Forensic Olympics

Posted on November 20, 2009


I’ve noticed during my time in a Computer Investigation Unit that there’s a fairly distinctive physique that we seem to develop amongst our people. I don’t know if this is true of units everywhere, but certainly in our place, people seem to…spread out a bit, shall we say. You can take new recruits into the unit – young, keen, street-cops, fit and agile from chasing bad guys through alleys and over fences – and within a few months they’ve fallen into the office standard of muffin-tops and moobs (even the women!). I can’t criticise– I spent last weekend in my garage modifying an old milkmaid’s yoke so that it holds up my buttocks when I drop my britches. Forensics seems to really develop a person’s own personal slack space.

My solution (you knew I had one, didn’t you!): Forensic Olympics. Every year we hold a national series of events to determine which unit is the fittest, and in the process we turn back into the lean, mean luvvin’ machines that we used to be. I propose:

  • The Disk Putt: get all the ‘for destruction’ suspect hard drives and use them as shot-putts. The suspect who had the most distressing images that year will be in the field of play.
  • Workstation races: unlock the wheels on the bottom of the workstations and attach the cases to a colleague. One person sits on top while the other pulls – like the chariot race in Ben Hur but a bit less graceful. Sharp spikes can be attached to the sides of the case.
  • FTK3 Installation. See who can download and install FTK3 + Oracle the quickest. Ottowa shifts will be in place and overtime will be available.
  • Encase White-Screen Rafting: Who can get Encase to a ‘white screen of wait*‘ the quickest. No custom scripts allowed.
  • New Laptop Scramble: Put one new high-spec laptop at the top of a hill. First one to get there keeps it (DI s may not invoke droit de seigneur to stake claim to it).
  • SATA-dropping: First one to make a SATA data connector disconnect from a disk by breathing heavily on it, wins.
  • Tug-of-Molex: Try to get the Molex connector out of an optical drive that’s been in a computer for 5 years.
  • Nude mud wrestling.
  • Death-chase: Start outside a large wooded area. The contestant casually tells his detective sergeant that ‘this unit runs itself really’. The contestant is given a 2 minute head start and the DS gets a selection of bladed weapons. It’ll be obvious who the winner is.
  • The DCI-WIFI-Runaway. Drop a rumour into the unit that the new DCI needs his home wifi setting up, and that he’s on his way now to ask for a volunteer.
  • Breath-Holding: Without breathing in, perform a physical examination, remove the hard disk and perform a BIOS check on a suspect’s laptop that’s liberally splattered with suspicious stains and plastered in short curly hairs.
  • The F3 Rodeo: in the bar late into the last night of the F3 conference, stand on a table and announce loudly that you’ve been given purchasing authority for equipment and outsourcing. The person who can stay on their feet longest wins.


* I’m not responsible for coining the phrase ‘white screen of wait’ to describe Encase’s habit of drawing the curtains while it works on things. It was someone else, on one of the forums. Shout up if it was you and I’ll give you full credit.

Any more? Stick ’em in the comments!

This post was brought to you with the help of the White Stripes, The Specials and a faceful of cough-juice from a scrofulous crusty on the train.

Posted in: Forensics