Published: September, 2018| Tim Leslie & Daniel Bianconi

Domestic violence abusers are increasingly using technology to stalk and harass their victims.  Often this involves the victim’s cell phone.  Until recently, having a cell phone examined could mean being without the device for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.  Especially in rural areas, the loss of a cell phone for even a short period is a significant barrier, as a victim’s cell phone is a necessary link to safety. Dakota County, Minnesota is addressing this problem with an Improving Criminal Justice Response (ICJR) grant providing funding dedicated to electronic domestic violence crimes.  The grant expands an existing Electronic Crimes Unit (ECU) of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO). The ECU has been focusing on crimes which contain electronic evidence.  The ECU has expanded capabilities to better serve the victims of sexual and domestic violence, including the ability to quickly attain evidence from the victim at their place of residence or while seeking medical care following an incident. Presenters will describe their program, how the Task Force operates, and share some examples of case outcomes.