DENHAM SPRINGS – The Denham Spring City Council approved an agreement Tuesday between the city and the U.S. Secret Service to train city police officers to handle electronic financial crimes.
In return, if needed, the Secret Service can call upon the Denham Springs officers to work with the federal agency for three years.
Mayor Gerard Landry said the agreement in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) means it won’t cost the city anything, and the Police Department will have officers knowledgeable about electronic crimes.
According to the MOU, when the Patriot Act of 2001 was passed, the Secret Service was given the responsibility to create a national network of electronic crimes task forces (ECTF).
Electronic crimes range from stealing and using another person’s identity or debit card to withdrawing money and hacking an online bank account to steal money to transferring — or “laundering” — money from crimes between bank accounts to hides its origin.
Recent attention has been paid to cyber-attacks on state election systems to confuse or alter results and the nation’s power grids that could disrupt electrical, water, or other services.
The MOU says Denham Springs police personnel will be trained and equipped at the National Computer Forensic Institute (NCFI) in Hoover, Ala.
Once trained, the Denham Springs officers will “be made available for a three year period to assist the USSS in the event of a large-scale cyber attack against a sector of the Critical Infrastructure within their state.”
The Denham Spring officers would work with the Southwest Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force, the MOU says, “to confront and suppress technology-based criminal activity that endangers the integrity of our Nation’s financial payment systems and poses threats against our Nation’s critical infrastructure.”
The Secret Service will provide resources, teach investigative techniques and direct task force operations.
The Police Department will be reimbursed for overtime and other expenses directly related to work performed by the officer to help the task force.
The maximum overtime payment during a fiscal year is $15,000, according to the MOU.