Chesterton Tribune

State Police cyber detectives target child exploitation

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The exploiters of children need never come in contact with their victims, thanks to cyber technology.

Instead, the Indiana State Police notes, “sexually explicit images and videos of children can literally be produced and disseminated on line in a matter of minutes. Once child pornography hits the Internet it is virtually impossible to ever remove, thus perpetuating the victimization of those violated beyond their lifetime.”

To combat cyber-exploitation, the ISP has formed the Cyber Crimes and Crimes Against Children units, whose 14 members are tasked specifically to investigations of child enticement and the production, dissemination, advertisement, receipt, and possession of child pornography.

“Troopers interested in this type of work proactively seek out these highly-skilled, highly-trained, highly-competitive positions, and ultimately pass rigorous testing and interview phases before being selected,” the ISP said. “Once assigned to a unit, the officers will undergo many weeks of training in computer forensics, online investigations, interviewing child victims, interviewing those that offend against children, and other skill areas. This training is conducted in Indiana and locations across the United States that offer the most up to date training for these types of criminal acts.

Detectives assigned to the Cyber Crimes Unit are issued state-of-the-art forensic hardware and software to conduct forensically sound examinations of devices using Windows, Apple, Linux, and other operating systems. Forensic examiners continually train to keep pace with the newest and most advanced releases from hardware and software manufacturers. Also at the disposal of the units is a mobile forensics vehicle in which investigators can conduct on-scene forensic examinations, allowing them to coordinate the investigative process with interviews, searches, and other investigative techniques in a more effective, efficient, and productive manner.

Statistics compiled in 2011:

•The five detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU) performed 140 digital media recovery examinations, evaluated and assigned 1,276 Cyber Tips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, conducted investigations resulting in 119 persons being charged in state or federal court, and held 50 training sessions for law enforcement and civilian organizations with over 3,200 attendees.

•The six forensic examiners assigned to the Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) examined 304 computers, 46 loose hard drives, 385 CDs and DVDs, and 159 other pieces of digital media to include thumb drives, cameras, and flash memory cards. They also examined 712 cell phones, previewed 260 hard drives, and previewed 1,173 other forms of media.

Leading these efforts is ISP Lt. Chuck Cohen, the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Commander. Supervisors in the field are First Sgt. John Richard and Sgt. Marty Metzger.

The ISP Crimes Against Children Unit was formed in November 1997 and the Cyber Crime Unit in May 1998.

To report a crime involving online child enticement or child pornography, people are urged to contact their nearest Indiana State Police Post or call the Indiana State Police Crime Tip Line at (888) 873-1694.


Posted 6/26/2012