It turns out the company contracted by the Fall River Police Department to investigate how a man’s video footage mysteriously disappeared from his phone while it was in the evidence room is not the one I initially reported earlier this week.
I mistakenly reported that Ken Bell Associates, a California company operated by a former cop turned consultant, would be conducting the investigation, finding it odd considering it’s not something he specializes in.
The company is actually Ken Bell & Associates, a mysterious company that has a website proclaiming to be “an industry leader in digital forensics and cyber security,” encouraging people to “call us today and find out why people are talking about us.”
However, they don’t bother providing a phone number to call and find out who, in fact, is talking about them besides Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine, who contracted them to conduct the investigation after wiretapping charges were dismissed against George Thompson, meaning that police were not going to return his phone anytime soon.
And they don’t bother providing an address or even mention what state they are operating in.
All they have is a generic website with stock footage stating that “our professional staff is capable of handling all aspects of your digital security concerns. With our extensive training and years of service, you’ll enjoy peace of mind sooner rather than later.”
However, the only way to contact them is by leaving a comment on their WordPress site, which would be no different than leaving a comment on this site – with the exception that nobody has left a comment since they launched the company in 2012 (as they claim).
A few cursory attempts to look into their background came up with nothing as well, so it makes one wonder how did Racine come across this company.
And why would he be so concerned about investigating the deletion of footage unless he wants to ensure the company wipes the phone clean, ensuring Thompson will never be able to recover the footage that would likely help him in a lawsuit.
So my apologies to the Ken Bell who has no problem putting his phone number, email, address, photos and credentials on his site. He, at least, operates with some degree of transparency – not to mention he has a Google track record that confirms he is who he says he is.
But now I’m wondering why the other Ken Bell is so secretive?
UPDATE: With the help of the PINAC Readership, we were able to determine that the Ken Bell contracted by Chief Racine to investigate how Thompson’s footage was deleted in the evidence room – which is akin to hiring a private investigator to find the elephant in the room – is likely an old college buddy of the chief’s.
Surprising, isn’t it?
Ken Bell, who is recognized as being an expert in computer forensics, retired from the Rhode Island State Police Department in 2012 as you can see on page three of this document.
He then launched Ken Bell & Associates in December 2013, according to the Rhode Island Secretary of State, meaning he was stretching the truth when he claimed on his site the company had been founded in 2012.
Although he is cited as having all kinds of expertise in computers, he didn’t launch the site until March, which explains why it deserves one of those annoying “under construction” banners across the top.
And one of his first clients, if not his very first, was his old college buddy, Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine, who was searching for excuses not to return Thompson’s phone, even though charges against him were already dropped.
According to his LinkedIn page, Racine attended Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, earning a bachelors degree in criminal justice.
And according to a site from the university itself, Ken Bell also attended Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, earning a degree in criminal justice.
Racine graduated in 1997. We still haven’t confirmed when Bell graduated.
But perhaps there are old college photos floating around.
Either way, we will be making a public records request Thursday for the contract between the Fall River Police Department and Ken Bell & Associates just to see how much taxpayer dollars the chief is sliding to his old buddy as he continues to maintain Thompson’s property.
Thanks, readers! You guys always come through.