Cyber crime has an expansive definition that includes any crime conducted via the Internet, network or digital device. Capturing digital evidence, such as that found on cellular phones, GPS devices, computers, tablets and network servers, is crucial to investigating and solving cyber crimes. Digital evidence now plays a role in virtually every crime, including those thought of as street crimes like homicide, robbery, drug crimes, and theft. Other crimes may occur entirely online, like stalking or identity theft. Strong cyber crime investigative capabilities are necessary for solving both types of crimes.
The chief plays an important role in ensuring officers and investigators are prepared to properly handle these complex crimes and investigations. Considerations chiefs should take into account when overseeing their cyber crime investigations include:
Training patrol officers and investigators on cyber crime protocol
Chiefs should ensure that officers, investigators, and other relevant personnel receive regular training on handling cyber crimes. For more information about available training, please visit the Training page.
Legal issues that pertain to cyber crime
Chiefs need to understand the legal issues relevant to cyber crime. For more information about the legal issues, please talk with your local prosecutor and visit the Legal Issues page.
Cyber crime policies
Departments should develop policies and protocols for handling cyber crime investigations and what to do in case the agency is the victim of a hacking attack.
Cyber crime frequently crosses state and national borders. Chiefs should work with their federal law enforcement partners and local prosecutors to understand the jurisdictional issues involved with cyber crimes.
Creating partnerships with other public or private organizations
Agencies may be able to develop partnerships with other organizations to improve their cyber crime investigations. Chiefs should look into developing ties with other law enforcement agencies and private organizations. Partnerships are particularly important for smaller agencies that may have more limited resources. For example, law enforcement agencies across the country have successfully developed working partnerships with the private sector in a variety of areas. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has several cyber-related partnerships including the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the National Cyber Forensics & Training Alliance. These programs have demonstrated the importance of creating partnerships and the success that can be achieved. Private-public partnerships can enhance resources for both law enforcement and the private sector as well as create a network of contacts. Additional information regarding the FBI’s partnerships can be found here on the FBI website.
Recruiting and developing capable personnel
As cyber crime becomes a larger share of law enforcement agencies’ responsibilities, agencies may need to make a focused effort to hire, train, and retain employees who are capable of handling cyber crime investigations. Chiefs may want to look into developing internship or employment partnerships with local universities, recruiting cyber professionals from the private sector, and identifying and developing employees who are proficient with technology.
Ensuring officer/investigators understand digital evidence
Chiefs need to be aware of the wide variety of digital evidence their officers and investigators handle, and ensure that evidence is properly processed and stored. For more information about digital evidence, please see the Digital Evidence section for Officers.
For more information about cyber crime investigations, please see the Cyber Crime Investigations section for Officers.