Troy gets boost in crime-fighting efforts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

Troy University may seem like just a school, but it’s got a whole different side — fighting crime.

And, Troy’s Chief Security and Technology Officer Greg Price was not short of pleased last week to earn a little financial assistance in the crime fighting effort.

The $350,000 grant, secured by Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, will be used for Troy’s Computer Forensics Institute and Lab.

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“It’s a big deal for Alabama because it allows law enforcement in the state an opportunity to receive free training on technology,” Price said. “A lot of cases involve technology in some fashion, and it’s good for the state to gain access.”

Within the forensics institute, opened in February 2008, Price said the school trains state and local law enforcement in using digital evidence, researches the top practice of computer forensics techniques and analyzes electronic evidence for law enforcement agencies.

Some of the agencies may be local, but Price said he has also worked with evidence from the Alabama Bureau of Investigations, the Attorney General’s office and the FBI.

The university has been for three years, though the institute wasn’t formally established until 2008 when funding was secured. In their efforts, the university has been working mainly with the institute on a Cyber Kids Initiative to combat cyber crimes involving children.

“We process all sorts of digital computer evidence, but our area of expertise is Internet crimes against children,” Price said. “It’s an interesting challenge sometimes and an eye opening experience.

“It’s deplorable to see what some folks are capable of.”

In 2008, Price said the school assisted in about 70 cases.

Price said it is important to provide this training so law enforcement officers may be able to handle some of the technical investigations on their own, as processing data in a lab can take time.

“Most think of forensics as being a body,” Price said. “This is becoming a bigger part because the abundance of technology.”

This grant, which will be available in 2010, is just one of the ways the institute is funded, Price said.

Other sources come from grants similar to this from the Department of Justice or other justice-related departments.