Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $123,940)
The LCSAO Cyber Lab that resides within its Cyber/White Collar Crimes Division, supports the efforts of local and state law enforcement in criminal investigations involving electronic devices, as well as provides technological support to all divisions of the Office. The main goal of the Innovative Prosecution Solutions project is to reduce violent crime in Lake County by enhancing the LCSAO’s ability to respond efficiently to criminal investigations brought forth by its law enforcement partners. This will be done by utilizing updated technology and equipment in the operation of the Cyber Lab. A secondary goal from crime reduction is to reduce case backlog which builds as courts and attorneys await forensic analysis.
This project will go hand-in-hand with the establishment of a new Violent Crimes Investigative Unit (“VCIU”) within the LCSAO. The VCIU will be assigned several experienced prosecutors who will work with law enforcement early in an investigation to develop complex evidence quickly. By concentrating experienced prosecutors into a single investigative unit, the LCSAO will quickly harness the energy of the investigation to reach the truth and will reduce the risk of losing the initiative as the file is handed off between prosecutors who are handling large court calls. In addition, the LCSAO has begun a program to identify “drivers of violence” throughout Lake County. This new effort to focus on a small group of strategic suspects will greatly reduce violent crime. As a result, the VCIU will need a strong Cyber Lab in order to quickly analyze phones and computers.
When the Cyber Lab is equipped with the right tools, the LCSAO can combat violent crime throughout the county, while ensuring the integrity of the prosecutions and protecting the rights of both the accused, as well as victims.