SEMO Cyber Crimes Task Force receives more than $100K grant

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The Southeast Missouri (SEMO) Cyber Crimes Task Force will receive more than $100,000 to fight Internet crime.

Last year, a U.S. Justice Department report ranked Missouri's cyber crime fighting efforts among the national leaders in the number of arrests made and the number of law enforcement officers trained.

The SEMO Cyber Crimes Task Force in Poplar Bluff will receive $105,206 to fight online criminals who often seek to entice children and deal in child pornography.

Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Dunklin, Madison, Mississippi, News Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Perry, Ripley, Scott, St. Francois, Stoddard and Wayne counties participate in the SEMO Cyber Crime Task Force.

The Department of Justice is required to report to Congress every two years on the effectiveness of the fight against child exploitation, according to the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008.

Last year, the Justice Department's first report to Congress ranked Missouri's effort among the leaders of the 59 task force units surveyed nationally, including:

  • First in computer forensics (1,441 computer examinations)
  • Second in arrests (337 arrests)
  • Second in officers trained (5,810 officers trained)

That report included results from federal fiscal year 2008 and the first six months of 2009.

Missouri uses a regional approach that emphasizes working cooperatively across jurisdictional lines and information sharing among law enforcement agencies.

The Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force manages Missouri's child exploitation cyber crimes program and has 101 affiliate agencies in Missouri, including the SEMO Cyber Crime Task Force.

Missouri's task force uses undercover operations in which officers pose as minors in online chat rooms, reactive enforcement which utilizes and investigates tips from public or local law enforcement, and forensic investigation which analyzes the computers of suspects for evidence of crime. Public education about the dangers of online crime is also an important role of a cyber crimes task force.

Thirteen other multi-jurisdictional task forces receiving grant awards totaling $1,516,702, which comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Justice Assistance Grant program.

Click here for the August 2010 U.S. Justice Department report to Congress, The National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction.

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