New computer crime lab to help Colorado, Wyoming authorities
December 25, 2005
CENTENNIAL – Law enforcement authorities in Colorado and Wyoming soon will have an extra measure of help investigating crimes involving technology.The Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory, the 10th such regional laboratory in the country established and operated with the help of the FBI, is due to officially open Jan. 18, greatly improving investigators’ capacity to analyze computers and other electronics seized as evidence.”They work all sorts of cases, including homicides,” said Mike Knight, chief investigator for the district attorney’s office covering Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. “Anymore, just about every aspect of your life has a computer involved.”The FBI provided a $2 million startup grant and will provide operating expenses for the laboratory, which has 11 analysts working in a 16,500-square-foot space in Centennial, a southern Denver suburb. The lab began handling a few cases in November.Analysts can work with seized computers to dredge up deleted files, see what Web sites have been displayed, find e-mail messages and get potentially valuable information from cell phones and other devices, said lab director Chris Buechner, an FBI supervisory agent.The first such laboratory opened in 1999 in San Diego as a cooperative effort between the FBI and area law enforcement agencies.By the end of 2006, authorities expect 14 such laboratories to be operating, providing services to more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies in 16 states.Besides investigating crimes, the laboratories train law enforcement personnel to handle digital and electronic evidence.