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Among Leaders in Fighting Internet Crimes

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February 18, 2013

Robust Partnerships Keeping Communities Safer

Congressman Ribble and FVTC Part of Large-Scale Legislative Effort to Fight Internet Crimes

The recent signing of the federal Child Protection Act of 2012, aimed at curbing online child exploitation, has strong local ties to northeastern Wisconsin. Congressman Reid Ribble of Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District and Fox Valley Technical College both serve as key elements to the ongoing fight against Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC).

A previous law appropriated $60 million per year for ICAC Task Forces, but that funding was set to expire at the end of fiscal 2013. The Child Protection Act reauthorized funding at the same level for another four years. The legislation received bi-partisan support.

The ICAC Task Force program is a nationally coordinated and federally funded network of 61 regional task forces and more than 3,800 affiliated federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.

Over the past decade, FVTC has provided ICAC training, investigative tools, and online resources to about 25,000 law enforcement investigators and prosecutors across the country.

To date, ICAC Task Force members have conducted about 125,000 investigations and arrested over 33,000 individuals for computer-facilitated crimes against children.

One of the driving forces behind the legislation was Congressman Ribble, who worked with several House colleagues, including Lamar Smith (R) - Texas and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) – Florida, to see the reauthorization through Congress.

“I am proud to have worked on this Bill, which will help put criminals behind bars and keep our children and grandchildren safe,” says Ribble. As the top institution for the ICAC Task Force, Fox Valley Technical College has trained many of its investigators, and this legislation will allow them to continue to expand this very important training program.”

The Bill also increases the maximum penalties from 10 years to 20 years for child pornography offenses that involve children under the age of 12. Moreover, it permits federal judges to issue protective orders in cases where child victims or witnesses are being harassed or intimidated. In addition, the legislation includes a provision to double the amount of money available for relevant ICAC training.

In 2010, FVTC partnered with several task force agencies and other educational institutions to develop new software called Round-up. This technology helps investigators identify people who possess and trade child pornography within their jurisdictions. Research has demonstrated that 50% of the people who download and trade child pornography images commit contact offenses against children.

Extensive training and technical assistance provide the cornerstone to effectively combat these crimes by targeting child predators. Several federal agencies and law enforcement teams train to investigate crimes ranging from the possession and manufacturing of child pornography to child prostitution. FVTC has served as one of the leading organizations involved in the facilitation and delivery of these training programs, along with the Department of Justice.

“Child pornography is a universal issue that requires a collaborative approach between ICAC Task Forces at all levels and the availability of expert resources,” notes Brad Russ, director of federal program for FVTC’s Public Safety division. “Most victims will not report this crime to police, so we are committed to tracking and finding these predators as soon as we can.”

FVTC is regularly involved in a number of other training-related initiatives, including facilitation of the annual Responding to Missing & Unidentified Persons National Training Conference in Appleton. These training concepts also represent one of several driving forces behind the need for FVTC’s new Public Safety Training Center, which is scheduled to open in spring of 2015 at the Outagamie County Regional Airport.

By the Numbers:

FVTC’s Impact on Making Communities Safer through ICAC

To date, Fox Valley Technical College has trained more than 2,500 federal, state, and local task force investigators through the use of sophisticated investigative tools like Round-up, resulting in:

• Over 12,000 active investigations in communities across America
• Over 6,000 search warrants executed
• Over 4,000 arrests
• 84 children have been rescued and have received treatment for abuse at the hands of the perpetrators identified as a direct result of the training and the tools the college has provided to the criminal justice community