Police look to fight growing cyber-crime threat

cyber crime conference teaches local police

CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – Valley police officers and detectives are learning how to fight cyber crime, which is an everyday issue for many police departments.

“We deal with cyber crime almost every day, especially with identity theft and credit card misuse,” Niles Police Lt. Dan Adkins said.

He is one of about 20 law enforcement members participating in a two-day course on cyber crime at Kent State University’s Trumbull campus. The training is sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Chiefs of Police Association and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The two-day course is intended for detectives and officers, as well as probation and parole staff who conducting “knock and talk” interviews or spot checks and home visits. Students are taught how to conduct a manual search of a computer, use an automated tool to search the computer and save evidence to a USB drive.

The officers are learning how to assess computers or digital media at crime scenes in a quick and efficient manner.

“So instead of bringing eight computers out of a house, with this training you can narrow it down to only having to seize two computers,” Adkins said.

“Gives them a way to triage computers and media as to what is involved in crime and what is not,” BCI Senior Special Agent Lee Lerussi said.

The course is presented by the federally funded non-profit National White Collar Crime Center, known as NW3C.

“We provide training in the areas of computer crime, financial crime and also provide some investigative services,” NW3C computer crime specialist John Sedoski said.

Adkins said the training will help save the department time, resources and money.

“I think it gives us a better idea of what we should be looking for and how to handle it once we get it, so the evidentiary value is maintained,” he said.

This won’t be the only course offered this year, especially as cyber crimes become even more prevalent.

“We have plans with NW3C and Kent to expand this program and bring it back to the area a couple of times a year,” Lerusi said.

“The more knowledge you gain, the better you can do your job,” Adkins said.

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