CPD receives training, equipment for forensic analysis

Published 1:31 pm Thursday, June 11, 2015

Clanton Police Department now has the means to perform computer forensic analysis during investigations.

CPD Capt. David Clackley, who had previously obtained 143 hours of training in computer forensics, completed a five-week class at the National Computer Forensic Institute in Hoover, which is operated by the U.S. Secret Service and serves as a training academy for federal, state and local law enforcement, he said.

Upon Clackley completing the class in May, CPD received a computer forensic machine, portable acquisition equipment, tools and the software needed to perform much of the computer forensic analysis here locally.

As a result, the department will now be able to process such evidence within days of its seizure, Clackley said.

CPD has also joined the Alabama Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which responds to complaints of internet-based child predator crimes, Clackley said. The ICAC task force was created in 2000 to protect children from victimization.

“CPD is currently the only agency in our area with this level of computer forensics capabilities,” Clackley said. “Agreements have been made with other agencies in our area to assist when needed. We are proud of the advancements we have made in the field of cyber investigations and computer-based crimes. We hope that with our recent partnerships, we can continue to better serve our citizens.”

The cost of the classes to CPD was limited to Clackley’s salary for the time spent in class.

Clanton Police Department’s detectives have used technology-based methods to assist in their investigations for years, Clackley said and added that the department has had great success solving different types of cases including drug crimes, child abuse, sex crimes and identity theft.

Many of the methods and techniques used have proven to be effective in fighting today’s criminal acts and have resulted in arrests that may have not been possible without the ability to use digital evidence, he said.

In the past, much of this evidence had to be sent to the state forensic lab in Montgomery for analysis, Clackley said. Because of the back log at the lab, it would sometimes take months to get the evidence analyzed.

For years, CPD detectives have received training in the preservation and processing of digital evidence, but they did not have adequate equipment and software needed to complete the analysis.

The equipment, software and training required to perform digital examinations costs an average of $50,000 per examiner.

“It has been a goal of our department for years to obtain the needed training and equipment,” Clackley said.