ASU Cyber Forensics Division putting big dent in crime - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

ASU Cyber Forensics Division putting big dent in crime

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Armstrong State University's Cyber Forensics Division is putting a big dent in crime by helping agencies throughout the state quickly process evidence.

In the Armstrong Police Cyber Forensics lab, students get an opportunity to work with experts on trying to extract information from cell phone devices and different electronics. It's the only one of its kind in the state.  

The Armstrong Cyber Division not only assists law enforcement, but it also provides a hands on digital forensic internship program for students hoping to work in criminal justice.

"We have had a number of successful graduates," said Commander John Taylor. "They basically learned to do what my guys do. One of the things we learned about students is they want the hands on component and that is what we give them. At the end, they took the ACE exam. The Access Date Exam, and they got a national certification for the access data."

Each semester the division takes on three interns that go through an intensive 20 hour, 15 week program.

"Crimes today have some kind of digital forensics evidence, even the simplest ones, your cell phones, computers, tablets, even your cars," said intern Ashland Mullins. "In the career field, it is very beneficial.  It's a very huge market and not many people are there for it. It is quickly growing."

Even the military is taking advantage of this resource in our area.

"The military thought it would be useful for us to know how to use cyber forensics and incorporate it in our law and order mission," said 2nd Lt. Keith Cohen from the 385th Military Police Battalion.   

The Armstrong Forensics Division has been operating since December of 2012, analyzing more than 500 devices and helping solve crimes across the state.

"It also makes us relevant as a police department," said Taylor. "A few years ago Armstrong was like many other departments. We were tied into the criminal justice community back in the old days, no one was coming to us for anything. Now, you got a weekly stream of Metro and detectives from the federal agencies in and out of here, coming to seek our services."

That's because the need for digital forensics is on the rise.

"There is more work in this area than people doing it," said Taylor."For example, the G.B.I. lab in Atlanta, their big lab runs six to 12 months, maybe more."

By equipping students with the tools they need to enter the work force, Armstrong's Police Forensic Division hopes to leave their digital mark.

Just last year, the program won the Governor's Public Safety Award, and they are up for another award coming up at the end of the month from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. They are one of three finalists, so they will find out at the end of the month if they will win another distinction.

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