The National Computer Forensic Institute (NCFI) is a federally funded training center dedicated to instructing state and local officials in digital evidence and cyber crime investigations. The NCFI was opened in 2008 with a mandate to provide state and local law enforcement, legal and judicial professionals a free, comprehensive education on current cyber crime trends, investigative methods, and prosecutorial and judicial challenges.

Run by the United States Secret Service’s Criminal Investigative Division and the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services, the training model is based upon the Secret Service’s successful cyber investigative strategy, which relies on partnering with and sharing information between academia, private industry and law enforcement/legal communities to combat the ever evolving threat of cyber crime. The curriculum reflects current trends in the field and addresses potential technological obstacles as they are encountered in active investigations.


Prior to 2008, training for state and local law enforcement in cyber crimes was difficult to find. Local departments could find occasional training slots in courses taught to federal agents or could acquire the skills and equipment at great cost to their respective agencies.

In 2007, the State of Alabama approached the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security with a proposal. The State agreed to provide the property and funds to construct a state of the art facility if the federal government would fund the training and allow the Secret Service to operate it An accord was struck between the Department of Homeland Security, the State of Alabama, the U.S. Secret Service, the Alabama District Attorneys Association, and the City of Hoover. In March of 2007 United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff came to Hoover to announce the foundation of the National Computer Forensics Institute.


The NCFI is an award winning designed, 32,000 square foot facility located in Hoover, AL, a suburb of Birmingham. The NCFI boasts 3 multi-purpose classrooms, 2 network investigation classrooms, a mock courtroom, administrative work areas and an operational forensics lab dedicated to the Birmingham Electronics Crimes Task Force. The style and technological features in the classrooms are distinct from any within the Federal government.

The full time staff of the NCFI includes a Secret Service CID ATSAIC who serves as NCFI Director, a Special Agent from the ECSAP program, an Administrative Officer, an Alabama state prosecutor, and a course administrator. Instruction is provided by both Secret Service employees and contract instructors.

Benefits to State and Local Agencies

State and local agencies benefit from a tuition free education. In addition, all travel costs, hotel and per diem are covered by the NCFI. In some of the forensic courses and intrusion courses, students are issued all of the hardware, software and licenses necessary to conduct these investigations. NCFI students receive the same equipment and software as the Special Agents trained by the Secret Service; a considerable benefit as it allows both the local officer and the federal agent to operate on common systems.

NCFI Performance

Since opening on May 19, 2008, the NCFI has trained state and local police officials, prosecutors and judges from all 50 states and three U.S. Territories. NCFI graduates represent over 500 agencies nationwide.

The impact that these graduates have made is noteworthy. In the absence of NCFI, the forensics investigations performed by graduates would either not have been conducted or have been forwarded to Federal Agencies where they may not receive a priority. With NCFI training, the graduate’s agency has the capability to conduct their own examinations.

Recognition of the NCFI's Capabilities

The NCFI has garnered a reputation as the premiere hi tech crime training facility in the nation. The demand for training continues to far exceed the number of available training slots.

In June 2011, the success of the NCFI mission was recognized when the facility was selected to host a Congressional field hearing conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee. The purpose of the open hearing was to discuss the threats cybercriminals pose to individuals and financial institutions, as well as emphasize the importance of training law enforcement officials.

In August 2012, the NCFI hosted DHS Assistant Secretary Louis Quijas and representatives of national law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Major County Sheriffs Association where the attendees endorsed the mission of the NCFI and pledged to educate their members on its critical contribution to combating cyber crime.

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Upcoming Courses

Digital Currency Course 01/24/2022
Digital Evidence for Prosecutors 01/24/2022
Introduction to Skimmer Forensics 01/24/2022
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Latest News

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