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Investigating and Prosecuting Crimes Against Children Is Focus of SEARCH High-Tech Training Efforts in Dallas


SEARCH’s High-Tech Crime Training Services team is in Dallas, Texas, the week of August 7 to present workshops and hands- on computer laboratory sessions at the 2017 Crimes Against Children Conference.

The annual event, which is marking its 29th year, is cosponsored by the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and the Dallas Police Department. It provides training to professionals involved in investigations, prosecution, and treatment of crimes against children, particularly involving technology and Internet-related crime.

The keynote speaker for the 2017 event is Patty Wetterling, a nationally recognized educator on child abduction and sexual exploitation of children. She co-founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center and Team HOPE, a national support group for families of missing children.

According to conference officials, the 2016 event drew an all-time high attendance of 4,200 participants from all 50 states and 30 countries from the fields of law enforcement, child protective services, social work, children’s advocacy, therapy, and medicine—all of whom work directly with child victims of crime.

SEARCH is a Training Partner at the event, held August 7–10, and is presenting these computer labs and workshop lectures, some of which were limited to law enforcement and prosecution agency personnel:

Monday, Aug. 7

Computer Lab: SEARCH has offered technology-driven solutions to the law enforcement community for more than 40 years. This lab session will explore the cutting-edge services and products SEARCH uses to aid investigators in crimes with digital evidence. These resources also provide guidance on using technology to corroborate evidence in traditional crimes. Topics include the new SEARCH add-on (a replacement for the SEARCH Investigative Toolbar), available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari; the SEARCH Internet Service Provider (ISP) List to find legal contacts for investigative purposes; technology guides that cover current investigative trends; and our online video presentation series, webinar offerings, and podcast series.

Target Audience: Open to Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation and Parole only

Workshop: Everyone with a Google account has access to a robust history of information through Google Dashboard, My Activity, and Google Takeout:

  • Google Dashboard shows information such as search history, location history, and payments profile, and if the user has an Android phone, investigators can even see what apps are installed and track the phone’s location live.
  • My Activity will show all of the Google Account information in a chronological order.
  • Google Takeout allows a Google Account user to download a copy of their Google data.

While most of this history and tracking information can be disabled or deleted, much of it is on by default and users are not aware to go delete it. This makes Google Dashboard, My Activity, and Google Takeout powerful tools for law enforcement if they can convince a suspect to hand over the login credentials to their Google Accounts on consent. This lecture will address both how to access this data and legal considerations associated with Google user data.

Target Audience: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation, Parole

Computer Lab: Facebook is the largest worldwide social media website and contains a substantial amount of potential investigative information. Facebook information can be searched in three separate and distinct ways:

  • First, a Facebook graph search uses specific targeted terms that, when used correctly, can show investigative material. The instructors will demonstrate how graph search works, and explain how syntax—the structure of the search keywords and phrases—is vital to a successful search.
  • The second method is to use URL manipulations. Once a Facebook profile has been identified, these URL manipulations can show content from this target, such as photo comments, video likes, and comparisons with friends. These URL manipulations are specific and offer information beyond what can be found simply by looking at someone’s profile.
  • The third method uses Google advanced and Boolean operators to search on Facebook in a broader sense. Constructing a good keyword string is crucial to ensuring that investigative material is found. The instructors will demonstrate examples of specific syntax that investigators should use.

Target Audience: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation, Parole

Tuesday, Aug. 8

Computer Lab:  The Windows Forensic Environment (WinFE) is a new bootable forensic environment. WinFE does not mount the suspect’s hard drive, which will allow investigators to operate in a traditional Windows environment and run their preview tools against a suspect computer. This lab and lecture will provide attendees with the skills and software necessary to create a WinFE image, which can be booted by either CD or USB device. Attendees will also have the opportunity to practice booting a “suspect computer” with their WinFE and run preview tools. **Note: Due to Windows licensing rules, attendees will create their CD and USB thumb drives using a 30-day evaluation copy of Windows.

Target Audience: Open to Law Enforcement Only

Workshop:  The “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to physical devices having the capability to connect to the Internet to send and receive signals and data. As technology evolves into every facet of our daily lives, it is important that MDTs develop an understanding of what devices are IoT-capable and potentially what information may be recoverable to assist in investigations, prosecutions, or adjudications. Attendees will learn what devices are currently IoT-capable, emerging technology for IoT, and ways to detect what may be contained on IoT devices. The session will also address issues of search and seizure for IoT devices.

