With today’s criminal investigations involving more digital devices and increasing amounts of information, many agencies are finding themselves drowning in a sea of data. Fortunately, digital technology is helping agencies streamline their workflows to collect, review, analyze, manage, and obtain insights from collected data to run their investigations more efficiently.Undergoing digital transformation to make the most of today’s technology takes vision and investment from those at the top to provide their teams with the tools and training needed to solve today’s modern crime cases. It also takes buy-in from the entire organization to make transformation work. But as Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) is demonstrating, digital transformation to harness the power of today’s technology to accelerate justice and create a safer community is totally achievable.
JPSO started their transformation process by leveraging the digital intelligence assets they already had in place. They then supplemented them with the latest analytics technology to create a 360-view of cases that follows a seamless flow of information from the field to the lab to the investigative team, and ultimately, to the court room.
Pushing Solve Rates to New Heights
When Deputy Chief Timothy Scanlan, Commander of the Technical Services Bureau and Sgt. Solomon Burke began to formulate their digital intelligence strategy, their goal was to solve more cases and significantly lower the parish’s crime rate.
The first step was to decrease case backlogs. They accomplished this by pushing the responsibility for doing minor extractions back out to the frontline officers using digital kiosks. Doing so relieved pressure on the lab examiners, freeing them to concentrate on more complex cases.
Once case backlogs were under control, the team turned its focus to workflow. Creating a state-of-the-art lab and investigator training program were at the heart of their strategy.
The Lab of the Future
Moving to a new lab space provided the necessary room for the unit to grow. “We also bought six custom-built forensic analysis stations, which increases productivity and collaboration between examiners,” Sgt. Burke began. “We are also moving to a new process for how we extract devices and analyze them [by] building a giant Faraday room for doing extractions…so that no signal is penetrating the room at all. Collected data is then pumped into an internal server, which only the six analysts have access to…. It then goes into the shared server [where] it can be pulled down onto individual workstations and then loaded into the tool that investigators are going to use to examine the data.”Adding Cellebrite’s investigative analytics to their solutions toolbox is now allowing the JPSO team to see the entire investigation.
“Technology acts as a force multiplier throughout all of forensics,” Chief Scanlan said. “Analytics software allows us to look at multiple cases, compare phones to each other, and really take a deep dive. Instead of handing a detective a thumb drive with one phone on it, we now give them access to multiple phones in a case. They can collaborate with each other and build those cases. Analytics is only going to strengthen us, moving forward.”
Beyond The Lab
Training is also a key element in JPSO’s success story. To date, Sgt. Burke has run about 100 detectives through investigative analytics training. But his vision is much larger. By the time he’s finished, more than 200 detectives will have gone through training. He then intends to train district follow-up and traffic follow-up team members, so that the entire force will be able to use the new technology.
Training will allow all of the team members to understand how digital technology can expedite time-to-evidence by automating the tedious and increasingly impossible task of sorting through data manually to find actionable intelligence, allowing the JPSO team to see all of the possibilities. Cases are being resolved faster and the workload is being shared across the entire force, allowing the JPSO team to better protect their community—a strategy that is clearly working.
Digital Transformation’s Positive Impact
According to FBI Unified Crime Report data, in 2019 Jefferson Parish had its lowest crime rate since 1974, the year it started to submit statistics to the FBI. Solving crimes quickly, which prevents future crimes and limits serial offenders, played a large role in this reduction.
Team members can see the difference their work is making and citizens feel better protected, which provides the added benefit of strengthening agency/community relations to provide a safer place for everyone to live and flourish.
To learn more about how Cellebrite’s digital solutions can help your agency increase case closures and better protect your community, click here.
About the Author: Brendan Morgan brings 20 years of law enforcement experience to Cellebrite. His responsible for the development and delivery of technical training for Cellebrite solutions to law enforcement and other government agencies throughout the Americas.
Mr. Morgan has successfully managed programs and professional services in more than 20 countries around the globe and he regularly speaks at industry conferences such as the Mobile Forensics World and the National Cyber Crime Conference.
Mr. Morgan holds an MBA from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Additionally, he has earned both a Certificate of Concentrated Study in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations and a Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics from Champlain University.