Officers Train to Investigate Online Child Predators - WBAY

Officers Train to Investigate Online Child Predators

Brown County -

Investigators across Northeast Wisconsin are increasing their attention on Internet crimes against children. To help accomplish this,statewide training is underway this week to help more agencies target offenders looking to harm our kids.

Through stings like "Operation Black Veil," you've seen first-hand the dark side of the Internet, an endless number of people willing to meet, then pay to have sex with children at all times of the day and night.

"When you're talking the cyber world, not just this line of work, but everything else, there's so much going on. There's so many people on there, and the ease of access for everybody to be on there, it can be overwhelming," says Sgt. Wang Lee with the Outagamie County Sheriff's Office.

Despite that challenge, catching these criminals have become a top priority for agencies across the state.

"Everybody's realizing that this is a good focus and something that we need to do," says Lt. Jim Valley with the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, in 2007, 20 departments made up the state's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

Now, 200 agencies have joined, including the Outagamie County Sheriff's Office just last week.

"Having kids myself, this is one of those things where, you're right, I want to get in there, do whatever I can to keep all the kids of our community safe," says Lee.

These investigations are unlike any other meaning officers need very specific training.

This week, under the instruction of the Brown County Sheriff's Office and DCI agents, officers are learning where these predators hide, how to chat with them and how to gather evidence.

"We're just teaching them how to start an investigation, go through it, make sure they (have) proper paperwork and make sure everything is documented," says Valley.

And since this is a concern in communities big and small, investigators are confident training multiple agencies will only help catch more online predators.

"If we can combine our efforts and our skills that we've learned over the years, we can come up with some kind of plan of action and take that forward," adds Valley.

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