The Killeen Police Department wants to purchase technology that makes it easier to recover evidence from cellphones.
According to documents presented to the Killeen City Council at Tuesday’s workshop, the department requested $14,727 to purchase surveillance equipment, as well as equipment for “cellphone evidence recovery.”
Funds for the equipment will come from a state seizure account — a regulated fund that allows proceeds from forfeited property and cash seized in criminal investigations to pay for programs and equipment to help local law enforcement agencies fight crime.
Departments like Killeen are increasingly using hardware and software designed to recover data from cellphones, even if the data was deleted.
“It allows you to extract photos, SMS text messages, emails, and in some cases, even deleted voicemails,” said Michael Kessler, president of New York-based Kessler International Services, a private company that uses such technology to conduct forensic investigations for clients. “There’s a tremendous amount of information in your phone.”
KPD declined Friday to specify what kind of hardware or software it wants to purchase, or whether or not some kind of cellphone evidence recovery equipment already is in use.
Kessler said most agencies have to buy multiple programs or software packages to pull potential evidence off various phones.
“With a computer, you have either a Mac or a PC,” Kesslers said. “Unlike a computer, you have many, many different kinds of phones. There are several different kinds of software out there, and you will usually need more than one.”
The council is set to consider the request at Tuesday’s regular meeting.