Cellebrite and Lake Jackson Police Department combine efforts to embolden the digital forensics process and overcome obstacles
Cellebrite DI Ltd. a global company in Digital Intelligence (DI) solutions for the public and private sectors, recently announced their collaborative work with the Lake Jackson Police Department.
Big cases solved by large agencies with lots of resources may grab more headlines, but most communities depend on smaller police forces to do the hard work of keeping communities safe with just a handful of officers.
Detective Sergeant (DS) Christopher Collins, of the Lake Jackson Police Department in Lake Jackson, TX, understands what it means to be the only digital examiner in a department. He is literally a one-man band. Not surprisingly, DS Collins faces a number of challenges that those in small departments know all too well: multiple roles, budget constraints, outdated equipment, too many devices, and slow USB speeds.
In the two years, he’s been in his present position, DS Collins has learned how to use technology as a force multiplier to modernize his workflow and get the information his investigators need to move cases forward as quickly as possible. Right now, he is utilizing Cellebrite UFED 4PC, Cellebrite Physical Analyzer, and Cellebrite UFED Cloud.
DS Collins has high praise for the solutions he is using. UFED 4PC… makes it extremely easy to run through a phone extraction and capture of evidence. With the on-screen instructions… there’s almost no question on what to do because it gives you the steps to follow.”
“Running it [data] through Physical Analyzer presents everything that you’ve captured and parsed through on the screen. It gives you that extraction summary screen, and I love that screen. It shows you what extractions have been completed or included in the report, and it breaks down photos, videos, text messages, instant messages, and device locations…. The workflow is a lot easier to work through on that.”
“Another thing (I like about) Cellebrite UFED Cloud is the public-facing cloud and social media profiles that Cellebrite UFED Cloud is able to capture. By putting in a URL or a username, it captures the public-facing images. Using Cellebrite UFED Cloud’s feature to do that sounds way more forensically sound.”
When asked what advice he had for officers, like himself, who are flying solo in their departments on how to use digital technology to better serve their communities and close the public-safety gap, here’s what DS Collins had to say.
Train Up: Take up as much free training as you can. Reach out. If your department is part of the ICAC task force, go through ICAC training. They have a ton of resources for training that are free or very low-cost.
Get Cellebrite Trained: As DS Collins explained, “This was one of the best courses I’ve had. And the person who trained me, my instructor for my CCO and CCPA, actually pushed me to get my CCME because he saw how well I was performing in that class. He was a fantastic instructor.”
Find Funding: While there are federal funds available, DS Collins recommends that those seeking funds to transform their department shouldn’t focus strictly on federal grants.
Set Standard Operating Procedures: DS Collins is in the process of building a mandatory mobile device evidence collection course for basic-level patrol officers and even detectives because they need to be able to know how to handle devices collected at a crime scene.
When asked what gets him out of bed every morning and do his job, DS Collins paused for a moment then said, “In the simplest terms, it’s justice for the victims. And the help that it will give those victims in restoring a normal life is insurmountable. That’s the main thing that drives me, is to protect the children.”
Zach Cohen, Vice President of State and Local Sales at Cellebrite, commented, “Detective Sergeant Chris Collins is a prime example of how a single, driven individual can introduce new technology to agencies, no matter the size. His efforts to educate other team members and dedication to training demonstrate an attitude that all analysts and investigators should emulate.”