Target Audience: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation, Parole

Workshop:  Social media is a common part of everyday life, so there is little surprise that it has become commonplace to investigations. However, there are capabilities within social media websites that are little-known within the Crimes Against Children community. This lecture will detail how you can use three specific social media searches to enhance the investigation and prosecution of cases. Topics discussed include: using the geocode: search in Twitter to find tweets from a specific latitude and longitude; using site: in Google to search specific social media websites; and using URL manipulations in Facebook to find photo likes and comments from a target profile.

Target Audience: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation, Parole, VA, CPS, CAC

Computer Lab: This computer lab, designed specifically for prosecutors, will introduce software and methodologies they can use. Topics include:

  • Firefox add-ons, such as Video Downloadhelper (to save videos from YouTube and other websites), and Screengrab (to save or copy websites);
  • Google searching techniques (Boolean operators) to make searching for information much for efficient and reliable;
  • Google advanced operators, such as site: (to search only particular websites) and filetype: (to search only particular filetypes);
  • Google services, such as Images (to search only images, as well as reverse-image searching techniques) and Scholar (to search only legal journals);
  • Google data that investigators can view in ‘Dashboard’ and ‘My Activity’; and
  • Other software, including Jing (screenshot and screencast software), VLC (for playing movies), Irfanview (for viewing images), and Audacity (for audio editing).

Target Audience: Open to Prosecutors Only

Computer Lab: This lab, designed specifically for prosecutors, will explore various social networking sites and potential evidence recoverable from those sites for the use in child maltreatment cases. Participants will learn various techniques they can use to not only identify profiles of people involved in the case, but also use the connections between people to explore more potential corroborative evidence.

Target Audience: Open to Prosecutors Only

Wed, Aug. 9

Computer Lab:  Autopsy® is an automated environment that has the core analysis features needed by law enforcement to conduct an investigation of digital media, such as hard drives, memory cards, or mobile devices. Autopsy®, developed by Basis Technology and an open source community, is available for free. Participants will receive an introduction to the software and how they can use it during their investigations to assist with the recovery of digital evidence. This lab requires participants to have a basic understanding of computer forensics.

Target Audience: Open to Law Enforcement Only

Computer Lab:  This lab will teach students how to effectively use Google to filter search results to relevant and useable information. Participants will complete hands-on exercises using Google Boolean and advanced Operators.

Target Audience: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation, Parole, VA, Medical, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC

Computer Lab: Twitter has quickly become the go-to medium for today’s instant communication, proven by the fact that there are 5,000 tweets per second. This hands-on lab will introduce searching of Twitter profiles, tweet keywords and hashtags, tweets within a particular date range, and even tweets from a particular latitude and longitude. These Twitter searching techniques will include both standard and hidden Boolean operators, ensuring that investigators have access to the best possible evidence.

Target Audience: All attendees

Workshop:  As the Internet continues to evolve, new layers populate where offenders commit criminal offenses. One such area is known as the “Dark Net.” Participants will learn how the Dark Net works and how potential criminal activity is facilitated on the Dark Net is crucial to investigating and prosecuting child exploitation cases. In addition, new software applications are being added to mobile phones and tablets daily. This presentation will demonstrate several of the newer applications for mobile devices that are popular for teenagers. Participants will learn about vault applications and the ability to secretly store information.

Target Audience: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Probation, Parole, VA, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC

SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Services staff presenting at the 2017 CCAC are:


Timothy Lott

Director, High-Tech Crime Training Services


Justin T. Fitzsimmons

Program Manager, High-Tech Crime Training Services


Dean Chatfield

High-Tech Crime Training Specialist


Lauren Wagner

High-Tech Crime Training Specialist

Photos from the Conference

 Justin Fitzsimmons, SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Services Program Manager, addresses participants in an Aug. 7 workshop on “Google User Services: What You Didn’t Know Was Out There”

It’s a full house at an Aug. 7 SEARCH computer lab on “Facebook Advanced Searching and Saving Techniques” at the 2017 Conference on Crimes Against Children in Dallas. This lab is being led by SEARCH staff Justin Fitzsimmons and Lauren Wagner.

