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Bill to expand high-tech crime units across state advances to Indiana House

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Posted at 10:13 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 22:13:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A proposal to expand high-tech crime units across the state passed out of committee on Wednesday and will be considered by the full Indiana House.

The legislation, House Bill 1082, authored by State Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, would build upon the two high-tech crime units already in operation in Tippecanoe and St. Joseph counties.

The prosecutor's offices in those two counties have partnered with Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame respectively to assist with criminal investigations by accessing technology that may yield additional evidence.

The proposal would allow other colleges to team up with counties to create additional high-tech crime units with the ultimate goal of adding up to eight new units.

"This is a huge benefit for our county, my office and the students," St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said in a statement from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. "Adding more hubs would be a huge benefit for the entire state. As a prosecutor, I can easily say this is one of the best tools in my toolbox."

In the existing units, students work with law enforcement and prosecutors to handle a wide variety of cases.

Cotter told the House Ways and Means Committee, the St. Joseph County unit has worked on homicides, sexual assaults, burglaries and other cases analyzing cell phone data, cameras and computers to either add evidence or exonerate persons of interest.