Testimonials and User Stories

"There is virtually no chance we would have become aware of this information had it not been for Nighthawk".  -Task Force Officer, Colorado
"I likely would have never known about the existence of this intermediary had it not been for Nighthawk and the way it allowed me to see the data"  -Detective, Colorado
"The ease of loading the data and then being able to visualize it fused together made a tremendous difference in helping to identify (and just as importantly rule out) several body search sites, saving an untold number of personnel hours and tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in associated expense that would have been spent without the use of Nighthawk."  -District Attorney Investigator, Colorado
"when I found that one of the cell phone data spreadsheets failed to load due to a recent change in format by the cell phone carrier, a Nighthawk technician was able rectify the problem within minutes." - Homicide Detective, Colorado
 

User Stories

On Identifying Gaps In Data

"While working a case involving multiple suspects who interacted with one another literally hundreds of times per day, being able to actually visualize all of their data together using Nighthawk caused gaps in their communication to really jump out at us. These gaps helped show when they were physically together, and ended up coinciding with known time windows where crimes for which they were suspected of committing actually occurred.  Seeing these gaps in time where the suspects were not communicating actually proved to be more valuable to the investigation than when they were actively messaging. There is virtually no chance we would have become aware of this information had it not been for Nighthawk"

- Task Force Officer, Colorado

On Time Savings and Ease of Use

"While working an active homicide case, I had obtained phone data records for the victim, a suspect and a suspected accomplice. Each of these individuals had multiple phones, so trying to make heads or tails of the literally tens of thousands of rows of data contained in all these records was going to be a massive undertaking.  After dragging and dropping these records into Nighthawk, I was able to see who was talking to whom and their device locations in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the weeks it would have taken to generate this information the 'old way' going row-by-row through the spreadsheets provided by the phone carriers.  After loading and then visualizing the data in Nighthawk, I was able to place the suspect's device at the scene of the murder almost immediately." 

Homicide Detective, Colorado

On Finding Missing Connections and Intermediaries

"We had a shooting involving a suspect and several persons of interest and we obtained phone records for all of them.  Once I dragged and dropped their data records into Nighthawk and was able to see the everyone's interactions, I was quickly able to see that an intermediary existed between the main suspect and one of the persons of interest. Once I wrote for and obtained phone records for this newly found intermediary and determined their involvement, I ended up arresting them too.  I likely would have never known about the existence of this intermediary had it not been for Nighthawk and the way it allowed me to see the data."

- Detective, Colorado

On Speed of Analysis and Cost Savings

"We were working together with another municipality in our District on a 2 year old cold case homicide involving an extensive search for the missing victim's body.  Large volumes of data had been obtained for the suspect and associates as part of this investigation.  The ease of loading the data and then being able to visualize it fused together made a tremendous difference in helping to identify (and just as importantly rule out) several body search sites, saving an untold number of personnel hours and tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in associated expense that would have been spent without the use of Nighthawk."

- District Attorney Investigator, Colorado

On Assisting with Fugitive Retrieval

"We were attempting to locate a fugitive who, on day 3 of his murder trial, cut off his pre-trial release ankle monitor.  I was able to load several prior days worth of his ankle data into Nighthawk and using Nighthawk's filtering tools, was able to look at the data in a way that generated 2 very good leads for where this person was likely to be found in less than 5 minutes."

- Fugitive apprehension Task Force Officer,  Colorado

On No Longer "Fearing the Data"

"Our detective unit is very busy. Sometimes we have to make choices about whether or not to write for phone or other data records because the tremendous amount of time it will take to actually analyze that data will likely be at the expense of the other cases in our queue. Our access to Nighthawk has meant that we no longer have to hesitate obtaining this data. We can literally load the data records in their original formats once we obtain them from the providers and be working with it, sometimes in under a minute. The ability to so quickly and easily unlock and work with the information contained in these large data files is nothing short of revolutionary for us. It amounts to a new way of doing business in our unit where we no longer have to 'fear' the data and instead can now get our hands on it and actually use it to build much better cases."

