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Back to Archives | Back to May 2007 Contents 

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Free FBI Webinar Training

Increasingly, digital evidence is providing investigators with critical information that can lead to an arrest or conviction in a court of law—evidence such as e-mail, electronic files, or Internet search words. There are scores of examples in which these items have helped investigators and prosecutors secure criminal convictions in a court of law. However, reaching that goal requires that a range of individuals in law enforcement, from first responders to prosecutors, have a basic understanding of digital evidence. Although law enforcement is becoming more familiar with digital evidence and the science of digital forensics, there is still more to learn.

In order to educate law enforcement about digital-forensics methods, the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) program of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will present a free Webinar on June 6, 2007, titled Managing Digital Evidence in the 21st Century: What Every Peace Officer Must Know, reports Gerard J. Cocuzzo, unit chief of the RCFL program.

RCFLs are secure, full-service digital evidence laboratories and training centers that provide expert assistance to law enforcement agencies within their designated service area. The FBI provides start-up and operational funding, training, personnel, and equipment, while state, local, and other federal law enforcement agencies assign personnel to work as examiners alongside their FBI counterparts. Many of the program’s laboratories are equipped with modern classrooms where a variety of digital-forensics training courses are taught to law enforcement.

Since the program began in 1999, RCFL personnel have provided expert digital-forensics expertise in support of the most high-profile criminal investigations of recent years including September 11, the Enron scandal, the public corruption trials of ex-congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham and ex-governor George Ryan, and the serial murderer known as the BTK (“Bind, Torture, Kill”) killer. Digital evidence played a role in each of these investigations—a trend that will continue because of the pervasiveness of electronic devices in our society.

The RCFL program was created by law enforcement to serve law enforcement. Russ Laine, chief of police, Algonquin, Illinois, who serves on the program’s National Steering Committee, said it best: “Law enforcement must get a little smarter about computer forensics and digital evidence. If the criminals are learning how to use technology to further their interests, those of us in law enforcement must do the same. We can’t afford to wait any longer. The time to start educating ourselves is now.”

The Webinar is a basic course that teaches front-line investigators how to recognize, seize, transport, and store original digital evidence to preserve it for forensic examination. Different types of exotic media and legal considerations will also be discussed. All that is needed to participate is a computer with an Internet connection. This live event is being offered at two different times, 10:00 a.m.–12 noon or 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. (both EDT), but participants visit www.rcfl.gov to register for the Webinar. For those who cannot attend the live events, a podcast will be made available on the RCFL Web site. Visitors who log on to www.rcfl.gov can also download a copy of the program’s fiscal year (FY) 2006 annual report and can request a DVD about RCFLs.

Start today by registering for this Webinar on June 6, 2007.


FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center Releases 2006 Statistics

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its annual Internet Fraud Crime Report for the 2006 calendar year, revealing that the center received 207,492 complaint submissions. These filings were composed of complaints of fraud and nonfraudulent crimes primarily related to the Internet, ranging from auction fraud, nondelivery, and credit/debit card fraud to computer intrusions, spam/unsolicited e-mail, and child pornography.

“This report demonstrates how widespread and sophisticated Internet crime has become,” said Cyber Division assistant director James E. Finch. “The FBI remains committed to working with our partners in both law enforcement and in the private business sector to help investigate and combat these types of crimes.”

All complaints received by IC3 are accessible to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to support active investigations, trend analysis, and public outreach and awareness efforts. During 2006, IC3 referred 86,279 complaints of crime to law enforcement agencies of all levels around the country for further consideration. By a wide margin, most cases were fraudulent in nature and involved a financial loss on the part of the complainant. According to the report, the total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $198.44 million, with a median dollar loss of $724 per complaint.

Internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense, comprising 44.9 percent of referred complaints. E-mail and Web pages were the two primary media through which fraudulent contact took place. Of individuals who reported a dollar loss, the highest median losses were found among Nigerian letter fraud ($5,100), check fraud ($3,744), and other investment fraud ($2,694).

The IC3 is a joint project of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. To view the entire 2006 Internet Fraud Crime Report, visit www.ic3.gov/media/annualreports.aspx.


IACP Retired Chiefs Section

The Retired Chiefs Section encourages all retired members of the association to become active in the association by volunteering their time, energy, and talents to the IACP. Retired members have a wealth of experience and knowledge and can make an important contribution to law enforcement. Whether assisting in a specific project or as a committee member, retired volunteers have an opportunity to give back to our association and those that have followed them into the profession. The association welcomes the historical perspective and continuity that retired members can provide.

Please consider volunteering to help your association; the IACP Web site, www.theiacp.org, lists examples of ways you can help. For more information on the Retired Chiefs Section, please contact Elizabeth Currier at currierb@theiacp.org.


National Law Enforcement Museum Is Moving Forward

Plans to build the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C., have moved one step closer to completion following a favorable ruling by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). On April 5, 2007, the commission commented favorably upon a revised concept design for the museum, to be located underground in Judiciary Square, adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the District of Columbia Courts complex. The aboveground elements of the project include entrance pavilions, perimeter security, skylights, and landscaping. NCPC staff believes that the proposed architectural and urban designs resolve various functional issues while responding to both the objectives of the Judiciary Square Master Plan and the security needs of the D.C. Courts.

