LIMA — It wasn’t that long ago that the biggest problem a Lima Police Department detective had was getting evidence.
Now the biggest headache is figuring out what all the evidence gathered means.
“So many crimes involve some angle of technology that getting that information isn’t necessarily the difficult part,” LPD Detective Jesse Harrod said during Lima Mayor David Berger’s weekly press conference Wednesday. “Going through all that information, that becomes the difficult part, where you have hundreds if not thousands of pages of information to go through, all by hand.”
Lima’s law enforcement will get some help on that last part. The LPD purchased a 12-month subscription to CellHawk for $2,995 using the Law Enforcement Trust Fund, Lima Police Department Chief Kevin Martin wrote in a letter to city council. Council approved the request Monday.
“‘CellHawk’ is an investigative cell phone mapping and analysis service that will significantly improve our ability to gather evidentiary data and more quickly resolve various types of investigations,” Martin wrote.
CellHawk is a web-based program that helps law enforcement better understand the information gathered, especially when it comes to mapping cell sites, GPS tracking data and Google data. It can help detectives solve complicated cases more quckly.
“You can kind of use it as you need it, whether you’re looking for certain patterns in the data or whether you’re looking for text messages, putting stuff in order that you can search ping information,” Harrod said. “It’s just so much quicker and faster than going through it by yourself.”
The goal is to use the software to be more efficient and solve crimes more effectively, Harrod said.
“It really hampers an investigation when you have to rely on going through all that by hand,” he said. “You have a lot of time wrapped up in that, instead of focusing on other stuff.”
It’s the latest advancement in the fast-moving work of investigative technology.
“Twelve or 13 years ago when I got hired, we didn’t have computers in cruisers,” Harrod said. “We still had the recording system in the cruiser using a VCR tape. Now they have computers, and they use all the body cameras and printers in the cars.”