Prop P funds allow expansion of cybercrimes unit in Sheriff’s Office

Posted 2/12/20

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is a member agency of the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and one of ten cybercrime task force agencies in the State of Missouri. …

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Prop P funds allow expansion of cybercrimes unit in Sheriff’s Office

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The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is a member agency of the Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and one of ten cybercrime task force agencies in the State of Missouri.

In 2012, Franklin County entered into an agreement with St. Charles County, grant holder of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) grant for the State of Missouri.

This agreement established the ICAC grant would fund the salary and benefits for a full time investigator from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to conduct internet child exploitation investigations while detached to the St. Charles County Police Department’s Cyber Crime Task Force.

Franklin and St. Charles counties continued this agreement until October 2018.

The Prop P funding allowed the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to fund the salary for this investigator to conduct internet child exploitation investigations on a full-time basis out of the Sheriff’s Office in Union. In October 2018, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office re-assigned this investigator back to the Sheriff’s Office from the St. Charles County Cyber Crime Task Force.

As a member of Missouri ICAC, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s multi-jurisdictional cybercrime task force conducts child exploitation investigations reported in Franklin, Gasconade, Maries and Osage Counties and provides forensic analysis of electronic devices for criminal investigations. 

During the 2019 calendar year, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office cybercrime task force conducted a total of 73 online child exploitation investigations. The task force also performed  internet safety presentations as a part of their community outreach.

In October 2019, the Sheriff’s Office was able to assign a new second investigator to it cyber-crime task force to alleviate the growing workload on the single investigator thanks to the Prop P funding.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has always been dedicated in protecting our children but when perpetrators utilize the internet to exploit children the investigations can become more challenging for law enforcement to identify the perpetrator. Conducting online child exploitation investigations required specially trained law enforcement personnel to identify, locate and arrest these online perpetrators. Without the Prop P funding, the Sheriff’s Office could not afford to dedicate full time personnel to investigate online child exploitation.

Sheriff Steve Pelton says, “Using Prop P funding toward combating the growing epidemic of children being exploited online is a noble cause that the citizens of Franklin County can be proud of supporting.” Pelton would again like to thank the public for the support in protecting the youth and the detectives working the cases to ensure the safety of our children.

To report the online exploitation of children contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office or make a report with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at their cyber tip line, report.cybertip.org, which will be forwarded to your local cybercrime task force.

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