Madison County Fighting Crime With Criminals Cell Phones

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL. (KPLR) – Cell phones have long been the target of thieves but now they are also an effective crime fighting tool.

The Madison County State`s Attorney calls his latest crime-fighting weapon a, "County-wide data collection network."

The device can access critical information stored on the phones of criminals and transfer it in a matter of seconds to an investigator`s laptop.  That information can then be shared with any police agency.

"Getting that information immediately can make all the difference," said Gibbons.

The Madison County Sheriff and Alton Police departments already have the device and several more will be distributed to police agencies within the county.

The device is mobile.  It can be taken to a crime scene or sent to another department within the county.

"Before these devices were available, you could still get the information but it might take months," said Gibbons.

He believes the product, sold by Celebrite, will put a dent in a variety of crimes including drug cases.

"Cell phones and text messages are being used overwhelmingly in those cases," explained Gibbons.

The county's drug asset forfeiture program provides the funds for the equipment.  Gibbons calls it an effective use of the money and property seized from criminals. "It's a great way for us to turn the tables on them."
A new device allows law enforcement to tap into all that information the second they seize a cell phone from a criminal.

Gibbons argues that in some crimes, second matter, so the quicker an investigator has leads the better.

The device is in the process of landing into the hands of several Madison County police departments, but the idea is for county investigators to share the tool, it's portable so it can be sent to any crime scene.