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Ref: Vermont universities working with law enforcement to boost cyber crime detection

Government Technology

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College and Law Enforcement Team Up on Digital Investigations in Vermont

January 12, 2007 News Release


"In a time when computers hold the key to everything from terrorist plots to accounting scandals, understanding e-crime and digital forensics is crucial for today's federal, state and local law enforcement officers and our civilian cyber security personnel."

A partnership between a college and law enforcement agencies is helping police process more digital evidence and fight cybercrime in Vermont.

The Champlain College Center for Digital Investigation, which received a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance, is enabling two new Champlain faculty members to work with federal, state and local law enforcement investigators, performing digital investigations and adding capacity to law enforcement agencies in Vermont.

Based at the Burlington Police Department, these investigators sift through digital evidence found on computers, cell phones, iPods and other digital devices so that crucial pieces of evidence can be applied to criminal investigations.

The professors also share their experience as they teach courses in Champlain's Computer and Digital Forensics program. And the grant enables the college to create online training that will be available to members of law enforcement across the country.

"Computer forensics and digital investigations have become an integral part of police work in the new millennium," said Associate Professor Gary C. Kessler, director of the new center. "Computers are now as much a part of the modern law enforcement officer's daily routine as the baton, sidearm, radio and handcuffs."

Sen. Patrick Leahy helped secure the federal funding. "In a time when computers hold the key to everything from terrorist plots to accounting scandals, understanding e-crime and digital forensics is crucial for today's federal, state and local law enforcement officers and our civilian cyber security personnel," said Leahy, the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kessler said the two part-time digital forensics examiner positions increase the state's examination capacity by about 20 percent. The examiners also teach in Champlain's Computer and Digital Forensics program -- the first bachelor's degree program of its kind in New England and the only such program in the nation offered online.

"We can reach 98 percent of American law enforcement if we create online training in appropriate topics, and it's cost effective when it is provided online," Kessler said.

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