Computer Crime Research Center


New cybercrime unit

Date: January 19, 2006
By: Karen Abbott

The folks at the new regional computer forensics lab in Centennial say they're going to take a byte out of crime.

They led journalists on a tour of the new facility in Centennial today, showing off the high-tech gear they say will help crack more child pornography and enticement crimes, identity thefts, eBay cheats and even murders and terrorist plots.

"Crimefighting has entered a new era," said Dave Fisher of the Denver Police Department, which is one of six local law enforcement agencies sharing the new lab with the FBI. "We're expecting this to have a huge impact on so many different cases ... The criminals better watch out, because we have some talented people who are going to be on their tails."

FBI Assistant Director Kerry Haynes of the agency's operational technology division said common high-tech devices such as computers, laptops, cell phones and even iPods now can become crime scenes.

"Every criminal with any sophistication ... has at least one computer," said Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates.

Other agencies sharing the new lab are the Denver and 18th Judicial District district attorneys' offices and the Arapahoe County and Douglas County sheriff's offices. More partners are encouraged to join by assigning an officer to the lab, but any law enforcement agency in Colorado or Wyoming can use the new lab's services.

The facility cost about $2 million to create and will cost about $1 million a year to operate, said the lab's director, Christopher Buechner.

It already has accepted 65 cases, mostly involving child pornography.

It has nearly 17,000 square feet of space full of equipment to sniff out what's stored in computers, telephones and other devices — often even if the owners of the devices believe they have erased everything.
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