High-tech Crime Lab Officially Opens in Buffalo

A lot has changed over the years when it comes to criminal investigations. Nowadays, digital evidence can be just as important as physical evidence when it comes to solving a case. A brand new, state-of-the-art forensics lab has just opened in Buffalo...providing high-tech crime fighting techniques to law enforcers throughout Western New York. The Ralph Phillips case could be one that they've been working on.


[Posted on Fri, Sept. 9, 2006]

High-tech Crime Lab Officially Opens in Buffalo
Source: WKBW TV web site (www.wkbw.com)


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Sep 07, 2006 - A lot has changed over the years when it comes to criminal investigations. Nowadays, digital evidence can be just as important as physical evidence when it comes to solving a case. A brand new, state-of-the-art forensics lab has just opened in Buffalo...providing high-tech crime fighting techniques to law enforcers throughout Western New York. The Ralph Phillips case could be one that they've been working on.

From CD's and DVD's...to hard drives...and floppy disks. Nearly every criminal case today involves digital evidence of one kind or another. Kerry Haynes, FBI Exec. Asst. Dir., Science and Technology: "Cell phone, computer, personal digital assistants. Each and every one of these things has a story in it of someone who is a suspect."

The $1.5 million dollar Western New York Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory is now the 12th high tech lab in the country...taking up three floors at the Erie County Central Police Services Campus. Analysts here handle a wide variety of cases... Laurie Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Buffalo FBI Office: "From fraud to murder from child pornography to extortion from gang violence to terrorism."

They start by carefully taking in the evidence...then examining internal clues. It's an intricate job..one that requires specialized training. Anthony DiClemente, FBI Section Chief, Digital Evidence: "You really need to know what you're doing because you don't want to harm that system. So you need to do that in a digitally sound manner."

Digital evidence has been used to prosecute high profile cases .. from the Enron scandal to the BTK killer. Is evidence in the search for Ralph Bucky Phillips being analyzed at this new WNY lab? "We can not comment on that." But U.S. Attorney Terry Flynn will talk about the work that's been done here to catch child molesters...and he has this warning: "Beware when you use your cell phone, when you text message, when you turn on that computer. If you honestly think that you're not being looked at..if you're looking at photographs of children, you're kidding yourself."

The R-C-F-L lab is a collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcers. So far, Niagara Falls is the only municipality to have a police officer permanently assigned to the lab. Officials hope others will soon come on board.

Original Article on the WKBW Web Site ]