The Kentucky State Police have teamed up with Eastern Kentucky University to create a new digital forensics laboratory on the school’s Richmond campus. The laboratory will provide forensic examinations on electronic media for KSP investigators as well as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
“With the widespread use of desktop computers, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and flash drives, most crime now has some type of electronic footprint associated with it,” said Lt. Col Jeff Medley, director of KSP’s Technical Services Division. “This partnership will enhance our ability to process evidence in many areas including child pornography, drug trafficking and homicides while providing students with real life experience in a fast-growing career field.”
“Eastern Kentucky University is known for its experiential learning environments, as well as for being home to the best criminal justice and digital forensics programs for hundreds of miles,” said EKU President Michael T. Benson. “This exciting partnership with the Kentucky State Police brings it all together. Nowhere else can students get this level of hands-on experience and make a real impact on the criminal justice system before graduation.”
Operating as a satellite location of KSP’s Electronic Crime Branch in Frankfort, the facility will be staffed by a KSP sergeant and two full-time computer forensic examiners supported by student interns pursuing bachelor of science degrees in EKU’s Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity Program. It will be located in a 1,000-square-foot space in EKU’s Memorial Science Building and will be equipped with forensic work stations used to duplicate and examine digital evidence such as cellphones, tablets, computer hard drives, flash media and video evidence.
Four students have been selected to participate in the program during the spring 2019 semester. They will work 10-15 hours per week and will earn one hour of course credit for every 80 hours of lab work.
According to Medley, the students will learn day-to-day lab operations and use the latest tools and methods to do mock examinations and research how to extract data from newer technologies.
“Although they won’t be able to work on actual evidence, they will be doing tasks to assist the examiners in their work and learning to duplicate digital evidence, prepare forensic media, test and validate tools and analyze data,” he explained.
“Ultimately, the creation of the lab is a win-win situation for KSP and EKU,” he added. “It provides valuable, real world training for students while helping KSP better serve our troopers and our law enforcement partners in the eastern part of the state through closer proximity.”