By KYW tech editor Ian Bush
WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – It’s becoming one of the most critical parts of police investigations, but it often stays in the shadows — or, in the case of Chester County, a windowless room down the hall from the District Attorney’s office.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Sunday System Brings First Chance Of Snowflakes For Parts Of Region
It’s the new Computer Forensics Lab, which is often the end of the road for criminals with something to hide.
(Detectives:) “You sure you don’t want us to look at your phone?”
(Reporter) “I’m positive, but thank you…”
You probably wouldn’t want to hand over your smartphone for a demo either, once you see what this lab can do:
“Digital data is available after it’s been deleted,” explains detective Joe Walton. “Even after it’s been deleted several times. And even after it’s been deleted and sometimes overwritten, it’s still available to law enforcement.”
Walton and detective Roy Calarese are assigned full-time to Computer Forensics.READ MORE: Man Dead After Being Shot 18 Times In Olney, Police Say
“You name the criminal activity, we’ve probably had a case associated with that involving electronic evidence,” says Calarese.
A dozen monitors glow as custom PCs line the lab. Devices with LEDs and ports and touchscreens look ready-made for Q in the next Bond movie.
But villains who use phones and laptops and thumb drives to help in their crimes are all too real, says Chester County DA Tom Hogan:
“This is the future of criminal investigations here. Just like 20 years ago you couldn’t imagine any investigators working without fingerprints, in the future, you can’t imagine them being able to work without a computer forensics lab.”
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