Virtual digital crime labs include the tools required for examinations of digital evidence, connected via a high-speed network. These labs enable investigators, experts, analytical tools, and evidence to be located in different locations. A virtual lab may be securely accessed over the Internet. Digital evidence can include encrypted data, electronic communications, data storage devices, cell phone photos, audio, and video.

The AGO and the State Patrol will now evaluate the costs and effectiveness of state-of-the-art technologies used by digital forensic labs in other states, and report back to the Legislature in six months.

The Senate bill was sponsored by former Whatcom County Sheriff Sen. Dale Brandland, R-Bellingham, and others. A companion bill in the House was sponsored by retired Seattle Police Sergeant Rep. Al O'Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace and others. The measures passed unanimously in both chambers.