The Polk County Po­lice De­part­ment gets free tech for dig­i­tal ev­i­dence.

As dig­i­tal ev­i­dence trails grow, fed­eral agen­cies pro­vide equip­ment and classes for pro­cess­ing sus­pect de­vices.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick Ed­i­tor

A month-long course and sev­eral pieces of new tech­ni­cal gear are giv­ing Polk County new ca­pa­bil­i­ties to help with a va­ri­ety of in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Polk County Po­lice de­tec­tive B. Brady got back just a cou­ple of weeks ago from a 30-day class he spent all of Au­gust in learn­ing how to use a va­ri­ety of new gear pro­vided free to him by the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment, which also greatly ex­pands the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of look­ing into the tech­nol­ogy used by sus­pects in­volved in crim­i­nal cases.

He’s al­ready been us­ing the new gear in high pro­file lo­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions, get­ting right back to work upon his re­turn.

“A case in point is the dog case,” Brady said. “I re­ceived sev­eral phones from that, and got search war­rants for them and brought them back. In­stead of hav­ing to take those phones and go through the GBI, or Car­roll­ton, we can do it in house now.”

These new ca­pa­bil­i­ties come thanks to a pro­gram put to­gether by the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, The United States Se­cret Ser­vice and the Alabama Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s As­so­ci­a­tion, who pro­vided ev­ery­thing from up­graded stor­age and thumb drives to the gear Brady is now us­ing to dig into the de­vices peo­ple use daily that sud­denly be­come part of a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“It was great train­ing, and it was dif­fi­cult,” he said. “The big­gest thing I can say is so long as you keep up with the li­censes and show a need, and I think it’s al­ready show­ing. We’ve had 16 phones in a week since it’s been up and run­ning. And that’s just from here.”

Brady, who has al­ready been trained as an in­ves­ti­ga­tor with the Ge­or­gia In­ter­net Crimes against Chil­dren Task Force put to­gether by the Ge­or­gia Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and a net­work of lo­cal law en­force­ment of­fi­cers.

This added ca­pa­bil­ity al­lows for Brady to get the free gear so long as he pro­vides proof that he’s us­ing it for in­ves­tiga­tive pur­poses pro­vid­ing re­ports to the U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice and their statis­tics on com­puter-re­lated crimes.

Es­sen­tially, the tech­nol­ogy al­lows for him to gain ac­cess to dig­i­tal de­vices af­ter au­thor­i­ties have gone through the process of ob­tain­ing search war­rants, and keep­ing the in­for­ma­tion he ob­tains se­cure from any­one who might want to try to gain ac­cess.

For in­stance, with a Fara­day box that the fed­eral gov­ern- ment pro­vided, Brady can look through a win­dow on top of the box and use special gloves al­low­ing him to still use touch screens, but won’t al­low any sig­nals in and out of the box that could be used to ac­cess a phone he’s work­ing on.

The other new gear make ac­cess­ing sus­pects dig­i­tal de­vices eas­ier, and with other items like sol­der­ing irons he can use in al­ter­ing de­vices if nec­es­sary to gain ac­cess.

Brady can’t just plug in a phone as soon as it comes into the hands of po­lice of­fi­cers. Like homes and cars, phones, com­put­ers, tablets and all the other in­ter­con­nected de­vices that can now be part of the ev­i­dence chain re­quires search war­rants for ac­cess, and thus spe­cific rea­sons for law en­force­ment to want to look.

When those search war­rants came in be­fore Brady’s train- ing, lo­cal law en­force­ment had to send those de­vices along to the GBI for their tech­ni­cal ex­perts to do all the foren­sic work on, and re­ceive all the data back with a report list­ing what was ac­cessed and found.

Lo­cally, Brady could get ba­si­cally a pre­view of what was on a de­vice with what the GBI pro­vided him with in past train­ing. The up­grades al­low him and other law en­force­ment of­fi­cers lo­cally more di­rect ac­cess to dig­i­tal ev­i­dence, and thus less wait time on what can be crit­i­cal cases.

“Now we es­sen­tially have all the tools they have, and in some cases like this one (a de­vice used to scan smart­phones called a Cellebrite,) it’s newer,” Brady said.

And it’s not just for use by the Polk County Po­lice De­part­ment. Brady said lo­cal law en­force­ment from Cedar­town, Rock­mart, Aragon and even Floyd County will be bring­ing him phones and other de­vices in the fu­ture to help gain ac­cess.

Be­cause of the equip­ment’s ease of use an au­to­mated na­ture, Brady said the gear pro­vided by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment does all of the hard work, in­clud­ing the cre­ation of re­ports on what was found on the de­vices, dras­ti­cally re­duc­ing the time he has to spend do­ing the foren­sic work.

His hopes are that in the fu­ture with tech­nol­ogy tak­ing an even greater role in crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions lo­cally, in­vest­ment in more gear and train­ing for other of­fi­cers will come as well.

“It’s al­ways ben­e­fi­cial, be­cause you have to think that I’m just one per­son. And all of this is avail­able not just for Polk County, but for Rock­mart, Cedar­town or Floyd County,” he said. “That’s the whole agree­ment with the Se­cret Ser­vice. If they ( a neigh­bor­ing agency) calls in and says ‘I have a case, I’m go­ing to send you five phones. I need you to dump them for me.’ I’m not go­ing to go through, and if it was my case, I’ll go more in depth to say I need to see this, this and this, be­cause I’m the in­ves­ti­ga­tor. But if it’s your case, and you’re send­ing it to me, I’m go­ing to give you the in­for­ma­tion be­cause I have the tools, and I’m go­ing to pack­age it up, and ship it back off to them. That’s kind of the knock off....”

He said that if more of­fi­cers were trained, the po­ten­tial to process ev­i­dence with ad­di­tional speed would be ben­e­fi­cial, keep­ing oth­ers from hav­ing to wait for in­for­ma­tion can lead to solv­ing crimes faster in an age when crim­i­nals are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the ever-chang­ing land­scape of com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy.

“I could sit in here with the ones (phones) I have now and sit here and do a week’s worth of work,” Brady said.

Kevin Myrick / Stan­dard Jour­nal

A Fara­day box, used to block sig­nals from get­ting in or out of it, is one of the many pieces of equip­ment the Polk County Po­lice De­part­ment got as part of de­tec­tive B. Brady’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in a 30-day train­ing class.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.