Digital forensics tool helps Palm Bay police fight crime



PALM BAY, Fla. - Palm Bay police gave Eyewitness News a first look at a new forensic tool Friday that's helping them solve crimes in Brevard County.

It's a computer program designed to analyze wireless data.

The program will be presented to law enforcement agencies at a national FBI conference in Orlando.

Palm Bay police said the technology could not only help local law enforcement identify suspects, but convict them.

They said the technology can generate leads and also tell police when they're looking at the wrong person for a crime.

Detective Greg Guillette of the Palm Bay Police Department is a certified forensic examiner. He said he's spent hours poring over data like copies of court-ordered phone records in a manslaughter case, revealing data about who's calling, from where, and even how long the calls lasted.

"In my opinion, digital evidence is as important as DNA and fingerprints right now," Guillette said.

Guillette said a cellphone can tell him more about a person than their best friend or spouse.

Finding useful patterns in data manually would have taken weeks, but Guillette, the Secret Service, the FBI and Melbourne-based Gladiator Forensics' partnered to perfect the Enterprise Sensor Processing and Analytics System.

"ESPAS is able to process a large amount of records in a relatively short amount of time. What used to take a week, I can do in less than 20 minutes," Guillette said.

Guillette used the program to collect evidence that helped lead to the manslaughter conviction of 31-year-old James Williams in the death of Wayne Mcintosh.

And soon, other departments will have access to this same technology, which is being unveiled at the upcoming FBI National Academy Associates conference.

"By making this available at the cloud level you don't have any capital investment required. What you do basically is pay by case," Kamran Kashi, CEO of Gladiator Forensics, said.

Guillette said he couldn't live without the software now.

Palm Bay police said they've used the technology on 20 cases and said they've helped other local departments and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as well.