The RCMP's Technological Crime Unit (TCU) in Nova Scotia brings their expertise directly to crime scenes with a unique mobile lab. The non-descript white trailer is brought along when police execute search warrants at any location in the province.
"When we attend a search scene, we're at the mercy of the environment we walk into," says Cpl. Duane Flynn, a forensic analyst at the TCU. "The mobile lab gives us a safe environment to do our work."
For the last three years, the mobile lab has provided a clean, safe space for analysts at the TCU to do their job.
It has a generator for power, and can fit two analysts at a small desk with a separate bench for two investigators.
"It gives us the capability to go to a scene, pull out the data that's needed and provide it to the investigators immediately," says Sgt. Royce MacRae, officer in charge of the TCU. "It not only saves time but provides a much better product to the investigator. When they leave that scene, they have something to go on when they interview suspects."
Before performing a search, TCU analysts discuss what they'll be looking for with the investigator in charge of the case. They try to narrow down what devices they'll need to search in advance — be it a computer, tablet, smartphone or other digital device. Flynn says his team usually spends about five hours going through digital data on-scene.
"Our goal is to identify what types of devices we need to find to help further the investigation," says Flynn. "Sometimes, it can be a needle in a haystack because of the amount of data we find, but we try to narrow that down as much as possible."