An RCFL is a one stop, full service forensics laboratory and training center devoted entirely to the examination of digital evidence in support of criminal investigations such as—
- Child Pornography
- Crimes of Violence
- Trade secret theft
- Theft or destruction to intellectual property
- Financial crime
- Property crime
- Internet crimes
RCFL Examiners combine the talents and experience of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Normally, an RCFL consists of 15 people: 12 of the staff members are Examiners and 3 staff members support the RCFL. The RCFL's duties may include—
- Seizing and collecting digital evidence at a crime scene
- Conducting an impartial examination of submitted computer evidence
- Testifying as required.
What is Digital Forensics?
Digital forensics is the application of science and engineering to the recovery of digital evidence in a legally acceptable method. Examiners use digital investigation and analysis techniques to determine potential legal evidence by applying their skills on a variety of software programs, different operating systems, varying hard drives sizes, and specific technologies. Examiners are capable of locating deleted, encrypted or damaged file information that may serve as evidence in a criminal or terrorism investigation.
RCFL National Program Office
In 2002, the FBI established the RCFL National Program Office (NPO) to oversee the operations of the RCFLs, and to facilitate the creation of new facilities. Additionally, the NPO supports the laboratories by —
- Providing technical assistance to ensure consistent quality management of each laboratory
- Institutionalizing the policies, practices, and legal processes regarding the establishment and governance of RCFLs
- Cultivating working relationships between law enforcement, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies by serving as a national clearinghouse for the exchange and dissemination of information among these entities
- Serving as an advocate for the Program before key constituent groups
- Working with the FBI and other government agencies to develop new digital evidence forensics tools
- Developing training curricula for digital evidence Examiners and law enforcement officers
- Coordinating and communicating training initiatives and tool development efforts for use by the law enforcement community.
Local Executive Board (LEB)
For each RCFL service area, the Local Executive Board's mission is to support the RCFL's operations and to ensure its long-term viability. This is being accomplished through an open forum, where representatives from each of the Participating Agencies can openly discuss and exchange information about any policy, procedure, practice and/or rule affecting the day-to-day operations of the RCFL. The LEB is also charged with identifying independent funding sources through its General Treasury Agency, and with seeking the participation of other agencies, to ensure the RCFL's continued, long-term success.