FBI Opens New Digital Forensics Laboratory in Massachusetts

The site is located inside the FBI Boston Division headquarters and will provide its services and support to law enforcement agencies throughout New England, including New Hampshire.

by Paul Feely, The New Hampsire Union Leader / July 24, 2019
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(TNS) — A new Federal Bureau of Investigation-sponsored digital forensics laboratory has opened in Massachusetts, officials announced this week.

The New England Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (NERCFL) — only the 17th such lab of its kind operating in the United States — is devoted entirely to examining digital evidence, such as computers and cell phones, officials said in a statement. The facility, located in Chelsea, Mass., will also serve as a training center.

“This new, state-of-the-art laboratory will allow the FBI to expand our forensic capabilities and provide our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners with access to cutting-edge technology in order to address the growing number of cases involving digital media,” Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said in a statement. “By combining the extraordinary talents and resources of our partners, we’re increasing our ability to share information and stay on top of current threats.”

The site is located inside the FBI Boston Division headquarters and will provide its services and support to law enforcement agencies throughout New England, including New Hampshire, said Bruce Hartung director of the New England RCFL.

“We can provide services and support for agencies across New Hampshire,” said Hartung. “Any law enforcement agency in the state will have the opportunity to use the lab. We also plan on offering classes at the facility.”

The FBI provides the facility, equipment, training, and operational funding, including overtime for the NERCFL and its participating agencies, while those agencies assign personnel to help staff the laboratory.

The NERCFL will have about 12 FBI certified forensic examiners. The facility will be seeking accreditation from the American National Standards Institute National Accreditation Board, officials said.

“This new, state-of-the-art laboratory will allow the FBI to expand our forensic capabilities and provide our federal, state and local law enforcement partners with access to cutting-edge technology in order to address the growing number of cases involving digital media,” said Bonavolonta. “By combining the extraordinary talents and resources of our partners, we’re increasing our ability to share information and stay on top of current threats.”

The FBI spends approximately $165,000 on training and equipment for each forensic examiner. In return, they receive sophisticated technical training resulting in Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) Certification as a forensic examiner, access to the most technologically advanced digital equipment available, access to digital forensics examination and advisory services, broad experience in a variety of digital forensics cases, and have a stake in the management of the RCFL.

“The New England Regional Computer Forensics Lab is another tool the ATF and our law enforcement partners will now have in combating violent crime. Access to high quality digital forensics will enhance our abilities to put away criminals and make our communities safer,” said Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

©2019 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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