Whitestown police operating first cyber forensics lab in Boone County
WHITESTOWN, Ind. – A new cyber forensics lab in Whitestown is helping investigators solve cases. They officially launched the unit about a year ago and Chief Dennis Anderson said they have already received hundreds of cases to look into.
This lab is the first of its kind in Boone County. During his shift, Detective David Sellers combs through data. He peels back the layers to help police catch the bad guy.
Departments from all over the county give Sellers their digital evidence because he works for the cyber crimes unit.
“Anywhere from theft to burglary to drug investigation,” said Sellers. “This year I was part of a murder investigation.”
He said the amount of information they can pull off a cell phone or any electronic device can help link things together.
Whitestown police began this effort about five years ago. Anderson said they sent officers to schools. They were performing forensic analysis on laptops and phones that are used in white collar crimes, like child pornography.
“It is one more way our investigators can delve into what is happening behind the scenes that nobody can see,” said Anderson.
Anderson said he and his wife were victims of identity theft and it took them a while to get stuff sorted out. To him, this effort is personal.
“It is a nightmare. First when it happens because your credit score takes a huge hit,” he said.
Right now, Sellers is the only person working in this lab. That is because they do not have enough space for more people. A new building under construction will help them grow and meet demand. They hope to open the new building in 2020.
“A lot of parents do not know what is happening with your teenage kids when it comes to these phones,” said Anderson. “Looking at it is sometimes not enough.”
Anderson said very few labs do this work and they are getting backed up. The department felt it was worth investing in their own unit.
“This is the direction cyber investigations is going,” he said. “Technology is progressing faster than we can keep up with it and the bad guys notice.”
He said criminals sometimes create issues from thousands of miles away. Whitestown police are working with federal agencies to help track them down.
“It is a great resource for the whole county,” said Sellers.