President Barack Obama’s new national cyber security czar, Howard Schmidt, is an 11-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department, where he was a narcotics detective who took an interest in digital forensics.

President Barack Obama's new national cyber security czar, Howard Schmidt, is an 11-year veteran of the Chandler Police Department, where he was a narcotics detective who took an interest in digital forensics.

Schmidt, appointed cyber security coordinator on Dec. 22, will be tasked with fortifying and managing the nation's increasingly vulnerable digital networks, including transportation and financial systems, energy plants and other sensitive areas.

Detective David Ramer, Chandler police spokesman, said Schmidt began his career as an officer with the Chandler Police Department in 1983 and left in 1994, with a rank of sergeant, to join the FBI.

"Anytime someone from our agency moves on to the level that he's at, a national level, we are proud of them and wish them the best," Ramer said.

During his time in Chandler, Schmidt helped adapt computer systems to police uses and gathered evidence from suspects' computer files, particularly in drug cases, he said.

"You have to become familiar with computers because the bad guys are using them," Ramer said.

Schmidt also acted as a negotiator, responsible for trying to coax people out of standoffs with police, and he served on the Special Enforcement Team, which responds to "high-threat" situations, Ramer said.

"He was on our negotiation SWAT team," he said.

Schmidt is expected to have regular and direct access to the president on cyber security issues.

Schmidt currently serves as president and CEO of the Information Security Forum, a nonprofit international consortium that conducts research in information security. He previously served as chief security officer for Microsoft and as cyber security chief for online auction giant eBay.

Considered an expert in computer forensics, Schmidt's roughly 40-year career includes 31 years in local and federal government work, including a stint as vice chairman of President George W. Bush's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. He also was for a short time an adviser to the FBI and worked at the National Drug Intelligence Center.

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