The Weston Police Department has taken another step forward in leading the way in computer forensics investigations.
Through a grant from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the department has acquired approximately $50,000 in computer equipment, cell phones, and training, as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).
Weston Police Sgt. Matt Brodacki and Officer Joe Mogollon will handle forensics investigations with the new equipment. They have been trained and certified to work on technical investigations that involve computer forensics — the examination of legal evidence found in computers and digital storage media.
At a recent selectmen’s meeting, the board authorized First Selectman Gayle Weinstein to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection ICAC Task Force to acknowledge receipt of the grant and the department’s willingness to work on forensics investigations.
Under the grant, the town received several computers and cell phones for forensics work. Earlier this year, the grant allowed Officer Mogollon to attend a five-week Basic Computer Evidence Recovery Training (BCERT) class in Alabama.
He was one of just 24 police officers in the country selected by the U.S. Secret Service to participate in the class, and he received instruction on computer hardware, device imaging solutions, and forensic analysis tools.
Officer Mogollon told the selectmen that computer forensics training is important because as technology grows there are more crimes, such as child pornography and sexual assaults, that deal with computers and cell phones.
The new equipment allows the department to set up a forensics lab in Weston in order to investigate electronic crimes.
Officer Mogollon and Sgt. Brodacki will not only work on Weston cases, but as part of the terms of the memorandum of understanding, they will also work on computer forensics cases outside of Weston.
He further explained that he did not anticipate significant overtime for the work in non-Weston cases because the department has a full complement of officers and shifts should be adequately covered to allow for the forensics work.
Ms. Weinstein said when it comes to the terms of the memorandum of understanding, “there is a lot we get and a lot we have to give.” She said the town gets the equipment and training, and in return is obligated to work for the task force to help solve crimes against children. “Weston is the premier municipality in the state to solve these crimes,” she said.