The time was October 1989. The Dalai Lama had just won the Nobel Peace Prize and Bette Davis, the First Lady of American Cinema had died at the age of 81. As significant as those events seemed at the time, some may say they paled in comparison to the events that were unfolding in a sleepy little part of Georgia, affectionately known to many simply as “FLETC”.
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), located in Brunswick, Georgia, has a long and colorful history as a training center for federal law enforcement organizations. It was during this time that a training course was developed to train students how to seize, examine, and extract evidence from computers that had been used in the facilitation or commission of a crime. Although this cutting-edge course was originally dubbed “Computer Investigative Specialist” training, the name was later changed to “Seized Computer and Evidence Recovery” otherwise known as SCER.
Development and presentation of the SCER course was truly a collaborative effort involving federal, state, and municipal law enforcement expertise, as well as highly-respected members of the software community. The core development and training cadre consisted of Mike Anderson, Chuck Rehling, Jerry Pierce, Chuck Taylor, Robert Kelso, Mark Rouche and Tom Waters of the Canadian Tax and Revenue Service, Vancouver, British Colombia. Destined not only to become a standard for computer forensic training, but to influence the future of computer forensics, the first class consisted of 21 students, from which some of the first members of the IACIS Board of Directors would emerge.
On October 23, 1989, the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) was created. On this auspicious day in history, twenty like-minded law enforcement professionals assembled to hammer out the framework that was destined to become arguably one of the most influential computer forensic organizations in the world. Although that initial meeting lasted less than two hours, the organization’s name, objective/goals, manner of incorporation, organizational structure, director terms, means of selecting directors, authority and responsibilities of directors, membership type and qualification, conditions of membership status, and membership dues were all decided in a meeting that lasted less than two hours!
One of the key issues being decided during that meeting was what to call this new fledgling organization. Ultimately, the choice fell between the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) and the International Fraternity of Computer Investigative Specialists (IFCIS), with IACIS winning out by a 13 to 7 vote. It was also decided that membership i n IACIS would be open to sworn law enforcement personnel that had successfully completed the SCER training. Membership dues were set at an annual fee of $50, commencing on January 1, 1990.