MANCHESTER, NH – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), U.S. Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH-02) and dignitaries from the New Hampshire law enforcement community gathered at the Norris Cotton Federal Building to christen the newly expanded Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) digital forensics lab on Monday morning.
The lab, which is run jointly by HSI and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, assists law enforcement agencies in New Hampshire with efforts to investigate cybercrimes against children in the Granite State.
In 2022, HSI/ICAC received over 1,800 tips related to cybercrimes against children, with cybercrimes increases spotted during the COVID-19 pandemic not tapering off as time went on.
The lab’s expansion was funded through grants provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, utilizing space made vacant following the pandemic.
According to New Hampshire ICAC Task Force Commander and Portsmouth Police Department Lt. Eric Kinsman, the new forensics lab will make it much easier for detectives and other staff to work on multiple cases at the same time, searching through procured devices that could contain evidence of crimes against children.
“This newly expanded lab allows us to have more working space so we’re not working on top of each other. It also allows us to have more digital forensic processing equipment available to our examiners here with the task force,” he said. “Now we’ll be able to keep up with the increased caseload and address the related evidence in a much more efficient manner.”
Kuster has introduced legislation providing additional funding for efforts to fight internet child exploitation, and helped provide funding for other HSI initiatives that help fight cybercrime and dismantle organized criminal internet networks.
“We all want our kids to be safe. The work done (by HSI/ICAC) is invaluable in helping protect our children from some of the most dangerous threats imaginable,” said Hassan. “This newly updated facility is going to be instrumental in supporting those efforts.”