OJP Press Release letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 8, 2003
Contact: Mary Louise Embrey
202-307-0703
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS WASHINGTON STATE
IN COMBATING INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN

    WASHINGTON, DC - The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today awarded an additional $450,000 to the Seattle Police Department for operation of the regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program to expand statewide efforts to combat Internet crimes against children. These funds will allow for more investigations, forensic examinations, and training for state and local law enforcement and to partner with the law enforcement communities in Alaska and Oregon to bolster efforts in the Northwestern United States. This award means an investment of $950,000 of OJP funding for the task force in Seattle since its inception in 2000.

    “The Office of Justice Programs is pleased to provide Seattle police and prosecutors with the additional tools, technology and training they need to keep Washington’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 Washington ICAC, coordinated by the Seattle Police Department, includes members of the FBI, the U.S. Customs Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Washington State Patrol, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, the Kennewick Police Department and the Spokane Police Department. Since operations began in 2000, the task force has been responsible for 13 arrests, 52 forensic examinations of computers, and 415 case referrals to federal, state or local authorities. This task force also provided training for more than 450 law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Community outreach efforts have reached nearly 3,000 people throughout the state.

    “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.

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