Berks County, Pa., DA Eyes Smartphone-Cracking Software

With GrayKey software, detectives would be able to get beyond a password to access information on the phone such as text messages, social media activity, voice mail and times of calls made and received.

by Beth Brelje, Reading Eagle / August 16, 2019
Shutterstock/Tero Vesalainen

(TNS) — The Reading Police Department and Berks County District Attorney's Office are in the process of applying for an annual Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant through the U.S. Department of Justice.

The requested amount, $76,892, will be split between the two agencies with police requesting $61,796 and the district attorney requesting $15,096, a grant application document said.

From those amounts, police will use $59,942 for 1,000 hours in policing overtime. The overtime rate ranges from $57 to $63 per hour for an investigator. Overtime use will be used to proactively combat problems occurring in the city as they arise.

An additional $1,854 will be used to buy software for the National Incident-Based Reporting System for reporting data on crimes.

The district attorney's office will use $453 toward training and overtime costs for a county detective or intelligence analyst to learn how to collect data from the NIBRS program.

The remaining $14,643 will go toward GrayKey software that is used to unlock cell phones. Detectives will be able to get beyond a password to access information on the phone such as text messages, social media activity, voice mail and times of calls made and received.

The grant application is due by the end of August. Reading and Berks County have cooperated on applying for and sharing the grant for years.

Edward Byrne was a New York City Police officer who was murdered by a gang in 1988 while he sat in his marked police car. He was 22 years old.

In honor of his memory, the U.S. Department of Justice started the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The department's Bureau of Justice Assistance administers this program, which allows states and local governments to fund activities to prevent and control crime and to improve the justice system.

©2019 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Platforms & Programs