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KENTUCKY INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN TASK FORCE

The Internet has become an important part of our everyday lives – for information, communication, and entertainment. As is the case with most emerging technology, the most receptive segment of our population is our young people. They are the first to readily embrace and experiment with these advances, which opens them up to many positive experiences. However, this curiosity can result in their victimization by those who would use technology to exploit them.

The number of children and teenagers using the Internet increases dramatically every day. The manufacture, distribution and possession of child pornography, which used to be a very secretive “underworld” industry, now thrives because the Internet has made it so easily accessible. Social networking sites and unsupervised Internet usage have created an open forum for predators who seek contact with our children. These issues present an absolute threat to young people as well as a formidable challenge to law enforcement.

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention created the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program. The purpose of this initiative is to enhance the investigative response of state and local law enforcement agencies when responding to offenders who use the Internet, online communications systems, or any other computer technology to exploit children. In 2003, the Kentucky State Police (KSP) was awarded a grant to establish this program in the Commonwealth, making it one of 46 task forces throughout the nation. As the lead law enforcement agency, KSP assigned sworn and civilian personnel within the Electronic Crime Section to this program. These personnel represent the core of the Kentucky Task Force – investigators who receive complaints and open investigations, forensic examiners who perform analysis of digital evidence seized as part of these investigations, and the administrative personnel who manage the daily operation of the unit.

As the lead law enforcement agency, KSP assumes responsibility for the overall operation and effectiveness of the task force within its jurisdiction. Key to this success are the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that agree to become participating members. Additionally, there are other agencies and groups that work closely with ICAC, on a national and local level, to maintain a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with child sexual exploitation issues. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides complaint information through the CyberTipline, a congressionally-mandated reporting mechanism accessible on their website. The center also provides child victim identification services, as well as a wide array of investigative and prosecutorial assistance.

In addition to investigating cases of online child sexual exploitation, the KY ICAC Task Force provides statewide training which encompasses all aspects of the issue of child exploitation – from prevention to victim services. Hundreds of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and child advocates have attended training and conferences that addressed various investigative and forensic concerns. Thousands of parents, students and educators have received information as a result of presentations by task force personnel at schools and community groups. This “beginning to end” approach will ensure the most effective, most comprehensive approach to combating child victimization.

Participating Agencies

Alexandria Police Department
Ashland Police Department
Barbourville Police Department
Berea Police Department
Boone County Sheriff
Bowling Green Police Department
Campbell County Police Department
Clark County Sheriff’s Office
FBI – Louisville Division
Florence Police Department
Georgetown Police Department
Harrodsburg Police Department
Hopkinsville Police Department
Kenton County Police Department
Kentucky Office of the Attorney General
Lexington Division of Police
London Police Department
Louisville Metro Police Department
Madisonville Police Department
Morehead Police Department
Nicholasville Police Department
Oldham County Police Department
Owensboro Police Department
Paducah Police Department
Taylor County Sheriff’s Office
United States Postal Inspection Service
Warren County Sheriff’s Office
Wilmore Police Department

PROJECT SAFE CHILDHOOD

In February 2006, the Department of Justice announced Project Safe Childhood, a national initiative designed to protect children who use the Internet. The goal of this program is to enhance the national response to this growing threat to our children.

Project Safe Childhood (PSC) is a collaboration between US Attorneys, ICAC Task Forces, and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. This program maximizes national resources and expertise in order to assist communities in implementing programs to meet their own specific needs.

There are five major components of this initiative:

  1. Integrated federal, state and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue child victims.
  2. Major case coordination with PSC partners in pursuing local leads that result from national operations.
  3. Increased federal involvement in child pornography and enticement cases.
  4. Training of federal, state and local law enforcement.
  5. Community awareness and educational programs.

This initiative proposes a more coordinated national effort in order to maximize resources to obtain the strictest penalties possible under state or federal law for those who seek to harm our children.