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Timothy Lott

TimLottMr. Timothy Lott is Director of the High-Tech Crime Training Services Program of SEARCH, overseeing a national program that provides expert technical assistance and training to local, state, and federal justice and public safety agencies on successfully conducting electronic crimes investigations.

These courses focus on teaching how to investigate Internet and computer crimes, online child exploitation, cellular devices, and social networking sites, and the proper search and seizure of home and small office networks. The High-Tech Crime Training Services team led by Mr. Lott also provides hands-on assistance in systems security and computer forensics.

Mr. Lott also serves as Director of Operations for SEARCH, responsible for managing, coordinating, and leading all financial and administrative functions for the organization. This includes advising the SEARCH executive team and Board of Directors on financial matters; overseeing corporate accounting, bookkeeping, and employee benefits; coordinating annual audits, and grant proposal and reporting submissions; preparing budgets and contracts; and maintaining staff policies and procedures, among other duties.

Mr. Lott joined SEARCH in 2010 as a High-Tech Crime Training Specialist. He coordinated and provided training on high-tech crime investigations and forensics; provided technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in active cases; prepared training curricula; and presented at conferences throughout the United States. He was promoted to his current position in 2011.

Mr. Lott previously worked for 6 years as a Deputy Probation Officer for the Sacramento County (California) Department of Probation, and another 2 years as a Probation Assistant. He was assigned to the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force, and helped conduct multijurisdictional investigations involving white-collar crime, organized crime, crimes against persons, and fraud when high-technology or identity theft is a factor. He also supervised a caseload of adult and juvenile probationers.

His assignment on the Task Force required him to conduct probation compliance checks on offenders who had been convicted and placed on probation for offenses involving the possession of child pornography, stalking via social networking sites or cell phones, and identity theft. In August 2009, Mr. Lott was cross-designated as a Special Deputy United States Marshal.

Mr. Lott is a member of the American Probation and Parole Association, American Criminal Justice Association, and High Technology Crime Investigation Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from California State University-Sacramento, and a master’s degree in Forensic Studies – Computer Forensics concentration from Stevenson University. He is a certified Instructor through the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), Robert Presley Institute of Criminal Investigation / Instructor Development Institute (ICI/IDI).

Justin Fitzsimmons

JustinFitzsimmonsMr. Justin Fitzsimmons is a Program Manager in the High-Tech Crime Training Services (HTCTS) department of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. He helps coordinate training with law enforcement agencies, prepares budgets, oversees the HTCTS project staff, and develops high-tech crime training projects for justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies nationwide. He also conducts legal, policy, and regulatory research, prepares white papers, and provides assistance and instructional services to justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies, particularly in digital evidence recovery, investigation, and prosecution.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is conducting a national research effort to determine the current capabilities of law enforcement to investigate crimes with digital evidence and make recommendations to decision-makers about resources to assist law enforcement. He also presents at conferences and trainings, participates on advisory committees and task forces, and supports agencies and jurisdictions as they create and implement effective procedures, practices, and technology applications that seek to combat high-tech crime and recover digital evidence.

Before joining SEARCH in 2012, Mr. Fitzsimmons worked for the National District Attorneys Association, where he was Senior Attorney for its National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse beginning in 2009. He responded to requests for assistance in child sexual exploitation cases from prosecutors and law enforcement around the United States, designed and presented training seminars, and published articles on emerging technological issues in child sexual exploitation. From 1998–2009, he was an assistant state’s attorney (ASA) in the State’s Attorney’s Offices for Kane and DuPage Counties, Illinois, where he prosecuted cases involving sexual exploitation and digital evidence. As an ASA for Kane County, he supervised the Special Prosecution Unit, responsible for investigating and prosecuting felony cases, including Internet crimes against children. He was also assigned to a Child Advocacy Center team that investigated and prosecuted cases of severe physical and sexual abuse against children, crimes of Internet solicitation of children, and child pornography. As an ASA for DuPage County, he worked in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau and the Felony Domestic Violence Unit.

Mr. Fitzsimmons frequently presents and teaches at international, national, and regional conferences, workshops, webinars, and training courses on digital evidence collection, computer forensics, crimes against children, cybercrime, and human trafficking. He has published articles on digital evidence authentication, computer forensics for prosecutors, child sexual exploitation, and more. In addition, he has drafted legislation that was signed into law in Illinois on several technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation issues from 2006–08.

