ELK CITY, OK – Amid the rise of technology’s role in crime, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) continues to provide pivotal training on handling and preserving digital evidence. The Basic Incident Response to Digital Evidence (BIRDE) program, which unfolded in a controlled mock setting from January 23 – 25, in Elk City, OK, equips law enforcement professionals with the crucial skills required in our tech-driven era.
The scenario presented to students was challenging yet reflective of real-world situations: a criminal investigator arrives first at the scene and is met with a bevy of techno-centric clues. The subsequent actions – preservation, collection, and transportation of digital evidence – form the bedrock of the BIRDE training curriculum, focusing equally on practical skills, relevant laws, and secure data acquisition.
In a statement regarding the necessity of such training, FLETC Cyber Division Chief John Riley emphasized the changing demands on law enforcement personnel. “The ability to properly identify, preserve, collect, and transport digital evidence is no longer a task for specialists; it is something most every law enforcement first responder and the criminal investigator must be able to accomplish today.” Riley said.
The digital devices commonly encountered by field operatives, predominantly smartphones and personal computers, are the focus of BIRDE. As these gadgets become increasingly integral to both everyday life and criminal activities, the ability to extract evidence from unlocked devices is becoming an indispensable skill.
Highlighting the program’s impact, Capt. Sammy Weygand from Elk City OK Police Department noted, "The course is beneficial by allowing law enforcement to understand electronic investigations in what is needed and how they operate. This training is needed. Technology has become such an important part of our daily lives and now our daily investigations leading from the simple public offense to the deadliest investigation."
FLETC offers this training opportunity to law enforcement agencies nationwide through export programs. This extensive export effort requires careful planning and coordination to meet the needs of law enforcement across all 50 states. The BIRDE is also taught in residence at FLETC’s Glynco and Charleston training locations.
In essence, as our reliance on digital devices continues to rise, training courses like BIRDE become vital. They provide law enforcement with a robust methodology to respond to technological evidence efficiently, ensuring that they are well-equipped to operate in a world where the digital landscape is in constant flux.
Federal agency personnel should contact their agency training officer to register for training, or call (912) 267-3344 or email us.
State, local, and tribal officers requesting training can register online.
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