Magnet Forensics announced it is awarding scholarships to investigators in the U.S., Ireland and Brazil to help them advance their careers in digital investigations. The four recipients of the Magnet Forensics Scholarship Awards will receive training led by highly experienced digital forensic examiners and the opportunity to obtain certification. They will also receive Magnet Forensics’ digital investigation software, Magnet AXIOM.
“Magnet Forensics is proud to award scholarships to four promising investigators in three different continents and renew our commitment to investing in the modernization of policing,” said Jad Saliba, founder and chief technology officer of Magnet Forensics. “Over the past two years, we’ve seen a historic rise in child exploitation, human trafficking and other cyber-enabled crimes that are placing the digital investigation teams of police agencies under remarkable pressure. The Magnet Forensics Scholarship Awards will provide more agencies with the ability to investigate these crimes and accelerate their pursuit of justice.”
Magnet Forensics launched its scholarship program in 2018 to help police agencies address their growing talent shortage in digital forensics and to promote diversity in the profession. Budgetary constraints are limiting the ability of police agencies to bolster their digital investigation units with new hires or train existing officers seeking an interdepartmental move. This challenge has left labs overburdened at a time when digital evidence has become pivotal to criminal prosecutions. Faced with the same constraints, smaller police agencies are struggling to attract, train and retain investigators and it is hindering their ability to investigate crimes such as child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and cybercrime.
The recipients of the 2021 Magnet Forensics Scholarship Awards were selected from an exceptionally competitive pool of applicants in two categories: new to digital forensics, which seeks to aid investigators with little or no experience, and an advanced category, which is open to experienced digital investigators who are looking to upskill and achieve certification.
The scholarships will be awarded in honour of Peel Regional Police Sgt. Steve Martin. As an Internet Child Exploitation unit investigator, Sgt. Martin played a leading role in arresting criminals who preyed on children before he died of cancer in January 2021.
The 2021 Magnet Forensics Scholarship Award winners are:
New to Forensics: Caroline Torie of the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit in Indiana and Richard Gomm of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission in Ireland
Advanced: Jacob Walk of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri and Alberto Magno of the Civil Police of the Federal District in Brazil
“The Magnet Scholarship Award is going to have a tremendous impact on the Franklin County Sheriff Cyber Crime Task Force’s ability to investigate child exploitation and the safety of children in our community,” said Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Det. Jacob Walk. “Our Cyber Crime Task Force lost the ability to outsource digital investigations to a larger agency and we didn’t have the funding to address this challenge in 2022. With the help of the Magnet Forensics Scholarship Award, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s Cyber Crime Task Force will now have the technology and training to perform our own digital investigations.”
Investigators who are interested in applying for the 2022 Magnet Forensics Scholarship Awards can visit the program’s website: https://www.magnetforensics.com/magnet-scholarship-program/