HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is proud to join with our partners in announcing the official opening of the Washington County Digital Forensic Laboratory (WCDFL). The WCDFL is a partnership of multiple agencies, including the Washington County DA’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Community Corrections, Hillsboro Police Department, and Beaverton Police Department.

Over the past several years, participating agencies have worked collaboratively to develop a jointly operated digital lab that will help police officers and prosecutors gather computer and digital evidence in criminal investigations and ultimately help our community obtain more timely justice. With this new resource investigators will obtain evidence more quickly and prosecutors will develop stronger cases. The WCDLF will also allow probation officers to better supervise offenders and hold them accountable to conditions of supervision.

The WCDLF will provide significant assistance in investigations of crimes against vulnerable victims and crimes that threaten community safety. These crimes include child abuse, elder abuse, financial fraud and identity theft, domestic violence, home burglaries, and sexual assault cases. In the current digital age, digital “footprints” can be present in any crime. A digital device often provides key evidence to corroborate the statement of a crime victim, show a suspect’s state of mind or location, and even prevent future crimes. Recent examples of successful investigations involving digital evidence include a child sex trafficking case where the defendant used a cell phone to sexually exploit a teenage girl; in another case, digital evidence revealed the defendant’s plan to murder her victims; in another case, digital evidence revealed where a defendant was storing child pornography in the cloud; and of course, the list goes on.

This jointly operated digital lab is designed to serve all Washington County residents and law enforcement agencies. The immediate benefits to our community include increased access to digital forensic services and fiscal responsibility. The high cost of digital forensics equipment and training has often been a challenge to individual police agencies equipping digital forensic labs. The WCDFL combines resources to avoid the unnecessary duplication of forensics tools and share operational costs amongst several agencies. Additionally, Washington County communities that previously could not afford digital forensics tools will now have access to state-of-the-art equipment purchased by larger police agencies.

An additional benefit to our community is that investigators assigned to the WCDFL have expertise in examining and analyzing both mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets, and computers, including desktops and laptops. These specialists will be an asset to investigations concerning a wide variety of offenses. Further, they will be available to collect and preserve digital evidence from crime scenes and provide investigators all across Washington County with expert knowledge and analysis. 

Finally, we want to recognize Washington County Facilities and Information Technology Services for their hard work in helping to make the physical lab a reality. These teams deserve high praise and recognition for their hard work in building the WCDFL quickly and with minimal cost to taxpayers.

April 19, 2018