Forensics Analysis & Cyber Technical Services Unit
In December 2010, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office formed a Cyber Crimes Unit to investigate child pornography, computer fraud, and the use of the Internet and other technology in crimes. This unit is staffed by an Assistant Prosecutor, a Lieutenant of Detectives, and several Detectives. The Unit works with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, and provides a valuable local resource given that many local police departments don’t have the facilities and expertise to thoroughly investigate computer-related matters.
Whether dealing with homicides, rapes, domestic violence, drug cases, online predators, child pornography, or cyberstalking, technology is often the key to effective crime fighting in the 21st century. The Cyber Crimes Unit solves traditional crimes using computer forensics. The unit also educates members of the community on cyberbullying. Once limited to name-calling, today’s bullying has morphed into cyberspace and often involves much more complicated issues.
In 2012, the Cyber Crimes Unit expanded its mission to include assisting Megan’s Law Unit in obtaining necessary evidence that registered sexual offenders were utilizing the Internet and social media in violation of the terms of their Community or Parole Supervision for Life. The Cyber Crimes Unit’s forensic abilities continued to grow as it secured additional forensic devices and software. As a direct result of additional resources, the CCU has enhanced its ability to conduct in-house examinations.
In 2015, the CCU continued its investigations into the sexual exploitation of children through the transmission of images and videos of depicting the sexual abuse and/or exploitation of children, and other technology-facilitated crimes. In its technical support role, the unit received hundreds of requests for examinations of cellular telephones and other digital media obtained during an investigation.
In early 2016, the Cyber Crimes Unit was renamed to the Forensics Analysis & Cyber Technical Services Unit. The FACTS unit continues to assist the surrounding local, county, and state agencies with mobile device examinations as well as computer forensic examinations.