Ratcliffe bill would bolster state and local police efforts to thwart cybercrime

Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) on Friday would authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI), which is recognized as the nation’s premier cybercrime training center.

The Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act would authorize the NCFI in an effort to provide tools and training to help state and local police forces fight cybercrime in their communities.

“We’ve all seen crime shows on TV where pieces of DNA evidence — a strand of hair or a drop of blood — solve the case,” Ratcliffe, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, said. “But in today’s world, we also have to consider digital evidence. This could be an email that was sent, an online purchase, or geolocation technology that places an individual at the scene of a crime.”

The NCFI in Hoover, Alabama, has trained more than 6,250 local law enforcement officers from all 50 states, and its graduates work at more than 2,000 agencies across the country.

“Cyber elements add layers of complexity to the crimes our local law enforcement officers face every day — and we’ve got to make sure they have access to the training they need to address this trend,” Ratcliffe said. “My bill will authorize the National Computer Forensics Institute to do just that.”

Ratcliffe convened a Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection field hearing last year that highlighted the importance of the NCFI to local law enforcement agencies.

“I am not the main benefactor of this training,” Dan Waddle, a law enforcer from Texas’ fourth congressional district, testified. “The citizens of Greenville, Texas and Hunt County, Texas, as well as the north Texas area reap the benefits of this training with better recovery rates for property as well as more perpetrators being taken off the streets.”

Ratcliffe said a better-equipped, better-prepared police force leads to better-protected communities.

“And, at the end of the day, the safety of the American people is always the number one goal,” Ratcliffe concluded.