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FBI-sponsored forensic lab in Chelsea will analyze digital evidence from cellphones, computers

The new Chelsea location is the 17th Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory nationwide.Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory

A new Federal Bureau of Investigation-sponsored digital forensics laboratory has opened in Chelsea. The New England Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory is only the 17th of its kind in the United States. Here is a look at the facility.

Where is the new site?

It is located inside the FBI Boston Division headquarters and will provide its services and support to law enforcement agencies throughout New England, officials said. It will have about 12 FBI certified forensic examiners.

What type of work will it perform?

The laboratory is devoted entirely to examining digital evidence. It is opening as law enforcement agencies ramp up efforts to combat all types of digital crime, including those that require evidence gathering involving e-mails, ATM transactions, instant message histories, and Internet browser histories and databases. The location will also serve as a training center.


“This new, state-of-the-art laboratory will allow the FBI to expand our forensic capabilities and provide our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners with access to cutting-edge technology in order to address the growing number of cases involving digital media,” Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said in a statement. “By combining the extraordinary talents and resources of our partners, we’re increasing our ability to share information and stay on top of current threats.”

What other agencies will benefit from the new facility?

The Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Brookline, Framingham, and Boston police departments, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will all benefit.

“With the rapid evolution of technology, virtually every case we see has digital evidence,” Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said in the statement. “This collaborative new space will provide the Boston Police Department and our law enforcement partners with unprecedented access to tools that will improve our abilities to investigate cases, and fill a critical need for sophisticated training, equipment and resources while ensuring no one community has to bear the financial burden alone.”


Maria Lovato can be reached at maria.lovato@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @maria_lovato99.