In today’s digital world in which cell phones, computers and other electronic devices are constantly at the fingertips of so many people, the Roswell Police Department is drawing on federal training resources to advance the skills of its personnel in identifying, collecting, acquiring and preserving digital information as part of investigations.
Instructors with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Artesia came to the Roswell Police Department in May to give a three-day class titled “Basic Incident Response to Digital Evidence.” The class was attended by selected members of RPD, as well as personnel from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. FLETC offers the class to local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies at no cost to the agencies.
This class focuses on today’s technology that is so prevalent in everyday life and offers RPD’s investigators in several of its divisions the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skill that allow them to retrieve a multitude of valuable information to aid in criminal investigations, notes RPD Lt. Joe Smith. In addition, as part of the class, FLETC also provides to RPD and other participating agencies specially-designed technological tools useful in digital-information investigations.
The more training in which local law enforcement can participate is beneficial to local communities such as Roswell because it is agencies such as RPD that are the first responders to local incidents, says Anthony Lara, regional coordinator of the State/Local/Tribal Division of the Artesia FLETC. He explains that having local law enforcement well educated in digital-information gathering and preservation is important to successful investigations and prosecutions of cases that rely on or are bolstered by digital information.
Lara also notes that by offering this highly sought-after technology class and other training classes to local law enforcement throughout the country – in addition to Artesia, there are FLETC sites in Georgia, South Carolina and Maryland – it promotes consistency nationally in how agencies handle information and other aspects of investigations. That consistency can be helpful when multiple agencies work together on an investigation.
RPD investigators have long made use of digital-information gathering in putting together cases for filing of criminal charges and prosecution, and this latest training gives the department updated knowledge and even greater skill in using technology to help solve crimes.