|DIGITAL FORENSICS LABS
All Crimes, All the Time
A fast food worker in Chicago was robbed at knifepoint by a suspect who fought with a retired cop at the scene before escaping. The responding police officers had the restaurant's surveillance video enhanced by the Chicago Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory. A clearer picture of the suspect was compared against the Illinois Drivers License database, resulting in a match and the apprehension of the suspect.
This is just one of many cases solved during 2007 with the assistance of a Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, or RCFL.
RCFLs are a network of digital forensics labs sponsored by the FBI and staffed by local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel. These labs are available—free of charge—to 4,750 law enforcement agencies across 17 states.
Yes, RCFLs perform digital forensic exams in cyber crime cases, but they contribute to so many more kinds of investigations: terrorism, espionage, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime, and violent crime. These days, computers and other technological devices are such a part of daily life that you'd be hard-pressed to find any type of criminal or terrorist who doesn’t use one. And when they do, RCFL examiners are there to extract and enhance information from these devices that may serve as evidence at trial.
You can read all about the accomplishments of these 14 labs—collectively and individually—in the RCFL Program's Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Report. Here are some highlights:
And expect the above numbers to keep increasing: two sites for future RCFLs were just announced—Los Angeles and Albuquerque.
But solving cases—that’s where the rubber meets the road. And during 2007, RCFLs conducted forensic exams in a number of successful local, national, and international cases, including:
Visit the RCFL website for more information about the overall program and the individual labs.