New Cyber Crime Lab in Montgomery could stop delays in cyber cri - FOX10 News | WALA

New Cyber Crime Lab in Montgomery could stop delays in cyber crime arrests

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A new Cyber Crime Lab in Montgomery is up and ready to assist local, state and federal law enforcement put cyber criminals behind bars quicker.

FOX10 News was there as officials said a lab like this could have put a Grand Bay man accused of multiple sexual abuse crimes behind bars much sooner.

"That's exactly what we're here talking about today. We don't want that delay to take place. We don't want to see, especially in somebody like Mobile, like you're talking about that can prey upon children and not be identified," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said. 

For the last month, FOX10 News Investigates has been asking state officials why it took two years to arrest Bryan Thompson after investigators say they  received a tip he  was looking at and uploading child porn.

Marshall said it's because of Thompson's case and others like it, that this cyber crime lab was created.

Local Prosecutors have blamed the lack of state funding for the delay.

"Because of budget shortfalls and lack of personnel, that agency, particularly in Montgomery that does forensic analysis, is way behind," Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson said in January.

Wednesday, Marshall explained what that backlog means.
"There really weren't trained professionals to be able to do this work. Municipalities may have a couple of agents to be trained but as it relates to the state as a whole, particularly in smaller communities, that don't have the capacity to allow law-enforcement to do this, this is a void they're trying to fill. So whatever delay may have taken place, regardless of the reason, we got to make sure that doesn't continue to happen," Attorney General Marshall said. 

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Hal Taylor wouldn't talk specifically about the Thompson case, but he said this lab could have helped put the alleged child abuse suspect behind bars sooner.

"It takes a lot of software and a lot of time for them to sit and actually retrieve that data off the phone so that's just one aspect but this will help us. It just gives us another tool to use to help solve crimes quicker in cases where they need to get to the DA and AG's office quicker and get somebody in jail," Taylor said.

Four agents will specifically work in the lab to assist local, state and federal agencies. Marshall said he hopes to add additional staff later.

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