An upcoming issue of the journal Digital Investigation: The International Journal of Digital Forensics & Incident Response will feature an article titled “Hybrid Approaches to Digital Forensic Investigations: A Comparative Analysis in an Institutional Context” and authored by Diana Dolliver, Carson Collins, and Beau Sams. An abstract appears below:

Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to keep pace with processing and analyzing digital evidence seized in active criminal cases. One unique response to these challenges is the formation of a hybrid digital forensic task force: a formal partnership between higher educational institutions and municipal and/or state law enforcement agencies to further education, research, and investigatory capacity in the digital forensic field. To better understand this organizational model, this study conducted a comparative analysis between eight such task forces in the United States using the theoretical guidance of neo-institutional theory, the first such national assessment. The findings indicated that there was not one “common” model between the task forces – the number of examiners ranged from 1 to 7 or more, the average number of years the task forces were operational was 7, and the academic components varied. Despite model variation, task forces reported that the benefits related to the integration of academia with law enforcement agencies enhanced their capabilities to better serve their communities and provide a greater benefit to society.