vista after install were nowhere to be found this time around, and I’ve only seen them come up during a couple of driver installations.

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 5

Really, I didn’t forget about it. There was no session last week, and its been a bit hectic.

Week 5 covered the detective bureau’s operations and the technical support unit (CSI).

Wyoming PD has 8 general detectives, 1 dedicated to auto theft, 5 total for the metro area fraud team (Wyoming, GR, Kentwood, and Kent County departments), and several sergeants and a lieutenant overseeing the department. The detectives review all incident reports from the patrol division, and determine if someone should be assigned to the case, or if it should just be filed away. Not all cases are assigned to a detective, usually due to a lack of evidence, but they are all kept in the system in case something tied to a case (ie, a serial number) does turn up.

Detectives also process and obtain all arrest and search warrants. They work closely with the prosecutor’s office to prepare for any upcoming trials, and have the resources in-house to prepare other officers for courtroom testimony.

Pawn shops and second-hand stores also feed any sale information to the detective bureau. By looking at patterns in sales of items to pawn shops, they can attempt to track down possible stolen merchandise.

The Technical Support Unit consists of one sworn sergeant, 4 full time civilian technicians, and 1 part time print examiner. While they can’t quite do what you see on CSI, they still have a lot of tools at their disposal for retrieving evidence at a crime scene.

One of the most common things to look for at a scene is a fingerprint. Unfortunately, unless the conditions are exactly right (hard, clean surface & right amount of skin oils), they usually can only pull a partial print with traditional techniques. With the use of a forensic light source (such as a Polilight), they can find latent prints which may be of higher quality. Many prints these days are taken with a combination of the FLS and digital photography. Prints aren’t just restricted to fingers anymore. Kent County departments have begun collecting full palm prints, as they are still unique, and provide a larger surface area to find a match.

The TSU also handles shooting scene reconstruction and blood spatter analysis. I won’t pretend to know the details of some of the math they posted (I don’t know much trig, sorry). Suffice to say, several of the example slides they presented graphically demonstrated how various blood spatters can be cross-referenced with each other to come to a likely point of impact.

This coming week will cover the K-9 unit and TACT team.

Wyoming Police Citizens Academy – Week 4

Week 4 of the Citizens Academy covered community services and police training.

WPD is involved in a number of programs in the community. There are several national programs, such as the National Night Out, and the Neighborhood Watch. There are also programs such as the Metro High School Police Academy (a 50 hour condensed version of the 800 hour MCOLES program), the Citizens Academy, and the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program.

The police currently have 2 school liaison officers, down from 5 when the program started. In addition to this, once a month a check is made of each school in the Wyoming School District. Feedback from this program has been mostly positive, both from school administration and students.

The RSVP program is made of up 33 volunteers who handle minor calls such as pickups for abandoned property, fire & handicapped parking violations, and vacation home checkups. The average age of this group is in the mid-70s.

The community involvement portion also covered some grant information for the department. Grant money averages about $1 million per year, or approximately 10% of the budget. Depending on the grant, this may go to salaries, equipment, training, or some other area of the budget the grant specifies.

To become an officer in the WPD, you must pass an MCOLES (Michigan Commission On Law Enforcement Standards) certification test, and obtain employment within 2 years of that certification. There is also an extensive background investigation, going back to your high school days.

After passing the written & oral tests and background investigation, there is an 18-20 week field training program before the officer is sent out on their own. Wyoming PD also has specialized instructors in the areas of chemical & speciality munitions, precision driving, and domestic violence response, and a number of other specialties. On average, officers & detectives receive 86 hours of training a year, while accident reconstruction, K-9, and TACT officers receive 175-323 hours a year.

