Sandia National Laboratories To Test Law Enforcement Technologies For U.S. Department Of Justice

January 30, 1997

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) announced this week that it has named Sandia National Laboratories a Satellite Facility to support the Institute's multi-disciplinary science and technology development program. NIJ is the research and development branch of the U.S. Department of Justice for state and local law enforcement and corrections.

The official announcement was made by Rep. Steve Schiff (R-NM) and David Boyd, Director, NIJ's Office of Science and Technology, on January 30 at Sandia's New Mexico site.

Sandia facilities and technical expertise will be focused on three areas in this new work:

1) testing and evaluation of proposed and existing technology and equipment for state and local law enforcement and corrections;

2) researching and developing related activities to support law enforcement "special teams" such as SWAT and bomb squads; and

3) supporting NIJ's Rocky Mountain Regional Center in Denver in explosive and drug detection.

The one-year, $500,000 agreement with NIJ will complement Sandia's work for the Department of Energy (DOE) in research and development of security technologies. Over the past 20 years, Sandia has developed state-of-the-art physical security technologies for DOE, the Department of Defense and various other federal agencies. In particular, Sandia has been involved in research and development, design, and implementation of detection, entry control, delay, and response technologies.

Sandia also brings to the table its explosives detection and bomb disablement expertise. Engineers in the Contraband Detection Technologies Department are developing a walk-through explosives detection portal for the Federal Aviation Administration; Sandia's Engineering Projects & Explosives Applications Department has hosted two advanced training programs, Operation Albuquerque 1 and 2, for select bomb squad personnel from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Some of NIJ's funding for the Satellite Facility will be used to co-sponsor Operation Albuquerque 3, to be held sometime later this year. The Albuquerque Police Department has co-hosted the Operation Albuquerque events.

Rep. Schiff, a supporter of using technology to increase public safety, said, "This is great news, not only for Sandia, but also for law enforcement. The Labs will be better able to use its vast technical expertise to assist law enforcement around the country and the National Institute of Justice will be better able to assist state and local law enforcement in its efforts to fight crime in our communities." Rep. Schiff is Chair of the House Science Committee's Subcommittee on Basic Research and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime.

One of the first tasks Sandia will tackle is an analysis of currently available explosive detection technology and equipment. This will be done in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Regional Center, located at Denver University.

Since 1992, Sandia has evaluated three major criminal justice technologies for NIJ -- sticky foam, aqueous foam and a user-authorized safe gun (see chart for project descriptions). Sandia currently has a visiting scientist at NIJ in Washington, D.C. on a year-long assignment to provide technical assistance and project management support on law enforcement technology evaluation.

Dennis Miyoshi, Director of Sandia's Security Systems and Technology Center, said that the concept of a Satellite Facility to test technology for the criminal justice community grew, in part, from the examination Sandia did in late 1995 of the Quadro Tracker, a hand-held device claimed by its manufacturers to be able to detect "atomic emissions" from narcotics, explosives and even stray pets and lost golf balls. The device functioned akin to a divining rod and was being sold to law enforcement agencies and schools nationwide. This activity led to NIJ's interest in having Sandia available for quick response testing of new devices being marketed to their customer base.

"With so many devices on the market these days that claim such a wide variety of successes, the law enforcement community realized a need to be able to quickly and efficiently test these technologies," explains Debra Spencer, Program Manager for the Satellite Facility. "We are able to offer our expertise to help them do just that."

Under this agreement, NIJ will be able to contact Sandia about reviewing a particular technology or new product and, within a few days or weeks, that technology or product will have been tested and evaluated.

Miyoshi says that being a Satellite Facility will help the Labs support the needs of NIJ. "We'll be more a part of their team now," explains Miyoshi. "We'll be able to develop a clearer understanding of their needs through this partnership."

"Our function will be to validate existing technologies or new concepts, at the request of NIJ, and provide assurance that a product will work. I see this as a perfect role for a national laboratory, acting on behalf of the government."

Although the Security Systems and Technology Center will coordinate the NIJ projects, Miyoshi predicts that much of the work will be done in other parts of the Labs. Examples of this work include chemical analysis, explosives technology and tracking and tagging capabilities.

Sandia is a multiprogram Department of Energy laboratory, operated by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. With facilities located in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national defense, energy, environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

History: Sandia's research for NIJ

-end-


DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

Related Law Enforcement Articles from Brightsurf:

Repeated small blasts put military, law enforcement at risk for brain injury
Military and law-enforcement personnel repeatedly exposed to low-level blasts have significant brain changes - including an increased level of brain injury and inflammation -- compared with a control group, a new study has found.

Enforcement more effective than financial incentives in reducing harmful peat fires?
A new study looking at incentives to reduce globally harmful peatland fires suggests that fear of enforcement and public health concerns influence behaviour more than the promise of financial rewards.

Study: Increased presence of law enforcement officers in schools does not improve safety
A new longitudinal study sought to learn more about the impact of school resource officers (SROs).

Investigation: Problems in clinical trial reporting continue amid lax federal enforcement
Companies, universities, and other institutions that conduct clinical trials are required to record the results of most of them in a federal database, so that doctors and patients can see whether new treatments are safe and effective.

Catch-22 -- stricter border enforcement may increase agent corruption
Analysis of corruption cases among customs officers and Border Patrol agents reveals alarming trends depending on their years of service.

Dog down: Effort helps emergency medical staff treat law enforcement K-9s
Law enforcement K-9s face the same dangers their human handlers confront.

Vanished classmates: The effects of immigration enforcement on school enrollment
Partnerships between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and local police departments designed to enforce immigration laws reduced the number of Hispanic students in US public schools in adopting counties by 10 percent after two years.

Investigative report on FDA enforcement under Trump from Science's news department
Despite being one of the nation's most vital watchdogs, compliance and enforcement actions by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have severely declined since the Trump administration took office, according to an investigative report from Charles Piller, a contributing correspondent in the News department at Science.

FSU researcher finds adolescent views of law enforcement can improve over time
A research team, led by Assistant Professor of Criminology Kyle McLean, found that teens' attitudes toward law enforcement tend to improve as they reach adulthood.

Automated speed enforcement doesn't just reduce collisions -- it helps reduce crime
It's widely accepted that automated photo enforcement programs targeting speeding help reduce collisions and promote safe driving.

Read More: Law Enforcement News and Law Enforcement Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.