It's just like in the movies.
Get a hold of a suspect's cell phone, iPad, or GPS, and plug it into your own gadget. Then wait as all the information-- pictures, locations, call logs and messages-- is displayed before you, even if it was previously deleted.
Those are the capabilities the Plymouth Police Department will soon have at its fingertips, after Plymouth Council approved the purchase of a Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) at its legislative meeting Monday night.
PPD Chief Joe Lawrence originally lobbied for the device at council's workshop meeting last week, saying the device would be an important tool for his detectives.
"What this device does is extract all the information that's on over 95 percent of cell phones, as well as some iPads and different portable computers," Lawrence said.
Currently, his detectives must travel to Delaware County to use the closest device, a process which Lawrence says takes valuable man hours and therefore also costs the township money.
"So far this year, my detectives have traveled to Delaware County… about 85 times for different criminal cases and have made arrests in more than 50 of those cases," Lawrence said.
Lawrence told council that, to his knowledge, Plymouth would be the only municipal department in Montgomery County with the device. Other departments will often send cell phones out to the FBI for analysis, a process that can take as long as 2-3 months. However, Lawrence said that due to the large volume of investigations his staff handles, they must take an aggressive approach to keep up.
Lawrence also told council that the device would not be openly accessible to surrounding departments, saying that they would have to request to use it, as they would a K-9 unit.
Council unanimously approved the purchase of the device for $9,584.