- Detective, Colorado

On Ease of Use and Time Savings

"I used Nighthawk in a missing person case where the missing person was presumed to be deceased and buried somewhere.  I was able to obtain phone records for one of the last people to report seeing her alive.  I had spent a couple of weeks working row by row through the phone data records and had plotted several areas of interest on a map.  My agency gained access to Nighthawk several weeks into this investigation (I wish I had access to it from the beginning).  I loaded my data records into the software and pretty much immediately observed that there was a new area of interest depicted that I had never known about despite spending the prior weeks with the data.  Pretty incredible stuff.  And this from someone who isn't much of a computer guy.  If I can use it, I'm pretty sure anyone can."

- Detective, Colorado

On Supporting Officers in the Field

"I wrote an exigent warrant to get phone data for a suspect who had just done an attempted homicide.  Once I received the data, I was able to drop it into Nighthawk and start looking at it on my laptop while sitting in my car out in the field.  Once the data was loaded, I could see the 4 phone calls made and 2 SMS messages sent following the shooting and the associated towers and their locations. After that, he turned his phone off.  I determined that 2 of the phone calls were made to a number that ended up being a known associate.  I found the address for the associate, and it was in the vicinity of the cell tower that was used when the calls were made.  We quickly set up surveillance on the associate's address and found the suspect hiding out there.  Using Nighthawk for the analysis, I was able to get surveillance headed to the associate's address in under 10 minutes of receiving the phone records.  It's a true game changer."

- Fugitive apprehension officer, Colorado

On Time and Cost Savings

"Nighthawk allows for the visualization of multiple, complex datasets in a user friendly and intuitive environment. The program lets investigators focus on the case, not the task of managing, merging, correlating and/or sifting through enormous amounts of information to find that one critical piece. One way to think about the value of this program is a cost savings approach. 

 

Depending on type of the investigation it is not uncommon for investigators to request and receive data from Facebook, cellular service providers, Google, GPS trackers, ankle monitors, ShotSpotter, and several other sources. While not every case involves each of these data types, many cases (especially serial shootings) rely on several of these sources of information. 

 

Generally speaking, a CDR return could contain 7,000 or more lines of data and a Facebook return could contain 12,000 or more pages of information. Google geo-location pings can occur every 2 to 10 seconds, so if you factor those in for any period of time the investigator could be managing another 50,000 lines of data.   While the information contained in these returns is valuable, the ability to search and analyze it has been historically cumbersome and time intensive. Nighthawk allows the investigator to search and visualize all of these data sets, for multiples suspects, simultaneously.... and it is fast. 

 

It is difficult to describe the amount of time required to complete a task like that. However, its safe to assume that it could take an investigator five or more hours just to search an average Facebook return for the pertinent information needed. Then, if they locate the information, it is not presented chronologically and the references to associated pictures and videos are disjointed and hard to put into context. This is just for one suspect, and one set of data so the task of repeating this process for multiple defendant cases increases the time commitment exponentially. 

 

A similar search in Nighthawk could take less than 30 seconds and the information is presented in a logical easy to follow format. Additionally, this data can be integrated with CDR's, ShotSpotter and the other data types described above. That allows the investigator to evaluate the relevance of related information at the same time. For example, an investigator can now see how a Facebook post, lead to phone calls and text messages, which lead to a Facebook Messenger conversation and a shooting that occurred during that conversation, resulting in ShotSpotter data. The ability to efficiently visualize interactions like that has led to previously unknown associations, new suspects, and the development of probable cause that otherwise could have been missed. 

 

For example, the Taskforce is investigating a home invasion and officer involved shooting. The case has relied heavily on data from several service providers. There are currently over 266,000 lines of data loaded into that case. The case agent visualized all of the available data for all of the suspects and then conducted a search for four keywords and one phone number related to the case. The results returned 608 relevant items out of 266,482 lines of data. That search took less than 30 seconds. The ability to quickly visualize these large sets of data and move past dead ends to pursue knew leads is priceless. 

 

Additionally, this approach allows the investigator to further explore potential leads in a fraction of the time. The ability to do so as uncovered links to previously unrelated shootings and expanded existing cases well beyond where they previously were. The savings in man hours more than pays for the cost of the program. "

- Task Force Officer, Colorado

 

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