BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena Police Officer Steven Stout is looking forward to an upcoming training that he will complete, courtesy of the Secret Service of the United States. Stout has been a police officer since 2011, and as Chief Brandon Martin puts it, “each officer has his own interests and Officer Stout took an interest in internet crimes.” And that’s just what the all-expense paid trip to BICEP is for.
The Basic Investigation of Computer and Electronic Crimes Program (BICEP), held in Alabama and presented by the Secret Service, will give Stout the knowledge to investigate computer crimes; knowing what to look for and how to gather the evidence, such as being able to pull files and information from devices without corrupting the data. Whether it’s fraud or sex crimes, internet crime is a thing of the present and more training is needed all the time to keep up with criminals. “It’s a puzzle,” said Stout. “There have been cases come along and I don’t mind digging through them and putting the puzzle together.”
Stout has hopes to be able to take computer forensics in the future to be able to not only collect data, but analyze it as well. “I’ve taken other courses involving internet crimes and computer forensics and it’s ever-evolving. It will be an ongoing training that I continue.”
“We work alongside the Secret Service everyday on various cases. This will be one more way that our department can assist them. Being able to fill a hole and collect data for internet crimes will be beneficial to us and them,” said Martin. More than 500 hours of training were taken by Mena officers in 2015 and more than 560 hours were taken by reserve officers. “Most of the trainings we took were free. We only used 22% of our training budget. We like free trainings, they don’t cost the city and our officers are prepared. Training makes for quicker responses and quicker solutions.”