NH police receive grant to purchase equipment

Police chief says money will be used for a digital evidence forensics device, surveillance tools

By Melanie Hitchcock
The Union Leader

DERRY, N.H. — A U.S. Department of Justice grant will help the police department fight cybercrimes and illegal drug activity, according to Police Chief Ed Garone.

The Town Council authorized the acceptance of the $20,425 Justice Assistance Grant. Rockingham County will receive a 5 percent administration fee for the service, with Derry receiving a net total of $19,451.

"The grant is one the police department has received for several years in various amounts," said Garone. The funds are available to buy law enforcement equipment or systems the department cannot fit into its budget.

This year, Garone said, the grant will be used for two projects, a digital evidence forensics device and remote surveillance equipment.

"Our agency has a growing need to identify, access and process digital evidence with the popularity of smart phones, laptops and tablets," said Garone.

"These devices are being used more and more in conjunction with criminal activity throughout the town."

A Cellbrite universal forensic extraction device would allow police officers to perform data extraction to assist in digital forensic investigations, according to the chief. The device costs $8,603 for the first year, and the department is also seeking three additional years of maintenance for a total cost of $14,600.

"It's a crucial piece of equipment to do effective, time-sensitive investigations," Garone said. "It can be used by Derry and also assist other agencies as a regional tool. The detectives in the department investigate Internet crimes throughout the state."

The remaining $4,851 from the grant would be used to purchase remote surveillance equipment.

"There is a direct correlation with the rise of drug use and criminal activity the Derry Police Department investigates," Garone said. "We are looking for resources to stem the usage of illegal drug activity in our community."

One of the challenges in conducting investigations is having either eyewitness accounts or documented evidence of drug transactions, he said.

"We're looking for equipment that will be used for covert surveillance," Garone said. "It can gather essential video imagery for 24 hours up to 40 days. It will greatly improve our ability to attack local illicit drug activity."

As with the forensic digital extraction device, Garone said the surveillance equipment could be used regionally.

Copyright 2012 Union Leader Corp.


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