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 3

Week 3 of the academy covered information services & communications.
Wyoming Police responded to over 42,800 calls in 2008. Each of these calls ends up having a report, and information services is the department that handles storing, indexing, and retrieving these documents. Like most document indexing systems, everything has a key field it is tied to. In the WPD’s case, it is the report number. All reports entered into the system are stored electronically, but they do still have reports on microfilm from the 1960s.
Information services also handles all Freedom of Information Act requests, bike licensing, and gun registrations. They also are responsible for billing & collection of OWI and false alarm charges. Michigan law allows police departments to bill for the officer’s time if you are pulled over for driving impaired, which in 2007 was over $57,000. Of that, only $21,000 has been collected. If you find yourself in jail, you’ll be billed for that also, at approximately $38 per day.
The 2nd part of the class covered communication and dispatch, and was unfortunately cut short before anything regarding fire dispatch was covered. Wyoming serves as the public safety answering point (PSAP) for Wyoming and Grandville police, fire, and medical emergency calls. When a call comes in to 911, it first is routed through 2 GR area AT&T central offices, then to the AT&T Detroit CO, and finally to their Boulder, CO office, where it picks up both ANI (phone number) and ALI (location) information for the call. All of this is done before the first ring, which is why there is sometimes a couple seconds of silence before the 911 operator answers. If you call 911 on your cell, you will be routed to the Rockford state police, and only cell phone triangulation will be available for your call.
When officers ‘run your plate’, they are most likely having dispatch look it up in the law enforcement information network (LEIN) computer. Depending on the search they run, it can return basic information such as vehicle registration and outstanding warrants, or more detailed information such as the last time you used your credit card somewhere. This information is then radioed back to the officer, and also transmitted electronically to their in-car computer.
All dispatching is done via computer aided dispatching. The head dispatcher for the shift runs on a PC with 4 monitors, and the LEIN operator also runs 4 monitors, with a 5 monitor dedicated to LEIN inquiries. Most other dispatchers on the shift have dual monitors.

Week 3 of the academy covered information services & communications.

Wyoming Police responded to over 42,800 calls in 2008. Each of these calls ends up having a report, and information services is the department that handles storing, indexing, and retrieving these documents. Like most document indexing systems, everything has a key field it is tied to. In the WPD’s case, it is the report number. All reports entered into the system are stored electronically, but they do still have reports on microfilm from the 1960s.

Information services also handles all Freedom of Information Act requests, bike licensing, and gun registrations. They also are responsible for billing & collection of OWI and false alarm charges. Michigan law allows police departments to bill for the officer’s time if you are pulled over for driving impaired, which in 2007 was over $57,000. Of that, only $21,000 has been collected. If you find yourself in jail, you’ll be billed for that also, at approximately $38 per day.

The 2nd part of the class covered communication and dispatch, and was unfortunately cut short before anything regarding fire dispatch was covered. Wyoming serves as the public safety answering point (PSAP) for Wyoming and Grandville police, fire, and medical emergency calls. When a call comes in to 911, it first is routed through 2 GR area AT&T central offices, then to the AT&T Detroit CO, and finally to their Boulder, CO office, where it picks up both ANI (phone number) and ALI (location) information for the call. All of this is done before the first ring, which is why there is sometimes a couple seconds of silence before the 911 operator answers. If you call 911 on your cell, you will be routed to the Rockford state police, and only cell phone triangulation will be available for your call.

When officers ‘run your plate’, they are most likely having dispatch look it up in the law enforcement information network (LEIN) computer. Depending on the search they run, it can return basic information such as vehicle registration and outstanding warrants, or more detailed information such as the last time you used your credit card somewhere. This information is then radioed back to the officer, and also transmitted electronically to their in-car computer.

All dispatching is done via computer aided dispatching. The head dispatcher for the shift runs on a PC with 4 monitors, and the LEIN operator also runs 4 monitors, with a 5 monitor dedicated to LEIN inquiries. Most other dispatchers on the shift have dual monitors.

Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy – Week 1

I signed up to be part of the 19th Wyoming Police Citizen’s Academy, an 8 week outreach and community involvement class offered by the WPD. The offer came in with the quarterly water bill, and I thought it would be a good way to start being involved around Wyoming.

Week 1 covered introductions and an overview of the department. The class has 30 people in it, from all areas of Wyoming. Ages range from 18 to late 60s. After introductions, there was a tour of the building. The department moved into the new building in early 2000, just down the road from the old HQ and city offices. In addition to Wyoming, 911 dispatch for the city of Grandville is housed in the building. In addition to normal offices you’d expect, the building has several short-term holding cells (very spartan and very echoy), and a simulator room for weapons exercises.

Wyoming PD includes a K9 unit and a tactical (SWAT-style) unit. There are 88 sworn officers and 30 civilian personnel. As of 2007, the entry-level salary for an officer was $48,235, with time-and-a-half OT.