GOP rep introduces bill to help train police to fight cyber crime

GOP rep introduces bill to help train police to fight cyber crime
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Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) on Friday introduced a bill aimed at helping state and local law enforcement fight cyber crime.

The legislation would authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute, a federally funded training center in Hoover, Ala., that has trained thousands of local officials across the country in investigating electronic crimes. 

Ratcliffe, who chairs the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, said the bill would ensure that law enforcement officials have the training they need to address the surge of cyber crime.

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The bill would amend a 2002 law to authorize the institute, under operation of the Secret Service, to “disseminate homeland security information related to the investigation and prevention of cyber and electronic crime and related threats, and educate, train, and equip state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges.”

The institute was set up in 2008 based on the Secret Service's cyber investigation strategy and has trained more than 6,000 local officials in conducting electronic crimes investigations. 

Ratcliffe introduced similar legislation to fight cyber crime that passed the House in 2015, though it never went to the Senate floor for a vote. An aide to the congressman told The Hill that the new legislation is expected to have more traction in the Senate this year.

“We’ve all seen crime shows on TV where pieces of DNA evidence — a strand of hair or a drop of blood — solve the case. But in today’s world, we also have to consider digital evidence. This could be an email that was sent, an online purchase, or geolocation technology that places an individual at the scene of a crime,” Ratcliffe said in a statement on Friday.

“Cyber elements add layers of complexity to the crimes our local law enforcement officers face every day — and we’ve got to make sure they have access to the training they need to address this trend. My bill will authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute to do just that,” he said.