Local police falling behind on cybercrime, former chief says

Bill Bratton tells FOSE trade show crowd that computer-related crime poses a daunting challenge for local police

Local police departments have the knowledge but lack the resources for cybersecurity-related police efforts, according to former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bill Bratton.

Speaking today after his keynote address at the FOSE 2010 trade show in Washington, Bratton said local police departments have been behind the curve for most of their history in tackling computer-related crime and cybersecurity.

Bratton, who also served as commissioner of the New York City Police Department, also said that computer security is an unmet challenge for police departments that is unlikely to be addressed in significant way because of funding, prioritization, resources and access to systems.

He added that the situation is frustrating for police chiefs. “We know how to do it; we know how to coordinate it," he said. "It’s a resource issue."

Bratton is now chairman of Altegrity Risk International. He also previously served as chief of the New York City Transit Police and as Boston Police Department commissioner.

He made the comments in response to an audience question after his keynote speech at FOSE, which is presented by 1105 Media Inc., the parent company of Federal Computer Week, Government Computer News and Washington Technology.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Fri, Apr 9, 2010

Smaller law enforcement agencies are challenged to bear the costs of setting up a computer forensics lab (on the order of $10K for a minimum setup), the expense of training an officer to do the work, and the costs of pulling that officer off full-time patrol duties to staff the forensics lab. The tradeoff then becomes 'drop it' or 'send it to the state and wait a year to see if they can get to it.'

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 Terence San Diego

There is no excuse for the Police not being able to prosecute cyber crime in a vigorous manner. Stealing resources from others should be punished to act as a deterent or else cybercrime will just continue to skyrocket. Everyone needs to understand how important it is for the Police to be trained and equiped to deal with cybercrime, which is not that different from robbery. People need to go to jail for commiting cybercrime.

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