LIBERTY August 28, 2015 - We see it in our daily lives. What’s new in the world of technology today will be outdated tomorrow as new and more creative and technical advancements continue to move our modern society forward. This is no more true than in the Law Enforcement environment where, in most cases and primarily due to limited finances, the criminal element advances more quickly in this area than do law enforcement agencies. However, when financial conditions become more favorable and there is a strong desire by personnel to better their working equipment, great strides are made. So it was, very recently, that the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office upgraded their obsolete cell phone recovery device that had the limited ability to delve into the workings of a cell phone to recover information and, perhaps, evidence that the phone owner thought had been deleted.
Sgt. Investigators Paul Lasco and Sgt. Robert Dunn have recently completed a 44 hour training class on the upgraded UFED TOUCH cell phone recovery device given by Cellbright International. The upgraded equipment cost around $12,000 and the training of the operators cost $3,800 per person. However, both Sergeants now holds an Advanced certificate as a Cellbright Certified Physical Analyst. The agency already had such a device that was called the “Classic” or “Logical Analyzer” but this system was now outdated and no support system was in place for repairs or updating and it could no longer be used with many of the more modern cell phones, tablets, thumb drives, etc. The new and upgraded UFED TOUCH device is now the “physical” analyzer and can recover messages, photos, etc. from the more modern electronic devices depending upon the amount of data in the cell phone or other devices.
This newer system can be used extensively in the recovery of messages after either a consent to search or a search warrant is obtained from the owner of the device in question. The UFED system then down loads the information to a computer which can analyze the date that investigators may be searching for and then down load the desired information to a working disc for continued investigation. One of the outstanding features of this newer system is that it is “fluid” and it can adjust to any new and upgraded cell phones or other such electronic devices. This ability was not possible with the older and outdated recovery device.
Pictured on the left is Sgt. Lasco and Sgt. Dunn on the right examining one component of the UFED TOUCH system and both Sergeants gives fellow Sgt. Investigator Chris Ungles full credit for seeing the need to upgrade the system and being the main motivator for moving this project along to its successful completion. As a result Sgt. Ungles spent several months researching not only what new and innovative technical recovery systems might be available but, working with the Sheriff’s Office administration staff, helping to find the funding to make this upgrade possible. Sgt. Ungles points out that to his knowledge, the closest agency to have such a capability is the Department of Public Safety and to have two investigators already trained to use the device in one agency is also unique for any department. We’ve all seen, from time to time, on the evening news where some less astute criminal even videos their exploits and puts them on social media for all to see. This new and improved recovery device will be able to recover such information to be used later as evidence in a court of law.
Sheriff Bobby Rader goes on to say, “ … The technology and training were all paid for by using money from the drug seizure fund. The Liberty County tax payers were not out a penny for the cost of the unit, computers, software and training classes. There are not many small counties in Texas that have this resource. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office is making this technology available to all Liberty County law enforcement agencies at no cost. Working together and using every resource available, we will be able to solve more crimes…”.