High Tech Crime Units Bill Moves Forward

(INDIANAPOLIS) –  A bill that could permanently establish up to 10 high-tech crime units across the state continued forward on Wednesday as House Bill 1082 gained approval from the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 1082, authored by Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, would build upon two high tech crime units already in operation in Tippecanoe County and St. Joseph County. Those two prosecutor offices have teamed up with Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame, respectively, to assist with criminal investigations by accessing technology that may provide further evidence.

In those offices, students work with law enforcement and prosecutors to handle a wide variety of cases. As St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter explained to the Ways and Means Committee, his high-tech crime unit has worked on homicides, sexual assaults, burglaries, and many other types of cases, analyzing cell phone data, cameras, and computers to either add evidence or exonerate persons of interest. Cotter’s Chief Deputy Eric Tamashasky also testified before the committee, walking lawmakers through the operations of the unit and explaining how their office works hand in hand with students.

HB 1082 would allow other colleges to team up with counties to create additional high tech crime units, with the ultimate goal of adding up to eight new units.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter

“This is a huge benefit for our county, my office and the students,” Cotter said. “Adding more hubs would be a huge benefit for the entire state. As a prosecutor, I can easily say this is one of the best tools in my toolbox.”

Prosecutors are grateful for Rep. Steuerwald’s efforts on this bill and wish to thank Rep. Wendy McNamara and Rep. Tim Brown, the two chairs who have heard the bill in committee.

HB 1082 now moves to the full House of Representatives for further consideration.