Federal and New Jersey authorities have announced plans to create a state-of-the-art digital forensics lab in Hamilton, N.J. It will be one of nine FBI-sponsored sites where detectives will extract electronic evidence from hard drives, cell phones, digital cameras, Palm Pilots, and other high-tech gear that have become everyday tools for criminals, reports the Newark Star-Ledger.
The Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory will include 20 agents from the FBI, State Police, state Division of Criminal Justice and county prosecutors’ offices. The New Jersey lab will join other sites in San Diego, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Buffalo, Houston, Portland, and Salt Lake City. The FBI will outfit each of the New Jersey forensic examiners with $25,000 in cyber-sleuthing equipment, provide another $10,000 in training, and invest $1 million a year to update the lab’s hardware. “The RCFL program is one of the premier computer forensic lab networks in the country,” said Louis Allen, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark division. “The FBI views the computer forensics lab as our most powerful tool for addressing 21st-century crime.”
The RCFL program was born in San Diego, where high-tech crime investigators from many agencies used federal grants to pool resources and standardize evidence-gathering methods.