Warsaw Police Department was given the go-ahead to purchase software, equipment and attend training to keep up with the change in technology and the public use of mobile devices. The total cost is $23,870.92.
The approval was given at Friday Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety.
Upon completion of the specialized training, Warsaw Police will be one of three agencies in Northern Indiana capable of extracting necessary data from mobile devices needed in the investigation of criminal cases. South Bend, Fort Wayne and the Indiana State Police are already using such programs.
Because of the limited number of examiners providing such service there is up to an eight-month backlog to have evidence extracted.
Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker presented the special claims to the commission, with Det. Jordan Foreman present to explain the advantages of the request. “This will put us head and shoulder’s above other communities,” it was stated.
The department requested the program and software purchase and training in the Lantern Certified Examiners Course, the Cellbrite Certified Logistical/Physical Analyst Course and Oxygen Course. Because the Lantern program will only operate in on a Mac computer, a new laptop will need to be purchased. Whitaker noted over $11,000 of the total cost would be for equipment purchase, travel expenses and training fees.
Mayor Joe Thallemer stated Foreman expressed an interest in the technology training and brought the recommendation to the city.
Foreman stated these three programs will allow police investigators to take mobile data needed in an investigation – whether entire phone information or in part. This would be done with the owners consent, a court order or subpoena.
It was explained presently the devices have to be taken to examiners in South Bend, Fort Wayne or the ISP. “You have to know what you are looking for,” stated Foreman. “You can’t drop it off, hook it up and pull information off and walk away,” he stated noting currently an investigator must be present when the process is done, “or you don’t get (what you need) otherwise. This will step up our investigations.”
Foreman also stated this procedure is admissible in court if the extractor has gone through training and learned the standards to go on the witness stand in a court of law.
It was explained all three programs do different things, however, the Lantern program is the only program used for Macintosh devices, while the oxygen suit can be used on Androids and can obtain information information the other two programs cannot.
Whitaker noted an attempt was made last year to receive a grant for the software, but was unsuccessful. “We don’t want to wait longer by sending it off and trusting someone else.” Foreman noted being able to do the process locally will additionally help with the chain of command of evidence. “The evidence would never leave the department,” he stated.
Legal precedent has already been established with the use of the programs and the software is updated daily and/or weekly. Cellbrite charges a $3,800 a year maintenance feel.