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High Tech Solutions to High Tech Crimes:
Computer "busters" Open Doors in "The heart of America"


On July 9, the nation took another step forward in its ability to quickly process evidence of criminality found on computers and other digital media. Chief of Police Ellen Hanson, Lenexa, Kansas, served as Master of Ceremony at a Kansas City ribbon cutting event that opened the "Heart of America" Regional Computer Forensic Lab (RCFL) for business, a joint project of the Kansas/Missouri FBI and state and local law enforcement agencies. Its job: to recover data and to recover deleted, encrypted, or damaged file information on computers that are seized as part of investigations into terrorism, Cyber crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and violent and drug-related crimes in the Kansas and Missouri region. "It will be a powerful forensic resource for all of the law enforcement agencies throughout the region," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kevin Stafford.

This is the third of five RCFLs to open nationwide. Labs in Dallas and San Diego were opened last year, and labs in Chicago and San Francisco are on line for 2003 openings. All are joint efforts with federal, state, municipal, and local agencies, and all respond to the explosion of cases in which computer med are seized as evidence: between 1998 and 2001, this number rose nearly 650%. Next on deck: Chicago RCFL, details to follow