"We want the student to stay in the field," said Robert DeCarlo, economic crime specialist who runs the CSL program.
"We really try to find somebody local and usually, that's not a problem," DeCarlo
said, adding that there are a lot of great schools eager to place students into internships.
said the evolving technologies and ubiquitous criminal elements make developing electronic crime investigators imperative.
"We're not looking for code writers.We're looking for somebody who can bridge the gap between the physical, investigative, law enforcement world and the computer cyber-world," he said.
"We're looking for a physical security-type person, but who also has the intellectual capacity to really understand their way around a computer and understand how to do things like computer forensics investigation, for example.
"I don't have to tell you, with the proliferation of the Internet and now specifically with wireless devices -- which most, if not all, store different types of digital media -- there's going to be an exponential increase in the need for investigators."DeCarlo
meticulously chooses students for crime-lab internships.He
looks at their grades, majors, projects in which they have participated, and he
talks with their advisers.
Sometimes interns provide the agency with technical expertise that is otherwise hard to acquire, according to DeCarlo
said interns are often sought for technical support.
Interns in the CSL
and NW3C programs work on worthwhile projects, and the work they do is critical to the agencies in which they work, according to DeCarlo
"We like to make sure that the student is given a very substantial project to complete or work on," he
After the internship, DeCarlo
asks the student to produce a report, such as a PowerPoint presentation, that the CSL uses on its Web site and at educational seminars.
"The work they are doing is not, by and large, classified or anything like that," DeCarlo
said."But they need to be prepared, especially if they are going to work for the Secret Service
, to take an extensive background check, and that could take a while."
It's an agency's responsibility, once it hires an intern, to ensure the student doesn't compromise an investigation by mishandling evidence.
"The cop shops would never give them access to something that might spoil the investigation," DeCarlo
said."It's up to the individual law enforcement agency to abide by that.There's an awful lot of work that can be done in support that wouldn't interfere with that."The National Security Agency
has a fine cyber-scholar internship program, according to DeCarlo
, and the State Department
has unpaid internships as well, but there is need for more.
"I would love for the program to grow, but a lot of it is driven by what we can afford to do," said DeCarlo