TOPEKA – (November 2, 2012) – A new Kansas-based computer forensic laboratory will substantially increase the amount of digital evidence that can be processed in Kansas, resulting in more crimes being solved sooner, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
The Topeka Satellite Laboratory, an affiliated laboratory of the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL), officially opened today at KBI headquarters in Topeka with a joint announcement by AG Schmidt, the FBI, the KBI, the Shawnee County Sheriff and the Topeka Police Department. The facility is the result of collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI).
“This facility will give local law enforcement agencies across Kansas access to critical computer forensic technology available to the FBI and KBI,” Schmidt said. “It will improve the ability of prosecutors and law enforcement officers to get timely analysis of digital evidence regardless of what part of Kansas they serve. Kansas lawmakers and the governor are to be commended for their strong support for this vital public safety function of state government.”
Built with funding recommended by Governor Brownback and appropriated by the Kansas Legislature, the Topeka Satellite Laboratory will initially operate with the FBI’s assistance as an affiliated laboratory of the Heart of America RCFL. It will be staffed with personnel from the KBI and regional law enforcement agencies, including the Shawnee County Sheriff's office and the Topeka Police Department. The FBI is providing training, expertise and certain equipment. After three to five years, the Topeka Satellite will transition to full state control as a KBI laboratory.
The Topeka Satellite Laboratory is the first-of-its-kind “transitional” laboratory in the FBI’s RCFL Program — America's premier digital forensics network, comprising 16 laboratories across the U.S.
AG Schmidt said the purpose of the lab is to support the work of local law enforcement agencies throughout the state, many of which have lacked timely access to scientific analysis of digital evidence, such as computer hard drives, GPS devices or cell phones. He said the new digital laboratory, when fully staffed, would increase from three to 10 the number of digital forensic scientists processing evidence at KBI headquarters in Topeka.
“We live in a world where digital devices are increasingly integrated into every part of our lives - and that's true for criminals as well,” Schmidt said. “If the need for law and order is to keep up with changes in technology, we need the equipment and trained personnel to get the job done. This isn’t NCIS or CSI — in the real world, it takes more than one scientist and a 30-minute TV slot to adequately support criminal investigations, solve crimes and keep Kansans safe.”