INA, Ill. (Oct. 22, 2013) – Rend Lake College’s Criminal Justice program is going digital next fall with the creation of a new Cyber Forensics certification program. Pending approval from the Illinois Community College Board, the certificate will include four new classes in computers and cyber law.
Criminal Justice Instructor Ron Meek said the program is unique to the area for several reasons, the biggest being the inclusion of tablets and smartphones.
“The class will help our students develop forensic skills to uncover digital evidence,” said Meek. “The computer classes will be unique because students will learn how to deal with more than just computers, as in tablets and smartphones.”
Computer Forensics I and II will be taught by Computer Networking Professor Ricky Robinson. Meek added the classes won’t only be interesting to criminal justice majors, but also to those interested in computers, law and private investigation.
“Another unique feature of the computer forensics classes is that both criminal justice students and computer students will be interested in taking it,” said Meek. “There are students who are interested in criminal justice, but not interested in being in law enforcement, and those students can work in a lab and help put people away who have committed cyber-crimes.”
Cyber Crime and Law, taught by Instructor Tricia Martin-Dick, will cover current laws on obtaining cyber evidence and information. The final class, Cyber Crime and Investigation, will be case studies for students to look into real-life examples. There are six other classes included in the certificate; however, the classes are already required by RLC’s Criminal Justice program.
“I’m really excited about this certificate,” said Meek. “It will be a big plus to our program, and just because it’s an added certificate doesn’t mean it’s a lot more classes.”
Additionally, Meek said the certificate will be taught using EnCase software, the same that is used by the Secret Service and other state agencies.
“It’s the cutting-edge software. I think it’s going to be a real positive asset to our program,” he said.
The certificate was an idea brought to the RLC Criminal Justice program by the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, said Meek.
“They meet annually and talk about what they’d like to see and what’s needed in the criminal justice field,” he said. “Today, a lot of crime is being done digitally and that’s the future for our students. We’ve got to educate them because they’re going to have to deal with digital crime more and more. Having this certification puts them one up on someone who doesn’t.”
Meek added the job market is growing across the country, not just in Illinois. According to the U. S. Department of Labor and Statistics, the job market for cyber forensics and private investigators will grow by 21 percent, or 7,100 jobs, between 2010 and 2020.
For more information, contact the Department of Applied Sciences and Technology at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1261.