All three agencies will work together to fight these offenses.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick Police Department, the County Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office will be working more closely in fighting internet crimes against children. Representatives from all three agencies signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday, setting up the Frederick County Cyber Crime Task Force.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith says all three of these agencies will be working together against these types of offenses. “Each one of these agencies are working very, very, very hard. But a lot of time, these cases overlap and individuals may overlap,” Smith. “So now they/’re going to be able to come together. They’re going to be able to pool their resources; and detectives are going to be able to deal with each other, not just within their office, but between offices.”
The mission of the Cyber Crime Task Force, according to officials, is to investigate, apprehend and prosecute those individuals who use the internet to exploit children. That can include soliciting a minor on line for sex, human trafficking, prostitution and producing child pornography.
Smith says one goal is hold these individuals more accountable. “Oftentimes, these cases are seen as probation types of cases. But we all know child pornography cases, especially traveler cases, are cases that involve children, real children, whether they’re being taken advantage of at a local hotel, or being taken advantage of by being photographed or videotaped,” he says.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says his investigators have been dealing with these types of cases for years. “We’ve dedicated pretty much three full time investigators, the technical resources, everything we can bring to the table to address this problem that only worsens every single day,” he says. “I look forward to the task force model. It’s worked under several under several other umbrellas so I see no reason why this can’t be very successful.”
Also on hand for the signing at the Frederick County Court House was Lt. Matthew Kail, the commander of the Maryland State Police Technical Investigation Section. He says internet crimes against children keep going up each year. “It grows. It continues every year to increase. The tips that we receive in the state of Maryland continue every year. It’s one of those related crimes that we’re not seeing a decrease in. We’re seeing an increase,” he says.
Lt. Kail says last year in Maryland, there were 2600 complaints regarding internet crimes against children, an increase from the previous year.
Part of the role of the Cyber Crime Task Force is taking part in efforts to educate citizens about preventing internet crimes against children.
“There’s a lot of good positives coming out of the internet, but it gives direct access to the children in your homes. And if you don’t keep track of what your kids are getting on line, and who they’re talking to, that leads to some of these criminal investigations,” says Frederick Police Chief Ed Hargis. “So I think it’s very important for parents to really focus in on what their children are doing on line, on the computer, on their smart phones.”
By Kevin McManus