NJ RCFL History

To gain a deeper appreciation of the importance of having a Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory (RCFL) in New Jersey, it is helpful to have an understanding of the evolution of computer forensics, a relatively new discipline that involves the application of science and engineering to the problem of digital evidence. In 1984, the FBI launched their first computer forensic initiative with the “Magnetic Media Program” which conducted forensic examinations on just three cases for the entire year. Today, the situation is much different. Criminals are using high technology in unprecedented numbers to develop and maintain their illegal enterprises. As a result, traditional offenses such as financial and commercial crimes are being automated, and the paper trail is now an electronic trail with records that are coded, encrypted or stored. It takes the special expertise of a computer forensics examiner to find, decipher and interpret this data. However, law enforcement agencies on levels of government, usually don't have enough of these technical experts on staff to meet the demand. That is why the RCFL program was initially created, and why it is playing such an important role in building this capacity across the Nation.

In 1999, the FBI joined forces with area federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and opened the first RCFL in San Diego, CA. This was a great success, and since then, the FBI, in cooperation with their partners in law enforcement, have established RCFLs in Dallas (North Texas RCFL), San Diego (San Diego RCFL), Kansas City (Heart of America RCFL), Portland (Northwest RCFL), Denver (Rocky Mountain RCFL), Menlo Park (Silicon Valley RCFL), Chicago (Chicago RCFL), Houston (Greater Houston RCFL), Philadelphia (Philadelphia RCFL), Salt Lake City (Intermountain West RCFL), Buffalo (Western New York RCFL), Kentucky (Kentucky RCFL), Albuquerque (New Mexico RCFL), and Orange County (Orange County RCFL).

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III stated, “The RCFL Program is a critical component in our efforts to support state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide. By combining the extraordinary talents and resources of law enforcement agencies at all levels, our ability to investigate criminals and detect and prevent acts of terrorism becomes considerably more robust.”