CROWN POINT — Lake County officially is in the running for one of the High Tech Crime Units set to be deployed across the Hoosier State beginning in January.
On Thursday, the Lake County Council unanimously agreed to give Prosecutor Bernard Carter the go-ahead to apply for a $600,000, two-year grant to establish and operate a High Tech Crime Unit serving at least the 24 police agencies in Lake County, and perhaps all of Northwest Indiana.
Carter said he’s confident the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council will see fit to award one of the 10 expected High Tech Crime units to Lake County, and he believes Porter County has a good shot of getting one of its own to serve several adjacent counties to the east.
“I talked to Gary Germann, who is prosecutor in Porter County,” Carter said. “When we start selecting software — and it’s extremely expensive — what we’re going to do is target certain areas, he’s going to target certain areas, and we’ll share their software and they’ll share our software, and it’ll save us thousand of dollars.”
The High Tech Crime Units are tasked with developing specialized operations for gathering and processing digital evidence from computers, cell phones and other electronic devices, in conjunction with a local university to give students real-world, hands-on experience in law enforcement investigations.
Carter said he’s already found a higher education partner at Purdue University Northwest. He said PNW is excited to have its students participate in the program and the Hammond campus has sufficient secure office space available to house the unit.
Similar forensic technology units already are operational in Tippecanoe County, in partnership with Purdue University, and in St. Joseph County, with assistance from the University of Notre Dame.
The General Assembly appropriated $6 million in the 2022-23 state budget to establish additional High Tech Crime Units elsewhere in the state.