JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FUNDS ST. LOUIS TASK FORCE TO
WASHINGTON, DC - The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today awarded $299,882 to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for financial management of the regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program. These funds will provide for a statewide effort to address Internet crimes against children through increased investigations, forensic examinations, and training for state and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors.
“The Office of Justice Programs is pleased to provide St. Louis police and prosecutors with the tools, technology and training they need to keep Missouri’s children safe by intercepting these cyberpredators and bringing them to justice,” said OJP’s Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels. “Since few cybercrimes begin and end in a single jurisdiction, these funds also allow local task forces to coordinate their efforts with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.”
The task force, now the 36th in the nation, includes over two dozen law enforcement officers, prosecutors and computer specialists from across the Greater St. Louis area. Operational and investigative services for the task force will be managed through the Regional Computer Crime and Education and Enforcement Group of Greater St. Louis.
“Our goal is to expand task force coverage to create a broad network that can ensure the safety of the more than 10 million children who currently explore and navigate the Internet,” said J. Robert Flores, Administrator of OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which administers the ICAC program. “It’s of grave concern to us that an estimated 20 percent of youth who use the Internet receive at least one online sexual approach or solicitation over the course of a year, and we need to move aggressively to close any network gaps.”
Created in 1998, the Justice Department’s ICAC program encourages communities nationwide to develop regional, state or multi-state or multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency responses to technology-facilitated sexual crimes against children. As of September 2002, task force operations throughout the country had led to over 1,100 arrests, forensic examinations of more than 5,000 computers, over 2,000 case referrals to non-ICAC law enforcement agencies and provision of training for more than 39,000 law enforcement officers and prosecutors.
ICAC Task Force presentations, publications and public service announcements have reached over 75,000 children, teenagers, parents, educators and others interested in safe Internet practices for young people. OJJDP has also worked with prosecutors, investigators and law enforcement executives from federal, state and local agencies to develop a common set of standards to assist law enforcement agencies in making interagency referrals of child pornography and cyberenticement cases.
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Information about OJP programs, publications, and conferences is available on the OJP Web site, www.ojp.usdoj.gov.