Task force combats Maine cybercrime

Maine now has a five-member state task force to investigate computer related

crimes and serve as a resource for police departments in the state.

The Maine Computer Crimes Task Force formed last summer but was not officially

announced until Monday as members were recruited and trained, said Andrew

Ketterer, the state's attorney general.

The task force will tackle issues such as stalking and threats via computer,

child pornography and the proper way to seize a computer as evidence.

"We're realizing that the face of crime is changing," Ketterer said. "In

most cases they're the same offenses but carried out in a new way."

Uniform standards for seizing a computer are very important, Ketterer said,

because so much information is stored in computers. "When you do a drug

bust, and you want records of the sale of contrabands, it is all now done

on computers," he said. With uniform standards, the evidence can be used

in court, he said.

The task force will train local police officers how to seize the computers,

"tag-it and bag-it," and then pass it on to the task force so the information

can be properly retrieved or processed. Each task force member is certified

as an expert in this field so they can testify in court, Ketterer said.

The task force is composed of two detectives for the attorney general's

office, a Lewiston police officer, a Brunswick police officer, and a state

police officer. Each was made a detective of the attorney general's office

so that they have statewide jurisdiction, Ketterer said.

The detectives received about 300 hours of training from the National White

Collar Crime Center in West Virginia. There already have been 22 computer

crime investigations performed. Officials hope to open three branches of

the task force. The headquarters is based at the Lewiston police office.

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