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Nearly every case under investigation by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office can benefit from digital forensic analysis, Sheriff Jim Yon told Linn County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

So Commissioners John Lindsey and Will Tucker gave Yon permission to add a second digital forensics coordinator to his staff.

After the meeting, Yon said it's early in the process and would most likely become a discussion for next year’s budget or beyond.

“I truly believe that in the next 20 years, we will have five of these,” he said. “Right now, we have one person, John Trenary, who does a fantastic job. The state calls him for advice. He’s highly sought after.”

“We can follow a suspect’s cellphone use by GPS that ties everything together,” he said. “We had a sex-abuse case in which John went through photos on a cellphone one-by-one and then pulled a fingerprint from where the suspect swiped the phone screen.”

Yon said many cases would “not come to justice” without this type of analysis.

“This is definitely where we are headed in the future,” Yon said.

Yon said that when the digital forensics detective moves or shifts to a new position, there's a lag time in getting a replacement up and running, and that gap affects pending cases.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Learned from Planning and Building Director Robert Wheeldon that the number of nonelectrical permits issued in in the first quarter of the new fiscal year is up 4.5% over the same time period one year ago. Overall revenue is up 8%, due in part to construction activity at the Georgia-Pacific mill at Halsey.

• Approved a contract with the SEIU Local 503/OPEU Local 390. The first-year cost of living adjustment will be 3.02%, plus the addition of a 2.5% longevity increase after 20 years of employment. The second- and third-year increases will be determined in those years since the cost of living adjustments are based on a total compensation basis that includes insurance and other benefit increases.

• Announced that Board of Commissioners meetings from Oct. 29 through Nov. 26 will be held in the basement meeting room instead of the second-floor board room. The commissioners' board room will be used by the county’s attorneys during the breach of contract lawsuit over state timber practices, which will be held in Linn County Circuit Court.

• Approved code text amendments concerning urban growth boundary areas within the county. Public hearings previously had been held on the issue.


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