Mouse Down, Hands Up!
Alumnus stops crime one computer at a time
Christopher Cecil, ’12 | Sergeant/Computer Forensic Examiner, Indiana State Police
By Angie Lewis, ’03
Christopher Cecil, ’12, has been fascinated with computers since he was a child. He even remembers his very first computer — a Texas Instrument TI994A. But, that interest never transpired into a career — at least, not right away. But, in 2003, while working at the Men’s Warehouse in Evansville, Ind., a chance encounter with a retired Indiana State Police officer finally set his destiny in motion.
“He worked undercover for years as a criminal intelligence officer,” Christopher explains. “As he recanted stories of crimes he’d investigated and solved, I realized I wanted to be a trooper and serve my state. In the end, I sold him a suit, and he sold me the Indiana State Police. I wonder who got the better bargain.”
Christopher joined the Indiana State Police Academy in May 2004, and, after 22 weeks of training, he was appointed as an Indiana State Trooper and assigned to patrol duty in the Jasper District of southwestern Indiana.
After three years, he was promoted to detective and reassigned to the Criminal Investigations Division, where he worked a wide variety of cases involving murder, theft, robbery, sex crimes and everything in between.
While working as a detective, Christopher became interested in crimes involving computers and the Internet. Lucky for him at the time, the state police was recruiting for training in on-scene computer forensic triage exam, for which he was selected.
In August 2007, he was once again promoted and reassigned, this time to the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. During his tenure, he investigated people who sexually exploited children. Much of his investigative work consisted of working undercover online, locating people who were sharing child pornography.
While working in the unit, Christopher continued his education by attending various law enforcement classes. During that time, he also began the online computer forensics graduate program UCF.
In October 2013, he was promoted to his current position, as sergeant/computer forensic examiner, and reassigned to the Cyber Crime Unit in Indianapolis.
There’s no typical day at work for Christopher. Because his unit is the busiest of all five offices in Indiana, he says he and his team are constantly taking in new evidence, performing exams or being called to assist with search warrants. They also provide forensic support to many other agencies, including the FBI, Secret Service and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police, among others.
Behind everything he does is one major motivation: Christopher likes helping people. In fact, if he wasn’t working in his current field, he says he’d probably attempt being a doctor. But, for now, he’s helping to heal people’s emotional wounds, and that’s satisfying work.
“There’s no better feeling than seeing a person smile or express a sigh of relief when you recover a stolen item or arrest the person who harmed them.”
Lights and Sirens Q&A
Q. What movie can you quote word for word?
A. “Die Hard”
Q. Happiest moment?
A. There have been so many. Let’s see… The day I graduated Marine Corps boot camp, the day I graduated from undergraduate school (University of Evansville), the day I was appointed an Indiana State Trooper, the day I graduated from UCF, and, most recently, the day I was promoted to sergeant and reassigned to the Cyber Crime Unit as a computer forensic examiner.
Q. What makes you laugh out loud?
A. Watching reruns of “Seinfeld.”
Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. G.I. Joe
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I run and cycle. I usually participate in two or three half marathons a year, and several shorter races throughout the year. My fastest half marathon time is 1:40:46. It’s my goal this year to beat that time.
Q. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
A. At one time, I contemplated becoming an Episcopalian priest.
Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
A. I hope to learn how to fence.