Feds request $37M to boost state, local law enforcement

The Justice Department is asking for, and will likely receive, $37 million for cybercrime initiatives and personnel that will focus much of their efforts on state and local law enforcement programs.

At a Senate appropriations hearing Wednesday, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI director Louis Freeh stressed the need for additional personnel, training and technology at the federal level. Although the central point for federal cybercrime response is the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), all of those resources will also go toward helping state and local agencies get a better grip on cybercrime investigation and prosecution, Freeh said.

"Success of the NIPC requires building on proven mechanisms to develop and maintain long-term relationships with state and local law enforcement agencies," he said.

The fiscal 2001 budget requests $5 million for new attorneys that will provide guidance to federal, state and local agencies on how to respond to cybercrime. "We would be able to get the men and women into the FBI...and make sure that we are able to keep them there and that their training and expertise are made available to state and local law enforcement," Freeh said.

Another $8.75 million would provide "critically needed" cybercrime investigation and prosecution training to state and local law enforcement agencies. The FBI is also asking for $6 million to create up to 10 new Regional Computer Forensic Labs, such as the one in San Diego, that will serve as a resource to federal and local investigations.

"The challenge for the federal government is to provide the training and backup resources to the state and local levels so that they can successfully conduct investigations and prosecutions in their jurisdictions," Freeh said.

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