As police forces use increasingly high tech tools to find evidence, their computer forensic teams are getting the latest software from Waterloo Region’s Magnet Forensics.

The company now has a huge global presence, so why have the company’s leaders chosen to stay in Waterloo Region?

Guelph Police Const. Bruce Hunter uses Magnet Forensics software to trace a suspect’s online history.

It even allows him to dig up social media chats that were supposed to be deleted.

“We’ve used this software to not only prove cases, we’ve been also using this software to identify other victims,” he says.

Hunter is proud that the software originated in Waterloo Region, and was created by someone with knowledge of law enforcement.

That someone is Jad Saliba, a former officer with the Waterloo Regional Police Service with a passion for technology.

Three years ago he developed a way to find deleted internet files and now he’s the founder and CTO of Magnet Forensics.

He says “I was able to recover this kind of evidence, or artifacts, and wanted to help other law enforcement like myself.”

The company now has over 1,000 customers in 92 countries, including the OPP, New York City Police Department, FBI and Scotland Yard.

But Saliba says they have stayed rooted in Waterloo Region for one big reason, the University of Waterloo, “It was in our backyard. It made sense to stay here and take advantage of that.”

Tafun Uzun is a recent graduate and now a software engineer with the company. He says more students prefer to work at a startup or launch their own company.

“RIM was kind of like the promised land for a lot of students and now students are realizing there’s mentors, there’s investors, like the formula is here in Waterloo.”

Despite the recent turmoil at Research in Motion, president and CEO Thorsten Heins agrees that the formula seems to be working.

“With the universities, with RIM, all the other startup companies that have settled here in Waterloo, Mike Lazaridis just opened up the Quantum Center, I mean this is a very vibrant scientific community.”

It’s also the reason former RIM miniager Adam Belsher, now the CEO of Magnet Forensics, decided to stay put.

“Unlike the valley, or even New York City, there’s a real community feel here. The entrepreneurs that have been successful, they want to give back.”

Magnet Forensics is also hiring, and with about ten positions to fill they say they’re interested not only in graduates, but also highly skilled tech workers laid off at RIM.