Within the Investigative Division is the Computer Forensic Unit. The Computer Forensic Unit was established in 2003 and is currently comprised of one sworn police officer, who is a detective, and one civilian analyst. The members of Computer Forensic Unit are assigned to the Pennsylvania State Police Central Area Computer Crimes Task Force, as well as the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (l.C.A.C.).
Duties of the Unit
Computer forensics is the act of acquiring, authenticating, analyzing, and reporting digital evidence in a controlled setting. Digital evidence is defined as the storage of evidence on electronic media which may be used in a court setting. Examples of this are:
External hard drives
The Computer Forensic Unit supervises a computer crimes task force currently consisting of five sworn police officers from various Municipal Police Departments in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This task force, known as the Lancaster County Computer Crimes Mutual Aid Task Force, was established in 2011, with the primary purpose of responding to crimes committed through the use of a computer in any of its forms. All of the members assigned to the task force were appointed as special Lancaster County Detectives for the investigation of crimes committed with computers.
Since the establishment of the Computer Forensic Unit and the Lancaster County Computer Crimes Mutual Aid Task Force, several criminal investigations relating to the possession, manufacturing, and/or distribution of illegal child pornography files, images, and videos have been conducted and successfully prosecuted in Lancaster County Court.
In January of 2012, the Computer Forensic Unit added mobile forensics to their duties to better serve the police departments in Lancaster County. With the growing increase in smartphones, this unit realizes that adapting to these changes were crucial to investigations.