Law enforcement and prosecutors face a daunting 6 – 18 month backlog to process digital evidence through an RCFL or state computer forensics lab. Unfortunately, the grim reality of public budgets and the explosive growth of digital evidence means that this backlog is not going away any time soon.
The only question is how your department will deal with it.
Option 1 – Do Nothing
You may opt to simply accept that digital evidence will take a long time to forensically examine. If you expect that a cell phone seized in a drug case will take at least six months to process, you won’t expect to get much actionable intelligence from it. The cost in this case is more than just the hassle factor. That intelligence you miss will likely cost you more in surveillance overtime or more investigative resources while you wait for that cell phone evidence to be processed. In future posts, we’ll explore some of the hidden ways that a backlog can cost your department big bucks in terms of overtime or lost opportunities.
Option 2 – Build Your Own Digital Forensics Lab
Many departments can make a case that an in-house digital forensic lab is worth the investment. Creating your own digital forensic lab is a big investment of both money and time. It requires that you have a good understanding of your forensic needs and that you set appropriate expectations about what and when a new lab can actually deliver. At Flashback Data, we’ve worked with lots of law enforcement clients who have chosen to build their own lab. In future posts, we’ll share some of their lessons learned so you don’t repeat their mistakes.
Option 3 – Outsource Your Digital Forensics to a Private Lab
Outsourcing your digital forensics to a private lab can be a quick and effective way to address your backlog, especially for complex, time-sensitive cases. There are a lot of private labs and solo practice examiners out there, and it’s important to choose a partner that is experienced in dealing with law enforcement and has the credentials and accreditation that can stand up to a legal cross-examination.
Flashback Data has been providing outsourced digital forensics services to federal, state and local law enforcement since 2004. Our digital forensics lab was the first private lab accredited under the same standards as FBI and state forensics labs. Our experienced examiners can work with your investigators to help plan, preserve, investigate and examine virtually any digital evidence in any format or condition. Our accreditation and experience mean that we can support our forensic reports through depositions and cross-examination, if necessary.
CONTACT FLASHBACK DATA to get help with your backlog today.