Young County officials are weighing the prospects of having an exclusive mobile forensics expert witness.

The Young County Commissioners Court is considering a proposal brought forth through a collaborative effort involving county IT director Eric Steadham and Young County Sheriff’s Captain Tim Bay, with the support of District Attorney Dee Peavy.

The proposal seeks roughly $20,000 to certify Steadham as an expert in mobile device retrieval. That price tag includes tuition for a five day educational seminar, travel to and from the classes (the closest seminar is in San Antonio in March), tuition for the classes, which is almost $4,000, and roughly $10,000 for the needed equipment manufactured by a company called Cellebrite, which makes information retrieval software and hardware also used by the FBI.

The equipment sought through the proposal includes a portable hand-held devise similar to an iPad that could be utilized at crime scene locations. Among other devices, Cellebrite, a company headquartered out of Israel, manufactures lines of data extraction, as well as transfer and analysis hardware for mobile devices.

According to Peavy and Bay, having Steadham as a certified expert witness in forensic mobile data retrieval could drastically expedite the acquisition of digital information that is imperative in the prosecution of offenders.

Currently, both Bay and Peavy said that they go through the secret service in DFW for data extraction, a process that can carry with it extended delays that would be eradicated with the certification of Steadham.

“It would just make things a whole lot easier and might help us catch some people,” Captain Bay said, adding that in the past month, he’s had five cases in which Steadham’s certification would have aided in a quicker prosecution of the suspects.

Read the entire story in this weekend's edition of The Graham Leader.