Digital Forensics and Criminal Justice Supervisory Special Agent, John J. (Jack) O’Brien from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) Bureau of Special Investigations Computer Forensics Unit was the guest speaker at the University of Pittsburg at Titusville’s Police and Society Class.
As a supervisor in the Western Regional Office, O’Brien is responsible for supervising and conducting computer forensic investigations of OAG cases and assisting other law enforcement agencies by providing digital forensics support to their investigations. His duties include serving as a member of an entry team executing search warrants and seizing digital evidence.
Agent O’Brien discussed the process of online investigations which includes gathering evidence, executing search warrants, and seizing evidence and recovering, analyzing and preserving facts about the information obtained.
He explained that computer forensics is a science developed to investigate a new age of crime that is constantly evolving.
He also discussed the types of crimes his unit investigates. Computer crimes are not limited to cases of child sexual exploitation, they also include fraud, drug diversion, Medicare fraud, gang related activities, death investigations, extortion, credit card fraud and identity theft, human trafficking, and other violations of state and US law.
Students in the Police and Society course study the law enforcement agencies of the Federal, state, and local levels that are responsible for the control of crime and protection of society via maintenance of order, law enforcement, and peacekeeping functions within our social environment. Major topics include the evolution, development, functions and effects of law enforcement of crime in society. Emphasis is on the theory and practice of social control in society by traditional and emerging forms of policing responding to social and public policy.
According to Mathilda Spencer, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, “I brought Agent O’Brien in so my students would see where a degree in criminal justice will take them. There are so many opportunities in this field of study. I am confident that these types of presentations will open the door to diverse and successful careers in criminal justice.”