When it comes to computer identity theft, criminals know no bounds.
Now the same borderless world is open to suburban police.
A new wireless mobile computer lab will allow the College of DuPage to roll out cyber investigation classes around the area and state. The lab was donated by Gateway, which has COD's technology contract.
Though all departments have computer access, not all police officers are skilled at using computers to investigate crimes, said Randolph James, director of the COD Suburban Law Enforcement Academy.
"We have to train our people to use computer resources better, to investigate these (cyber) crimes and establish networks with departments regardless of jurisdiction," Bartlett Deputy Chief Dan Maloney said.
The first of the new COD mobile classes, Identity Theft and Cyber-Stalking, will begin today in Bartlett, where a few dozen police officers will line up in front of 23 Gateway laptop computers. Those laptops - as well as the software, Internet connections and a 24-bay mobile computer cart - were given free to the Glen Ellyn school.
Though police officers long have attended classes to hone their skills, it's often costly considering transportation, food and lodging to universities that are often out of the area.
The lab will allow officers, particularly those in more remote departments, to learn increasingly important skills easily at a location close to home. COD will charge fees for the classes.
"It eliminates the geographic restraints," James said.
The law enforcement academy at COD provides training to new officers in departments across northern Illinois. Existing classes offered at the Glen Ellyn campus include computers and the police executive, Microsoft Office for the law enforcement officer and cyber terrorism.
"College of DuPage signed an agreement with Gateway Inc. three years ago to provide its computer and service technology. The agreement has led to a real partnership in providing the college high quality products and services," said Gary Wenger, the college's vice president of information technology. Wenger has appeared in a Gateway ad promoting the relationship between the company and the college. "The mobile lab donation is another example of Gateway giving back to the college."