Frequently Asked Questions

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.

What is a RCFL?

It's one stop, full service forensics laboratory and training center devoted to the examination of digital evidence. - Read More

What do RCFL's do exactly?

They conduct forensics examinations of digital media, such as computers, PDAs, and digital cameras, in support of an investigation and/or prosecution of a federal, state or local crime.

What types of crimes does an RCFL help investigate?

RCFL investigations span all types of criminal activity including:

  • Terrorism
  • Child Pornography
  • Crimes of Violence
  • Trade Secret Theft
  • Theft or Destruction to Intellectual Property
  • Internet Crimes
  • Fraud
  • Financial Crimes
  • Property Crimes

When was the first RCFL opened?

The first RCFL was established in San Diego, California in 1999, and a second site opened shortly thereafter in Dallas, Texas in 2000. Today, 14 RCFLs are in operation - click here to view a map of their locations. - Read More

How does the RCFL accept cases?

RCFLs examine evidence submitted in criminal investigations only. All examinations regardless of submitting agency are prioritized according to published criteria. While requests for direct technical support are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, the RCFL responds as resources permit.

How much does it cost to establish an RCFL?

RCFL start-up costs vary from site to site depending upon the number of personnel assigned, real estate costs, and site preparation/renovation.

What are the primary forensics responsibilities of an RCFL?

These responsibilities include:

  • Conduct a comprehensive examination of digital evidence
  • Provide a complete and timely report to the contributor
  • Provide testimony as needed
  • Act as a regional focal point for digital evidence issues

Computer Forensics Examiners can extract information from a computer system or digital media and can often recover deleted, encrypted, or damaged files. Any or all of this information may be useful during discovery, hearings or trials.

In brief, what do I need to do to submit evidence for review by the RCFL?

RCFL customers fall into either the participating agency group or the non-participating group. Depending on which group you are in will determine how you will submit evidence, as follows:

  • Participating Agencies - Should automatically submit an online Request for Service form and forward their evidence to the laboratory.
  • Non-Participating Agencies - Should submit an online Request for Service form and retain their evidence until otherwise instructed by the laboratory.

Employment Opportunities FAQ's

The following are frequently asked questions regarding employment with the RCFL Program:

How can I apply for a position with an RCFL?

The RCFL is a cooperative partnership where law enforcement agencies detail individuals to work on a full time basis. The RCFL does not hire individuals to work in these digital evidence laboratories. The individuals who are gainfully employed by one of the Participating Agencies are eligible to apply for a position within the RCFL. Candidates are nominated by their agency with the understanding that they will detail the candidate for a specific time period (usually two years). If someone is interested in joining an RCFL, they should first seek career opportunities with the Participating Agencies at the nearest RCFL.

If someone is employed by one of the Participating Agencies, can they still apply for a detail even if they don't have a background in computers or forensics?

Yes. Although having a computer forensics background is advantageous, this should not preclude someone from applying. The willingness to learn, be a team player, and a commitment to the RCFL's mission, are all important considerations in the hiring process.

How much training does each individual need?

Each new detailee is evaluated as they come on board an RCFL to determine how much training he/she needs in order to receive the FBI certification. That assessment serves as the basis for a training plan. Each Examiner trainee receives approximately seven weeks of training during their first year.