Police investigations today are shaped by the digital world. With the increasing availability of technology, digital evidence is now considered in every case and often holds the incriminating or exonerating evidence. Cell phones, computers, social media accounts, IoT devices, and other digital-enabled devices are now considered crucial evidence, and the ability to retrieve this information is more valued than ever. With this influx of digital information, police agencies everywhere are struggling to analyze the sheer volume of digital evidence with which they are presented. Additionally, finding qualified investigators who are well versed and educated in the field of technology has become more important than ever. This talk will discuss how the St. Joseph County’s (Indiana) Cyber Crimes Unit found a solution that addresses the influx of digital evidence in law enforcement. By forming a unique partnership with the University of Notre Dame, the Cyber Crimes Unit has recruited and educated undergraduate students to serve as sworn investigators. The sworn-in student investigators use Magnet Forensics AXIOM, GrayKey, and open source investigation among other forensic tools to keep up with increased demand for digital evidence analysis. In fact, by swearing in student investigators, the county has reduced digital case backlog from 30 days to down to zero since the beginning of the partnership.
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