The St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit has moved to a new home. The county prosecutor’s office says the relocation to Hammes Mowbray Hall on the University of Notre Dame campus will provide expanded working space and greater access to student interns on the South Bend campus.
Notre Dame says the student internship program previously operated from the county jail with three Notre Dame interns. Moving the Cyber Crimes Unit to the new location, which also houses the Notre Dame Security Police department, has allowed the number of interns to rise to six.
"The student interns are a great asset to the Cyber Crimes Unit and to our community," said St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Cotter. "The expansion of the internship program allows us to keep building on the great forensic work being done by the students in our criminal investigations."
Mike Seamon, vice president for campus safety and event management at Notre Dame, says bringing the unit to campus provides the university with a "unique opportunity" to support the unit’s work. Student interns are sworn in as officers and are able to assist the unit with writing and executing search warrants, analyzing evidence, and testify in cases in which they have been involved.
St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Director Mitch Kajzer says the interns also help bridge the "digital divide" between generations.
"The students understand technology differently and better, in some cases, than traditional law enforcement officers," said Kajzer. "The fact that technology is engrained in their daily lives gives them a proficiency level that most officers do not have. They look at things differently and help us find evidence that we may not see or even know exists."
The interns work up to 12 hours per week for the unit and are involved in active cases or various digital forensic research assignments for the department.