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April 2014 Advances & Applications

Where do the good ideas come from?
In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Accessing a Suspect’s Computer in Its Natural State without Compromising Evidence

Shadow 3 from Voom Technologies allows forensics investigators to quickly view and navigate a suspect’s computer using its operating system, applications, and files to speed investigations and improve evidentiary presentations.

Traditional procedure to access a suspect’s computer involves removing the hard drive, creating a forensic image (a duplicate copy), and, then, analyzing that copy using sophisticated industry-specific software. Although effective, this process takes many hours and allows investigators to view and present information only in a raw state—one that non-computer experts such as attorneys and juries can find difficult to understand.

Shadow 3 allows computer forensic investigators to turn on and operate the suspect’s computer without altering its contents in any way. Investigators are able to review and navigate the computer as if the suspect turned it on and then stepped aside. This includes utilizing whatever operating system is installed; launching programs; opening files; viewing recent emails, images, or web history; and so forth. Literally anything the computer’s owner can see or do can be accessed without risk of altering the evidence.

This ability to view the computer in its natural state is speeding investigations and increasing the likelihood that the case will be resolved prior to trial. Because it can be installed within minutes, rather than the half-day or more it takes to copy a hard drive and run forensic software, critical evidence can be accessed more quickly for time-sensitive cases such as abductions, child abuse, and homicides.

In addition, any evidence discovered can be copied to an external storage device such as a thumb drive, printed, or captured as a screenshot or screen video. Because this evidence is presented in a more relatable way, it is often more easily understood by attorneys, investigators, judges, and juries.

The Shadow 3 is a small, portable hardware device that is inserted between the hard drive and the motherboard. Originally introduced in 2004, the Shadow product is currently deployed worldwide, in over 100 local, state, and federal law enforcement and justice agencies.

“Prior to using the Shadow 3, I didn’t have a reliable method of looking at a suspect’s computer the same way the suspect would be using it,” says Craig Cilley, a computer forensics expert for the Washington County, Minnesota, Sheriff’s Office who is responsible for cybercrime and Internet Crimes Against Children cases. The agency also assists the probation department, the county attorney’s office, internal affairs, and social services with computer-related issues on occasion.

After a trial of the product, he recommended purchasing it to his superior officer. “I showed him the capabilities of the Shadow 3 and how we could use it and the time savings it would bring to me,” says Cilley. “In my business, time is money.”

For Cilley, the Shadow 3 represents a “scalpel forensics” mode that saves time because he can access data without having to review every bit of information on the computer: “With the Shadow 3, you can quickly go in and get the data you need to prove your case.”

For more information, visit

Lancaster, South Carolina, Police Department Will Implement New World Systems’ Modern Public Safety Software

The Lancaster, S.C. Police Department has selected New World Systems’ integrated suite of Aegis Public Safety software applications to modernize emergency response. The new software will help reduce emergency response times and allow the city to easily share critical public safety information with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.

After a thorough review of vendors and solutions, the police department determined that New World’s software is the most user friendly, while providing all of the functionality they need. New World’s solutions will replace manual 9-1-1 dispatching processes and improve communication and access to safety information for dispatchers, first responders, and command staff.

“The Lancaster Police Department and the city as a whole are excited about the purchase and implementation of New World’s software,” said Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard. “It will help us provide more efficient, enhanced, and safer service to citizens and officers. We know that the benefits we will get from using the software will be extraordinary.”

New World is providing Lancaster Police Department with Aegis computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management, mobile computing, and field-based reporting software. The completely integrated applications and built-in workflow will save significant time for dispatchers and officers in the field by providing instant access to information, including maps and historical activity. For the first time, 9-1-1 dispatchers and officers will be able to communicate and send information quickly without using their radios.

“We are looking forward to the integration of New World’s CAD and mobile,” said Captain Paul Smith. “The ability to see dispatch information from our mobile units and transmit field reports directly from our patrol cars will allow officers to stay in the field safely and keep them visible in the community.”

New World’s software will help the Lancaster Police Department streamline operations and meet future public safety information sharing and reporting requirements.

For more information, visit

Cassidian Communications and Fleetcom Inc. Complete Implementation of P25 Land Mobile Radio System for Canada’s Busiest Airport

Cassidian Communications, an EADS North America company, is now helping the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) improve communications and critical response times following the installation and activation of its digital, trunked P25 Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system. Working with prime contractor, Fleetcom Inc., Cassidian Communications deployed a three-site, 12-channel simulcast CORP25 radio system, including hardware and software, as well as annual maintenance through 2023.

The GTAA is responsible for the management, operation, and maintenance of Canada’s busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport. Toronto Pearson International Airport is the largest airport in Canada and one of the largest in North America in terms of passenger and air cargo traffic. In 2012, Toronto Pearson handled 35 million passengers.

The open, standards-compliant CORP25 network allows the airport’s Fire, Safety and Security, Aviation Services, Guest Terminal Services, Buildings and Maintenance, and Airside Maintenance personnel to communicate with each other, as well as with emergency responders on other networks in nearby municipalities.

Cassidian Communications’ commitment to standards-based solutions, such as CORP25, enables “true choice”—allowing agencies to select complementary, best-in-class network components through competitive procurements, lowering the total cost of network ownership.

“We are pleased that we were able to provide the Cassidian Communications CORP25 network to the GTAA,” said Steve Winch, president of Fleetcom. “CORP25 is an innovative solution built for the future, with an open design that leverages the P25 standard to deliver increased interoperability and performance.”

“Virtually every aspect of our operations revolves around the use of a two-way radio by airport staff, public safety agencies, and supporting organizations,” said Howard Bohan, vice president of aviation services for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. “The Cassidian Communications CORP25 system was the right choice for us—providing a state-of-the-art solution and superior economic value, which allowed us to build the network we need, with the equipment we want, at a price we can afford.”

Flexible and scalable, the IP-based CORP25 radio solution, which replaced the capacity previously leased by the GTAA from the Peel Region VCOM network, enables simple and efficient network management as well as cost-effective migration to future applications and services.

The focus of the GTAA continues to be on competitiveness, growing the airport’s status as an international gateway; meeting the needs of its travellers; and ensuring the long-term success of the organization, airline customers, and the regional economy. ♦

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXXI, no. 4, April 2014. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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