Purdy joins Sherriff’s office as digital forensics investigator | Mclean County

The McLean County Sheriff’s Office has a new member on its team.

Cheryl Purdy, former Calhoun resident who currently resides in Owensboro, has joined the staff as a volunteer special deputy, assigned as a digital forensics investigator; a first for the office to have in-house.

She currently works as the project manager for Owensboro Community and Technical College at the University of Louisville’s cybersecurity coalition grant.

Cheryl Purdy holds a bachelors of science in mathematics from Kentucky Wesleyan College, a master of business administration in computer information systems from Morehead State University and a doctor of philosophy in information technology with a focus on digital forensics from the University of Cumberlands.

She mentions that her getting into the field was simply her curiosity and having familiarity with law enforcement, as her husband Robert Purdy is a retired lieutenant of the Owensboro Police Department.

“A lot of my world has been the criminal justice world,” Cheryl Purdy said. “It doesn’t stop when you walk into the door at night. … It’s been a part of my life for like 40 years. ”

Cheryl Purdy said her journey into the field started about 12 years ago when she was working at OCTC when Robert Purdy, current state trustee for the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 16, was the criminal justice coordinator.

Cheryl Purdy said that Robert Purdy had someone teaching a digital forensic course online and felt that the course needed in-person lab content.

Though Robert Purdy had intended to drop the course from the schedule, Cheryl Purdy mentioned that it “sounded like fun” and eventually taught it face-to-face for a few years before reverting back to an online course due to budget constraints.

Cheryl Purdy became a certified computer forensics analyst after receiving training at the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, and has since worked with several agencies including the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, Owensboro Police Department and has previously worked with the sheriff’s office in McLean County.

She’s worked on cases ranging from burglaries, child exploitation, drugs, and homicides.

Her work has led her to be the recipient of the “Reserve Deputy of the Year” award from the National Sheriffs’ Association and the “Voice for Change” award by New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services.

The working relationship that Cheryl Purdy and the McLean County Sheriff’s Office had was ideal for Sheriff Kenneth Frizzell to bring her on board in a more formal capacity.

“Cheryl had helped us when she was in Daviess County… and she helped us out some with a few cases that we had,” Frizzell said. “Then an opportunity arose and she had interest in coming here; and whenever I was told that she had interest in coming here, I obviously jumped at that to have it in-house and have it readily available. ”

Cheryl Purdy’s day-to-day duties will consist mostly of acquisition and analysis of data from mobile phones, along with data parsing which will separate the data into various categories.

Frizzell said that Cheryl Purdy will still be assisting other agencies along with the county’s task force and helping out with grant writing.

“Basically if anybody comes here and (wants) some help, she’s going to assist them,” Frizzell said.

Having someone like Cheryl Purdy is vital for agencies to have on staff, according to Frizzell.

“… Phones, electronics, (and) computers are a big part of everyday life. And if it’s a part of everyday life, obviously it’s going to be a big part and tools even in criminal activities, ”Frizzell said. “(We’re) currently working on a couple cases now that Cheryl is playing a huge part in giving us information to get the evidence together to present these cases to their strongest point.”

Cheryl Purdy notes that she is happy to be working with the sheriff’s office in a more official capacity.

“I’m really looking forward to working with them on cases,” Cheryl Purdy said. “Digital forensics has become my passion… and I’m just looking forward to doing whatever I can to assist in investigations to move them towards prosecution.”

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