Dean Chatfield

IACIS history

First IACIS Certified Examiner:

Attended the first IACIS conference, held in Portland, OR in 1991. At the end of the two week conference, we walked out with the certification problems, eight 360K floppy disks! After almost a year, I sent my problem reports and the final exam in for review. A few weeks later, Mike Anderson (of IRS-CID) called and advised that I had passed and was certified. When I asked how many of the 75 plus attendees had attained certification, he stated that I was the first! He then asked what the organization could do to increase the number of people completing the certification process. At the time, students would work all of the problems on their own, without any guidance and submit everything at once for review. My fear was that if I screwed up the first problem, I would probably do the same for the others. I told him it would be great if a student could work a problem then reach out to someone on the certification committee to discuss their findings and technique. If they were on the right track, they would then be told to submit their written report. After the report was reviewed, the student would be told to start the next problem. Mike thought that would be a great support system and asked me if I would start “coaching” students. I agreed and within the next few days, I was being contacted by students from all over the country. I told each of them I would coach them, but not give them any clues or answers. Plus, if they passed and became certified, they had to agree to become a coach for other students.

Elected to the Board of Directors

1993 elected to the BOD and took over the Certification Committee. I personally reviewed each final exam myself to insure uniformity in the process. I relinquished my position on the Certification committee in 1998, when I retired from active law enforcement. During that time frame I certified 120+ IACIS members.

During my time on the BOD, served as Vice President in 1996 and President in 1997-1998. I was the second President of IACIS, taking over from the founder and first President, Tom Seipert.

Provided training at each of the IACIS Conferences from 1993 to 1998, including the 1995 Royal Hong Kong Police Force, Commercial Crime Bureau conference held in Hong Kong when it was still a British colony.

I was awarded IACIS Lifetime Membership in 1999.

LE history

  • active law enforcement officer for 25 years.
    • began my law enforcement career as a Police Officer and Field Training Officer for the Phoenix (Arizona) Police Department in 1973.
    • 1979, moved my family to a smaller community in Mancos, Colorado, where I served as the Chief of Police until 1985.
    • In 1985 returned to Phoenix, AZ and started with the Maricopa County (Arizona) Attorney’s Office, serving as a Criminal Investigator, assigned to the Organized Crime Section. For the next 13 years, I conducted major felony investigations, including criminal enterprises, financial crimes, political corruption, and analysis of computers and computer-generated data.
  • Upon retiring from active law enforcement, I worked for the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) in their new Computer Crime Section, becoming a supervisor involved in hiring new instructors and training them to teach all of the classes we developed. I also provided training to law enforcement officers all across the country and was part of a team which trained NATO Intelligence Officers in Belgium. I assisted in the drafting of grant proposals and worked as a liaison with Microsoft Corporations Digital Crime Section.
  • Separated from NW3C in 2012 and started working for The SEARCH Group, first as a contractor, then as a full time High-Tech Crime Training Specialist. I coordinated and provided training on digital evidence investigations and forensics to local, state, and federal justice agencies. I also provided technical assistance to justice agencies in active cases, prepared training curricula and other resource materials, taught SEARCH investigative courses, and presented at conferences throughout the United States.
  • Retired from SEARCH in 2022 as a full time instructor.
  • Continuing as a contractor with SEARCH, managing the SEARCH ISP List and the SEARCH LE Guides and Cyber Publications.

During my 49 year law enforcement career, I accomplished many notable tasks, such as:

2005: Instrumental in the identification of the Wichita, KS BTK Killer
 – In 1999, I developed and delivered a block of instruction on Microsoft Word Meta Data. Two students in that class were from the Wichita KS Police Department. In 2005, after being plagued by the BTK Killer for over 20 years, those two students identified the BTK Killer from the meta data of a Word document on a 3.5” floppy disk, using the knowledge and skills from the training they had received in 1999.

2008 – Rescued a juvenile great niece from a child sex trafficker
 – In 2008, I utilized my knowledge, skills, and the many LE contacts across the country, to recover a juvenile great niece who was lured away by a child predator, from OK to UT. We were able to recover her by identifying her mode of travel, determined her routing, and intercepted the bus she was traveling on in Denver, CO while in route to UT.

2012 – Created the protocol and established the partnership which became Project Vic
2010-2012 – While working liaison with Microsoft’s Digital Crime Unit, I was introduced to a new product Microsoft had developed called Photo DNA. I immediately realized the value to law enforcement officers investigating child exploitation investigations. I saw it as a unique tool to quickly indentify known child sexual exploitation images, but also to quickly filter other images in the same area of the storage media, and identify previously unseen images, thus identifying new victims. These new victims could be researched and identified in hopes of recovering them from their abusive environment. After negotiating with Microsoft and developing a proof of concept program, I was awarded a grant in 2012, for the proof of concept. This proof of concept was developed into what is now known as Project VIC. In 2017, while attending a ICAC Commanders Meeting, I attended a presentation by Project VIC where they indicated that one federal computer crime lab, deploying the protocol I developed in the proof of concept, had identified and recovered over 2000 new victims in the previous year. In 2022, Project VIC International recognized my work in developing the protocols and proof of concept which became Project VIC by awarding me a Project VIC Certificate of Recognition plaque.


IACIS comments

There are so many wonderful and rewarding things that  my membership in IACIS has brought to me and my family’s life.

  • The friendships that resulted, not just at the professional level, but also at the personal level. Bonds that will last a lifetime.
  • The knowledge and skills that not only solved cases, but motivated me to pursue more advanced and technical topics.
  • The increase in my abilities to instruct, to develop the calm conversation style of conveying the knowledge and skills I developed onto others in the field.
  • The ability to impact more lives, not just the examiners I’ve trained, but the victims they served and the bad guys they caught. IACIS has truly been a force multiplier.
  • IACIS gave me a new career path. A path that has taken me to almost every state and several other countries. I have trained thousands of new examiners over the world, and had the greatest time doing it!

Finally, I want to thank the original crew that came together to found and develop this outstanding organization back in 1990, and all of those that have served to make it grow and expand this unique field of force multipliers!

Dean C Chatfield, IACIS Lifetime Member, Past President 1996-98