TU’s campus hosts the cyber crimes divisions of the Tulsa Police Department and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
The Collegian was asked not to report the locations used by these agencies.
Both divisions transferred to campus around 2002, although the relationship between TU and the TPD started several years prior.
“(TPD) kept coming here for help,” said Sujeet Shenoi, F.P. Walter Professor of Computer Science.
Eventually the Cyber Crimes Unit moved to campus. The OSBI followed soon after.
The divisions on campus investigate all types of crimes.
“Every crime has an electronic component,” said Shenoi, and “devices will always have electronic evidence.”
Cyber Corps students help out when an organization asks. According to Sergeant Malcolm Williams, head of TPD’s Cyber Crimes division, students have been “instrumental with assisting (TPD) in technical expertises in our investigation.”
This relationship is good for both parties, according to Sgt. Williams.
It “allows some of these kids to come in and work alongside our investigators to see how computer forensics is done and see how investigations are done from the beginning.”
Pat Kennedy, the agent in charge of OSBI computer crimes unit, echoed this statement.
TPD “took policemen and taught them enough about computers to do this job,” Kennedy said, but “the university is teaching students from the ground up with computers, and (TU) leans on us to teach them about police work.”
Kennedy emphasized the uniqueness of the situation.
“Here, a private university has stepped up in commitment to host the TPD, (OSBI) and the Secret Service,” Kennedy noted.
OSBI has sites in two public universities, the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
Working out of TU has been beneficial for TPD.
According to Sgt. Williams, the university has been generous in providing resources and tools.
“If it wasn’t for TU, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do because of the lack of resources,” said Sgt. Williams.
One of these resources is students. Summer is the peak time for student participation, according to Sgt. Williams. During the school year, student help is more sporadic.
When students are available, they work on a variety of cases, from online predators to the distribution of online pornography.
“The university has good people who can help,” said Shenoi.
Sgt. Williams said students were “essential in assisting with the technology aspect” of a 2003 triple homicide case, which appeared on an episode of “Forensic Files.”
“Students have been, at times, very important” to investigations, Sgt. Williams said.
Students have done research for various cases, as well as provided types of technical assistance such as retrieving data from electronics, according to Shenoi.
Both Kennedy and Sgt. Williams have other ties with TU.
Sgt. Williams graduated from TU in 1996 with a bachelor’s in sociology.
During his time at TU, Sgt. Williams played football.
While Kennedy did not attend TU, his son transferred from OSU to TU to study computer science after Kennedy began work at the TU campus.
Shenoi said students learn a great deal from their work with these law enforcement agencies.