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National Computer Forensics Institute

NCFI Alerts


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The National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI) is a federally funded training center dedicated to training, educating, and equipping state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges on cyber and electronic crimes and related threats. The NCFI opened in 2008 and provides the nation’s premier law enforcement training on conducting cyber and electronic crime and related threat investigations; computer and mobile device forensic examinations; and network intrusion incidents. In addition, the NCFI provides its students with the necessary computer equipment, hardware, software, manuals, and tools free of charge.

The United States Secret Service (USSS) in partnership with the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services operate the NCFI. The training model is based upon the USSS’s successful cyber investigative strategy, which relies on partnering with and sharing information between academia, private industry and law enforcement to combat the ever-evolving threat of cyber-crime. The curriculum reflects current and emerging trends in the field and addresses potential technological obstacles as they are encountered in active investigations.


In 2007, the State of Alabama approached the USSS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with a proposal. Alabama 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 USSS to operate it. An agreement was struck between the DHS, the State of Alabama, the USSS, the Alabama District Attorneys Association and the City of Hoover. In March of 2007, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff came to Hoover to announce the foundation of the National Computer Forensics Institute.

Prior to this groundbreaking agreement, training for state and local law enforcement in cyber and electronic crimes was difficult to find and cost prohibitive for all but the largest departments. Local police departments could only find the occasional training classes in courses taught to federal agents or would seek out private training to acquire the skills and equipment at a great cost to their department or agency.


The NCFI is an award winning designed, state-of-the-art, 40,000 square foot facility located in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, AL. The NCFI boasts four multi-purpose classrooms, two network intrusion classrooms, a mock courtroom, and administrative work areas. The technological features of the classrooms constitute some of the most advanced cyber instruction facilities in the nation.

The full-time staff of the NCFI includes executive leadership from the USSS. This includes a special agent in charge, who serves as the director of the NCFI, two assistant special agents in charge, and three assistants to the special agents in charge. In addition, four Network Intrusion Forensic Analysts, a supervisory IT specialist, a staff assistant, a legal instructor, a budget specialist, several administrative professionals, and numerous contract instructors throughout the year work together to bring law enforcement the federal government’s premier cyber-related training opportunities.

Benefits to State and Local Agencies

State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement students benefit from a tuition free education. In addition, the NCFI covers all travel costs, including hotel and per diem. In many of the advanced forensics courses, NCFI students are issued all the necessary tools and equipment just as special agents trained by the USSS. This is a considerable benefit, as it allows officers throughout the nation to operate in conjunction with common forensics systems that the many USSS Cyber Fraud Task Forces utilize.

NCFI Performance

Since opening on May 19, 2008, the NCFI has trained over 18,000 local, state, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and/or judges from all 50 states and five U.S. Territories. NCFI graduates represent over 2,500 agencies nationwide.

When graduates return home, the impact they have on their communities is highlighted by the countless crimes they solve that would not have been resolved without their newfound cyber forensic expertise. In the absence of the NCFI, the investigations performed by graduates would either not have been conducted or have been forwarded to federal agencies where they may not have had a priority or would have had a long wait. With NCFI training, the graduate’s agency has the capability to conduct their own examinations. They are also considered a large force multiplier to the USSS, other law enforcement agencies, and other federal agencies.

Recognition of the NCFI's Capabilities

The NCFI has garnered a reputation as the premier high-tech cyber-crime training facility in the nation. In the ever-evolving digital world, the NCFI continues to stay abreast of emerging technologies to train its students to combat the acts of cyber-criminals and others who seek to utilize and/or exploit electronic media or devices.

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 hearing discussed the threats cyber-criminals 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.

In 2017, congress again expressed its confidence in the NCFI by passing Public Law 115-76, Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017. This law authorized the NCFI through 2022 to continue its mission to “disseminate information related to the investigation and prevention of cyber and electronic crime and related threats, and educate, train, and equip State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges.”

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