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Cops and Space Scientists: New Crime-Fighting Partners

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 63 Issue: 10 Dated: (October 1996) Pages: 108-114
Date Published
7 pages
This article examines how modern image enhancement technology was used to help California police and corrections officers solve a murder case.
Solving the 1993 murder of a Manhattan Beach, CA, police officer threatened to be especially difficult for investigators because eyewitness accounts and initially available physical evidence were sketchy at best. Videotapes from surveillance cameras in automatic-teller machines near the crime scene produced blurry, indistinct images which human eyes could not connect with the crime. A Manhattan Beach resident who worked for The Aerospace Corporation volunteered his company's image-enhancement services. The corporation's work with homicide detectives led to the identification of the killer's car, which provided a clear break in the case. The Aerospace Corporation has recently become one of the Justice Department's National Law Enforcement & Corrections Technology Centers, under the direction of the National Institute of Justice. The Western Region Center (one of six regional centers) is presently developing architectures and guidelines for crime labs, investigative units and others to use in developing in-house image enhancement capabilities. In addition, the Center has formed an advisory council whose goal is to move innovative, useful and cost-effective technology from the military and space environment to law enforcement and corrections communities.

Date Published: January 1, 1996