The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office is receiving a federal grant to upgrade its Cyber Lab, which will help prosecute against sex crimes, violent crime and financial exploitation, officials said.
The state’s attorney’s office said they secured a $124,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant.
The Cyber Lab provides critical support to Lake County’s law enforcement agencies by using software and human expertise to retrieve and analyze text messages, video files, and geo-data from phones, laptops, and other digital devices.
The Cyber Lab is operated by the state’s attorney’s office and consists of two full-time employees and dozens of forensic tools and computers.
All state attorney investigators and attorneys are able to use the lab in addition to local law enforcement.
Last May, the office applied for the federal grant, called the “Innovative Prosecution Solutions Project.”
“This federal grant makes the residents of Lake County safer. Prior to this upgrade, we were only able to analyze 70% of cell phones, for example. Now, with a warrant, we will be able to analyze many more suspects’ locked devices and retrieve evidence that we would have lost in the past,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
The state’s attorney’s office said they won the Innovative Prosecution grant by explaining to the Department of Justice Lake County’s “urgent need to deploy new technology” in its efforts to reduce the rise in violent crime seen between 2016 and 2020.
In addition to crime reduction, the grant will help reduce the case backlog that builds as courts and attorneys await forensic analysis.
“Our cyber lab has needed an upgrade for years, and I am thrilled that our team was able to secure federal dollars for [the] first time with this type of grant,” Rinehart said.
“This upgrade will allow all parts of our office to better prosecute those who would harm our community,” he added.
The Lake County Board is expected to officially accept the grant on Tuesday.
The grant resolution passed unanimously out of the Law & Judicial Committee this past Tuesday and the Finance and Administration Committee on Thursday.