I thought the gang here might appreciate this article from the Houston Chronicle, about the latest resource for S.E. Texas Law Enorcement.
Stay Safe !
July 15, 2008, 2:13PM
Houston FBI opens big new digital crime lab
By KEVIN MORAN
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle
Trying to keep pace with criminals who increasingly store damaging evidence on high-tech devices, the FBI today opened a digital forensics laboratory four times the size of a facility it used to plow through the files of energy giant Enron.
"This is the shape of law enforcement for the future," said Andrew R. Bland III, special agent in charge of the Houston FBI office. "Any police department in our area can submit evidence to this lab."
The expanded laboratory — equipped to store, copy and examine huge amounts of digital data — will serve more than 700 police agencies in a 40,000-square-mile area of southeast Texas, Bland said.
Called the Greater Houston Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, the facility, located in a building off U.S. 290, near Hollister in northwest Houston, covers 19,000 square feet.
Forensics examiners there will be involved in examining everything from cell phones to corporate computer servers for clues to crimes, Bland said.
"This is hard science," he said. "Defense attorneys have found, in virtually all cases, that this type of evidence is irrefutable in terms of its credibility."
The new lab includes dozens of work stations at which examiners can download and analyze a wide range of digital evidence, from instant messages to data encrypted by more sophisticated criminals, officials said as they announced the lab's opening today.
The laboratory's operations are overseen by a board of directors that includes investigators and commanders from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the Houston, Pasadena and Richmond police departments and other area law enforcement agencies.
Participating agencies provide staff members, who process digital evidence from their own departments as well as others.
Forensic examiners also will travel to known or potential crime scenes to examine computers and other equipment.
The lab has four examiners who specialize in examining cell phones or PDAs, said sheriff's detective John Pohutsky, who helped conduct tours of the laboratory.
Such devices provide the "fastest-growing form of digital evidence," he said.
Eventually, the laboratory will offer self-service kiosks to speed up examinations of cell phone data for area law enforcement, Pohutsky said.
"An investigator from an agency would be able to bring a cell phone in that he's acquired as evidence," he said. "With a little bit of help getting started, he can basically process his own phone."