Computer forensics clicks with cops, colleges

Computer forensics is not a new field, but it is receiving a lot more attention in light of a slew of television shows—and now college programs are responding to the need for training in the field, reports the Courier-News of Elgin, Ill. Law-enforcement agencies are finding more cases—ranging from child pornography to computer hacking to homicides—that require not only old-fashioned gumshoe investigation but high-tech exploration. To meet that need, Elgin Community College is launching a new degree and certificate program in computer forensics. The degree combines computer science and criminal justice for those interested in transferring to four-year universities. A handful of colleges, including Purdue University in Indiana, have bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees in the field of study. The University of Tulsa in Oklahoma has agreed to accept some of ECC’s students every year, said Mark Pelczarski, professor of computer and information sciences. So far, there’s a lot of interest from students and local police departments, the instructors said. It may appear glamorous on TV, but the reality is that computer forensics is like a treasure hunt that can be equally interesting and tedious—as well as disturbing. That’s why the program recommends that students take a psychology course as an elective, to learn how to cope with what they may investigate someday, said instructor Lori Davy…

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