Friday, December 03, 2021

MLPD to do own investigations of mobile devices

by Rebecca Pettingill
Staff Writer | October 27, 2021 1:00 AM

The Moses Lake Police Department (MLPD) will use recent grant money to get software and equipment for investigating handheld devices in-house, rather than outsourcing those investigations to other counties.

The MLPD in mid-October received a $10,134 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The money is from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and is meant for crime control and prevention activities.

MLPD Chief Kevin Fuhr said his department intends to use the grant for software and equipment related to CelleBrite, a program allowing law enforcement to access handheld electronic devices, such as cellphones and tablets, and extract the data from them.

Fuhr said the grant covers the cost of the equipment and software for the first year, but the MLPD will have to budget the maintenance and upkeep cost for following years.

Before the grant, Fuhr said the MLPD would send the devices out of the county, such as to Spokane or Seattle, for analysis. Due to the time and effort required to send devices across the state, the MLPD would send only devices involved in major crimes.

With the new technology, the MLPD can get data from the devices faster and use it in more investigations, Fuhr said.

Fuhr also said detectives in the MLPD will need training to use the new software and equipment and some are already doing that.

As of Tuesday, the MLPD was getting a quote for the equipment and software and is expected to place an order within the next week or two, Fuhr said. He also said depending on fulfillment times and shipping, the department hopes to have the new system and equipment running in early January.