The Social Media Investigator award is sponsored by LexisNexis.

The ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator Award is generously sponsored by LexisNexis. Nominations for this award came from several countries. The finalists in this category are doing extraordinary work with open source investigations. They demonstrate a consistent, methodical, persistent and high quality approach. The judges were very impressed with the quality of nominations in this category. Susan Crandall is the Director of Marketing for LexisNexis’ Law Enforcement Division. “We were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions.  These investigators have truly shown innovation and dedication in leveraging social media in their investigations to not only solve cases faster, but to also save lives and improve the safety of our communities,” she said.

ConnectedCOPS Social Media Investigator

This award is given to the sworn law enforcement investigator at any worldwide law enforcement agency who, as a practitioner, has used social media successfully to solve crime. The Social Media Investigator practices appropriate security measures and supervision in his/her investigations. 

We have three finalists and they are (in no order of significance):

Mark Fenton. Detective Fenton used a sophisticated combination of investigative instinct, technical expertise with open source technologies and social engineering to identify and locate an emotionally disturbed person in a complex case where he eventually determined that the suspect was suffering from “Munchausen by Internet”. The disorder is characterized by a behavioral pattern of seeking attention by feigning illnesses in online venues to deceive others by portraying themselves as gravely ill. In this case, the suspect was a Canadian living in New Zealand. Detective Fenton is a Constable with the Vancouver Police Department.

Patrica Van Dalen. Detective Van Dalen is an investigator with the Dutch Police who specializes in forensic Internet research in the area of online human behavior. In addition to her work and contribution to that of other investigators, she is currently developing a project in Digital Crime Profiling with scientists at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Dutch public prosecutor and tactical investigators.

Ian Barraclough. Detective Barraclough is an Internet-based investigator with the Vancouver Police Department. Leveraging the investigative training he received from the FBI, he has been responsible for the arrest of several pedophiles and child pornographers. Detective Barraclough works closely with the FBI, DHS and the US State Department. His work in social media has netted terrorists, money-launderers and even an Occupy protester who threatened a U.S. politician.

Finalists in the other awards categories will be announced throughout this week on this blog. Check back to see the finalists for Social Media Incident Management tomorrow. Winners will be announced September 10th at The SMILE Conference™ in Richmond, Virginia.

The ConnectedCOPS Awards were created by LAwS Communications with the intent of recognizing the good work being done by individual officers and law enforcement agencies with social media. The international law enforcement community will be considered for these awards. Any officer or agency anywhere in the world is eligible.