Q. In brief, what do I need to do to submit evidence for review by the CGRCFL?
A: CGRCFL customers fall into either the participating agency group or the non-participating group. Depending on which group you are in will determine how you will submit evidence, as follows:
Q: Are there any guidelines for submitting evidence?
A: Yes, but as a general rule, investigators should be mindful of the type of digital evidence they submit to the CGRCFL for review. For example, unless it's a copyright investigation, including items such as commercially produced music CDs or movie DVDs will have no bearing on the investigation. However, by submitting these types of items, the laboratory staff must enter them as evidence and that takes time that could be better spent conducting the examination. Investigators should use their good judgment when gathering digital evidence only submitting those items they think require examination by the CGRCFL staff.
CGRCFL customers are advised to follow these simple guidelines:
- Central Processing Unit (CPUs) - Submit the actual CPU not peripheral items such as monitors, keyboards, mice, etc. (For MAC computers, it is important to include the power cord!)
- Laptops - Submit the laptop along with the power cord.
- CDs and DVDs - Preview all CDs and DVD's in a ROM (read-only drive) prior to submission. Then submit only those items containing suspect files. DO NOT submit unreviewed discs, without prior approval from the CGRCFL staff. Again, commercially produced music CDs and movie DVDs are more than likely not going to have an impact on the investigation. Investigators should sort through the evidence being gathered to ensure these items are not part of the submission to the CGRCFL.
- Floppy Disks - Floppy disks may be previewed by ensuring the write protection tab is in the open position to prevent altering the contents. Please submit only those floppy discs you have determined are relevant to your investigation.
- Cell phones/ GPSs/ PDAs - Include data cables, chargers, and docking stations.
Q: Why is the CGRCFL making this policy change?
A: Since the CGRCFL opened in 2003, case submissions have increased by 20% each year. To keep pace with the growing demand for its services, the CGRCFL's Local Executive Board (LEB), which includes law enforcement officials from participating agencies, began exploring different ways to continue providing the same high quality services in a timely manner. After studying this situation for several months, the LEB determined the most effective way to meet this goal was to better utilize available technology (online service requests forms) and to prioritize the requests for service from non-participating agencies using an objective set of criteria.
Q: affect the CGRCFL participating agencies?
A: The CGRCFL will continue to accept all cases from its participating agencies (those departments that detail personnel to the laboratory) The participating agencies are required to submit an online Request for Service form, and should forward their digital evidence to the laboratory with a copy of the request. The related legal authority and pertinent investigative reports may be submitted to the laboratory either electronically with the initial Request for Service, or by hard copy with the evidence.
Q: impact non-participating agencies?
A: Due to the heavy demands being placed on the limited resources of the CGRCFL, the laboratory will prioritize cases submitted from non-participating agencies and will accept as many cases as possible which meet objective criteria and can be completed in a reasonable period. Non-participating agencies should submit the online Request for Service form, but retain their digital evidence until instructed otherwise by the laboratory. Upon being contacted by the laboratory, digital evidence may be forwarded to the CGRCFL with a copy of the request. The related legal authority and pertinent investigative reports may be submitted to the laboratory either electronically with the initial Request for Service, or by hard copy with the evidence.
Q: What happens if a non-participating agency completes the online form and sends the digital evidence to the CGRCFL for examination? Will they accept the evidence while the request is under review?
A: A non-participating agency should submit evidence to the CGRCFL only after being contacted by the laboratory staff. Evidence submitted prior to the case being accepted by the laboratory will be immediately returned.
Q: What if my request is considered a low priority, then what?
A: The CGRCFL will accept all cases from its participating agencies. However, for non-participating agencies, the laboratory will prioritize the request and contact the agency when the staff is ready to begin the examination. For those requests that receive a low priority, the CGRCFL will notify the requestor via e-mail the case cannot be accepted at this time, providing the submitter with the option of taking their evidence to another facility.
Q: Generally, how long does it take for the CGRCFL staff to notify customers from non-participating agencies of the status of a request?
A: Non-participating agencies can expect a response from the lab within 5 working days of submission on the status of their request.
Q: What are the case acceptance priorities for the CGRCFL?
A: The case acceptance priorities are as follows:
Q: What are self-service cell phone and video kiosks? How does that service work?
A: In those situations where investigators don't require a complete forensic examination, but are still interested in accessing data extracted from a cell phone or still images from a DVD, the laboratory offers self-service kiosks with equipment, supplies and immediate expert assistance. (Note: Cell phone must not be locked or password protected!)
These stations are available to any agency at any time during normal CGRCFL business hours. Evidence derived from these devices can be taken that day. Self-service features include:
Q: Where are these kiosks located?
A: They are located in the CGRCFL's administrative area and are accessible to all law enforcement officers during normal business hours.
Q: Do we have to make an appointment to use the kiosks?
A: Appointments are not required. The equipment is designed to be used by investigators at their convenience, with most reviews being completed within a matter of a few minutes.
Q: My agency's firewall is preventing me from viewing the Online Case Submission Form. Is there another way to submit my case?
A: Yes, the Service Request Form (PDF) is still available as an alternative to the online form. Upon completion, the form should be faxed to (312) 913-9408 for submission. Please note that no media is to be brought in until instructed to do so by the lab.
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
A: For additional information, contact the Deputy Director, Justin Poirier at (312) 431-1427 or at email@example.com.