“We are very pleased that the National Capital Planning Commission has given approval to our design, as we continue to move forward with this living legacy and tribute to American law enforcement,” said Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which is leading the museum project. “Not only will the National Law Enforcement Museum be a major addition to the District of Columbia’s cultural community, it will also enrich the beauty of Judiciary Square, the historic center of our nation’s criminal justice system.”

Groundbreaking for the museum is scheduled for summer 2008. The National Law Enforcement Museum will be the largest and most comprehensive museum of its kind when it opens in 2011. The 90,000-square-foot facility will be a high-tech, interactive experience featuring driving and use-of-force training simulators, a forensics laboratory, and a 911 emergency call center. The museum is being designed by renowned Washington, D.C., architect Davis Buckley, who also designed the memorial.

Legislation authorizing the National Law Enforcement Museum to be built on federal land was passed by Congress and signed into law by U.S. president Bill Clinton in November 2000. The NCPC provides overall planning guidance for federal land and buildings in the National Capital Region.

To learn more about the National Law Enforcement Museum, visit www.lawenforcementmuseum.org.


Help Prevent Online Sexual Exploitation

The U.S. Department of Justice, together with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Ad Council, is starting a new phase of its online sexual exploitation public-service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate teenage girls about the potential dangers of posting and sharing personal information online.

In preparing the current PSA campaign, researchers identified various public attitudes toward the problem of online sexual exploitation, as well as statistical information regarding teenage use of social-networking sites. When police executives speak to community groups about Internet safety, a familiarity with this research can be helpful.

Popular sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Sconex make it easier for teens to post and share personal information, pictures, and videos, which may make them more vulnerable to online predators. Teenage girls are particularly at risk of online sexual exploitation: a recent study by University of New Hampshire researchers for NCMEC found that approximately one in seven youths receives a sexual solicitation or approach over the Internet, and 70 percent were girls. The University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center also found that among youths ages 10 to 17 who use the Internet regularly, 34 percent had posted their real name, telephone numbers, or home address, and 45 percent had posted their real age.

Another study, conducted by Cox Communications, shows that 61 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have a personal profile on social-networking sites such as MySpace, Friendster, or Xanga. In addition, the study found that half of these have posted pictures of themselves online and that one out of five teens reported that it is safe (i.e., provided survey responses of “somewhat safe” or “very safe”) to share personal information on a public blog or networking site. Of the 13- to 17-year-olds surveyed, 37 percent said they are “not very concerned” or “not at all concerned” about someone using personal information they have posted online in ways they have not approved.

This PSA campaign is designed to reach teenage girls and deliver the vital message not to post identity-revealing information or photos of themselves online that could put them at risk for abduction or exploitation. The PSA campaign includes television, radio, magazine, and Web advertising ads that encourage girls to “think before you post.” The Think Before You Post campaign sends a strong reminder to children and their parents to be cautious when posting personal information online, because “anything you post, anyone can see: family, friends, and even not-so-friendly people.”

Previous campaign work has focused on increasing awareness of parents and guardians about the prevalence of online sexual exploitation and on preventing girls from forming inappropriate online relationships with adult men in an effort to reduce their risk of sexual exploitation and abduction.

The PSA campaign seeks to educate teens that the Internet is not “private” but rather a public place, and social-networking profiles and blogs release information that anyone can find, including those with bad intentions. All of the public-service advertisements direct audiences to visit www.cybertipline.com to get tips for preventing online sexual exploitation or to report an incident. New advertisements have now been distributed to television and radio stations nationwide and can be viewed on the Ad Council’s Web site at www.adcouncil.org.


Addressing Cyberbullying with Teenagers

Most teenagers spend considerable time on a cellular telephone or an instant messenger chatting with friends and uploading photos, videos, and music to Web sites. Many have online friends whom they have never met in person. The typical teen experience takes place in school hallways, at part-time jobs, and at friends’ houses, and unfortunately, bullies can emerge in any of these venues.

As the teen experience has evolved to include a presence on the Internet, bullying has followed teens online. Teens can use computers, cellular telephones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. In their outreach efforts with teens, police officers can discuss some tips to stopping cyberbullying and staying cybersafe.

Commonly, cyberbullies assume a false identity when online to spread lies and rumors about victims, trick people into revealing personal information, send or forward unfriendly or hurtful text messages, and post pictures of victims without their consent.

According to a 2006 Harris Interactive Cyberbullying Research Report, when teens were asked why they think others cyberbully, 81 percent said that cyberbullies think it’s funny. Most cyberbullies do not expect to be caught and do not consider their behavior to be inappropriate. Whatever cyberbullies may believe, their behavior is a big deal to the victim.

The National Crime Prevention Council has developed information to combat this growing problem. Stop Cyberbullying Before It Starts provides useful information for police officers to share with parents and schools during their outreach programs.1

For more information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council Web site at www.ncpc.org.

Note:
1National Crime Prevention Council, Stop Cyberbullying Before It Starts, www.ncpc.org/ncpc_cms/Cyberbullying.pdf , April 13, 2007.

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From The Police Chief, vol. 74, no. 5, May 2007. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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