Mr. Fitzsimmons was a member of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) National Strategy Working Group on Child Exploitation and co-chaired its Training Subcommittee. He also participated in the DOJ Office for Victims of Crime Working Group on Restitution for Victims of Child Pornography, the FBI Innocence Lost Working Group, and the Internet Child Exploitation Task Force. He has served as faculty of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, Huntsville, Alabama, and for the North-East Metropolitan Regional Training Center, Police Training, Aurora, Illinois.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio.

Lauren Wagner

LaurenWagnerMs. Lauren Wagner is a High-Tech Crime Training Specialist in the High-Tech Crime Training Services department of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, where she coordinates and provides training on high-tech crime investigations and forensics to local, state and federal justice and public safety agencies. She provides technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in active cases, prepares training curricula, teaches SEARCH investigative courses and speaks at conferences throughout the United States. She has also authored and coauthored various high-tech crime investigative guides, which have been published by SEARCH.

Ms. Wagner previously worked as a Research Analyst for SEARCH, focusing on research and development projects on integrated justice information systems planning and implementation using the Justice Information Exchange Model (JIEM™) tool. She also worked on managing the online state and local integration profiles as part of SEARCH’s justice and public safety Information Sharing Initiatives program.

Ms. Wagner first joined SEARCH in 2005 as a student intern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Allegheny College, a master’s degree in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven (UNH), and a master’s certificate in Forensic Computer Investigation from UNH.

She also has her Network Plus Certification, and is a certified Instructor through the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), Robert Presley Institute of Criminal Investigation / Instructor Development Institute (ICI/IDI). In 2009, Ms. Wagner was awarded the California POST ICI Award for Excellence in Instruction. In 2011, she completed and was certified in the Intermediate Level (Level II) of the California POST IDI Master Instructor program. She then completed and was certified in the Advanced Instructor Development Level (Level III) of this Master Instructor program in 2012. 

Dean C. Chatfield

DeanChatfieldMr. Dean Chatfield is a High-Tech Crime Training Specialist in the High-Tech Crime Training Services department of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. He coordinates and provides training on digital evidence investigations and forensics to local, state, and federal justice agencies. He also provides technical assistance to justice agencies in active cases, prepares training curricula and other resource materials, teaches SEARCH investigative courses, and speaks at conferences throughout the United States. 

Before joining SEARCH in 2013, Mr. Chatfield worked for the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) for 14 years, first as a computer crime specialist, then as a Supervisory Computer Crime Specialist. He presented basic and advanced cyber investigative and computer forensic courses to local, state, federal, military and international law enforcement agencies; researched computer forensics issues; and provided advice to law enforcement agencies in computer seizure and analysis. As Supervisor of the NW3C Computer Crime Section, he managed 26 computer crime specialists and 7 support staff and developed curriculum for 16 cyber and forensic courses. He researched existing and new technology to enhance the courses and managed software development of NW3C products, including PerpHound™. He was NCW3C’s liaison with Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit on various projects, including programming of MS COFEE versions 1.1.2 and 2.1 (Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor). 

Mr. Chatfield has 25 years of experience in law enforcement. He was a Criminal Investigator for the Maricopa County (Arizona) Attorney’s Office for 13 years, where he conducted major felony investigations, including criminal enterprises, financial crimes, political corruption, and analysis of computers and computer-generated data. He also was Chief of the Mancos (Colorado) Police Department for 6 years, and began his law enforcement career as a Police Officer and Field Training Officer for the Phoenix (Arizona) Police Department. 

Mr. Chatfield is a lifetime member of the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS), a nonprofit organization of volunteer computer forensic professionals dedicated to training and certifying practitioners. He has served on its Board of Directors, as well as its elected President and Vice President. As an IACIS instructor for 5 years, he developed training courses on computer crime investigations and the methodology for seizing and analyzing computer-based evidence. He is a Board member of the American Society of Digital Forensics and eDiscovery (ASDFED) and has been an associate member of the Scientific Working Group for Digital Evidence (SWGDE) since 2005. 

Mr. Chatfield was the first person certified as a Computer Forensics Expert by IACIS in 1992. He was selected to train the Commercial Crime Bureau of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force and NATO Intelligence organizations on computer forensics. He also represented state and local law enforcement on the NIST Computer Forensic Tool Testing committee.