On August 28, 2022, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter swore in 20 Notre Dame students as Student Investigators with the St. Joseph County Cyber Crimes Unit. These students will work the entire academic year in the unit conducting digital forensic examinations on evidence from active case investigations. In addition to the Notre Dame students, one student from Purdue University was also sworn in as an investigator.
The majority of the students are in the College of Arts & Letters and are part of the Computing & Digital Technologies minor. This is the seventh year that students have been sworn in as investigators to assist the Cyber Crimes Unit with digital forensics. Since the inception of the Student Investigator program in 2015, the Student Investigators have worked on over 3500 case investigations.
"The success of the Cyber Crimes Unit is a direct result of the student investigators." said CIRE Managing Director Mitch Kajzer. "Unlike most digital forensics labs, we do not have a case backlog. While the average turnaround time for digital forensics is over six months throughout the country, we routinely complete exams within a few days. This would not be possible with the dedication and hard work of the student investigators."
The students all began working the week of August 29 and within the first few days, they all were assigned cases.