COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On the third floor of the Columbus Division of Police building tucked away in a corner office detectives retrace footprints, digital clues to catch a killer.
“We have a couple of officers that have been doing this for a few years and they can’t keep up with the volume,” said Deputy Chief Tom Becker of the Investigative Subdivision.
Officers in the digital forensic unit are tasked with analyzing smartphones, laptops and tablets, any form of technology that can lead to solving a case.
“The equipment they have is pretty old. Technology changes and the training changes really every six months,” said Becker.
Becker says Police Chief Kim Jacobs agrees there is a big need to expand the digital forensic unit. Pointing to a case were 20 cell phones were taken from a home in a homicide case. Leaving the analyzing of the evidence to one officer.
“Not only can this provide evidence that can be incriminating, it may provide evidence that is exculpatory or clear somebody or backs up their alibi,” said Becker.
Studying the digital forensic unit model from the Cincinnati Police Department, Columbus Police hope to add four new officers and a supervisor to the unit.
The department has committed $500,000 from the department’s drug seizure fund to help the unit buy new equipment and send officers through specialized training.
Becker says the department hopes to be fully staffed by the end of the year.