Law Enforcement Analysis on a Small Town Budget
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Law Enforcement Analysis on a Small Town Budget

Setting Up a Digital Forensics Lab for Small Agencies

About the Book

In today's tech-savvy world, criminal activities often leave digital fingerprints. Law enforcement agencies, big or small, need the tools and expertise to follow these trails. But what if budgets are tight? 'Budget-Friendly Bytes' demystifies the process of setting up a robust digital forensics lab without breaking the bank. Aimed at small law enforcement agencies, this guide provides step-by-step instructions, from selecting the right location to choosing essential hardware and software. Discover cost-effective training solutions, explore open-source tools, and delve into best practices for evidence handling. With real-world examples and expert insights, this book is a beacon for departments looking to navigate the digital realm safely, efficiently, and affordably.

About the Author

Jason Wilkins
Jason Wilkins

After serving in the US Navy for five years, Jason Wilkins began a career in firefighting and emergency medicine. While serving the community in that capacity for fourteen years he obtained associates degrees in criminal justice and computer networking from Iowa Central Community College online. He left the fire department in 2014 to pursue a network analyst position working for a global tire manufacturer. Disillusioned by a lack of mission and purpose, he returned to public safety in 2019 and began working as a crime & intelligence analyst for the local police department. It was there that he developed the agency's first digital forensics lab and started the N00B2PR04N6 blog. In 2020 he was nominated as Newcomer of the Year in the Digital Forensics 4:Cast awards and has spoken at both the SANS Digital Forensics and Magnet Forensics Summits. He currently works as an overseas contractor teaching digital forensics and is also an adjunct instructor for digital forensics and incident response at Iowa Central Community College.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

  1. About this guide - 2
  2. About the author - 3
  3. Introduction - 4
  4. The importance of digital forensics in modern policing - 4
  5. Challenges for small law enforcement agencies - 5
  6. The Budgeting Basics - 7
  7. Understanding your financial constraints - 7
  8. Allocating funds: Where to splurge and where to save - 8
  9. Choosing the Right Location - 10
  10. Evaluating potential spaces - 10
  11. Considerations for a secure and efficient setup - 11
  12. Hardware Essentials - 14
  13. Cost-effective computers and components - 14
  14. Storage solutions: Keeping evidence safe and accessible - 15
  15. Software Selection - 18
  16. Open-source vs. proprietary software: Pros and cons - 18
  17. Essential tools for various digital investigations - 22
  18. Network and Security - 25
  19. Building a secure internal network - 25
  20. Best practices for data protection - 28
  21. Training and Skill Development - 32
  22. Leveraging online resources for training - 32
  23. Collaborating with other agencies and experts - 34
  24. Strengthening Ties, Amplifying Reach - 37
  25. Evidence Handling and Storage - 38
  26. Establishing chain of custody protocols - 38
  27. Physical and digital evidence storage best practices - 41
  28. Case Management Systems - 44
  29. Keeping track of investigations - 44
  30. Cost-effective solutions for small departments - 45
  31. Collaboration and Outsourcing - 49
  32. Working with private sector partners - 49
  33. When and how to use external digital forensic experts - 51
  34. Maintaining and Upgrading the Lab - 55
  35. Planning for the future - 55
  36. Keeping tools and skills updated - 57
  37. Conclusion - 61
  38. The ongoing journey of digital forensics - 61
  39. The importance of community support and collaboration - 63
  40. Glossary - 66
  41. Appendix A: Further Reading - 73
  42. Appendix B: Software Tools - 74
  43. Open Source (This is just a small number of programs to get you started) - 74
  44. Proprietary (Alphabetically) - 74
  45. Appendix C: Hardware Recommendations - 75
  46. PC Hardware - 75
  47. Camera Equipment - 75
  48. Charging Cables - 75
  49. Charging Cabinet - 75
  50. Network Attached Storage - 75
  51. USB Drives - 75
  52. Appendix D: Example Policy for Digital Evidence Handling - 76
  53. Appendix E: Example Chain of Custody Form - 77

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