Computer technology now encompasses mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktops, and more. As an investigator, you need a working knowledge of this technology, its application to criminal activities, and the issues associated with investigating these cases. Learn more
Digital evidence is everywhere. From security camera footage that shows a suspect entering a building to a teenager’s cell phone that shows how many times she (unwittingly) texted a registered sex offender—it’s all potential evidence. Learn more
As technology continues to cast its shadow on nearly every case, are you as prepared for court as you should be? As a prosecutor, are you aware of the latest case law for authenticating emails, chats, and other digital evidence? Learn more
Information available on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has the potential to impact every area of an investigation. With the right skills, you can find information about suspects, victims, witnesses and possible co-conspirators. Learn more
Volatile data is data that requires power to maintain its existence. If power is removed from a device, the volatile data is erased and gone forever. As an on-scene investigator, it’s likely that you are often faced with processing live crime scenes. Learn more
From Bits and Bytes to Friends and Likes
SEARCH has a long-standing national program of providing mission-critical training and technical assistance to law enforcement, including Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force members.
Since the mid-1980s, when we first created the National Criminal Justice Computer Laboratory and Training Center, we have trained thousands of investigators. One of our first courses was called Data Processing for Law Enforcement Managers. It presented course content that was critical to investigators who were just beginning to use computers, and also was one of the few ‘high-tech’ courses then available to law enforcement.
As technology reaches into nearly all areas of our lives, law enforcement officers are challenged to maintain the skills and tools needed to conduct thorough investigations. Breaks in a case often come only at the expense of perpetrators who make mistakes. But investigators who are unfamiliar with digital evidence can overlook even these kinds of breaks. That is why we are committed to developing and offering courses that help to digitally empower today’s law enforcement community.
“I had never taken a cell phone data recovery class before and had only received informal training on the job. This was an excellent introduction to the tools used in extracting data from mobile devices and will serve me well in the future.”
“The course was very well constructed and professionally presented. The tools I have at my disposal now will have an incredible impact on my assignment and my agency.”
“I thought the class was fantastic. I learned more about online searching in the last two days than I have in the last 18 years.”
Mr. Timothy Lott is Director of the High-Tech Crime Training Services Program of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. He oversees 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 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. 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).
Mr. 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.
Ms. 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.