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Etowah County Sheriff’s Office to soon house self-sustainable Digital Forensics Center

New digital forensics center coming to Etowah County
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 8:15 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 27, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Officers in Etowah County will soon be able to solve cases quicker with new equipment on the way.

Gov. Kay Ivey awarded a grant totaling $14,991 to the Etowah County Commission to create a self-sustainable Digital Forensics Center at the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office. Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton says the money gives them the ability to enhance their investigative tools.

It’s rare nowadays for law enforcement to investigate a crime without digital evidence, and the new center will allow digital processing to happen much quicker.

The sheriff describes the equipment as having “the ability to forensically observe cell phones and computers.”

Digital forensics has become a vital asset in nearly all investigations. While the Sheriff’s Office has been able to use similar tools in the past, now they’ll have their very own.

“It gives us all that local connection that again, you don’t maybe have to drive to Huntsville or to Birmingham or to a county over to get the same service,” said Sheriff Horton. “We can get it right here at home.”

The sheriff says the equipment is on the way to Etowah County right now and they hope to have it set up soon. They also already have someone on board who is qualified to use the hardware.

“We have an investigator that’s been signed to the TVRCFL -- which is the Tennessee Valley Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory at Red Stone Arsenal and he operates that same equipment there.”

The Digital Forensics Center is expected to benefit plenty of agencies including the Sheriff’s Office and all municipal police departments within the county.

According to a press release, the state of Alabama will also benefit from the center. The Etowah County Sheriff’s Office is a partner of Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) and the new equipment will help solve these crimes as well.

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