Sedgwick County is receiving more money from the U.S. Justice Department this year in a federal grant to fight internet crimes directed at children.
The grant of more than $394,000 will support the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which includes Wichita police officers and Sedgwick county deputies. The grant is an increase of $147,000 from last year, and much of it goes to advanced technology and equipment to help with investigations. The task force operates under the Exploited and Missing Child Unit for Wichita and Sedgwick County.
Wichita police sergeant Jeff Swanson, a commander of the task force, says forensic investigators this year have already processed over 80,000 gigabites of contraband material. He said the material that is being discovered involves infant, toddlers and pre-teen children, and “it’s as explicit as you can imagine.” He said the task force has identified 44 children who were previously unknown victims, and those children are now getting help.
Swanson said the task force helps children around the world, and not just in Kansas. He said child victims have been located in Canada, and information has been received from around the world about child victims in Kansas. He said the grant helps with the communications and investigations that are involved in internet crimes.
Swanson said child pornography is not just an image on a screen or a click of the mouse, it’s a crime scene photo and it’s a crime that is in progress for a child who is being exploited. He said the task force is dedicated in prosecuting people responsible for the images and getting help for the child victims.
Sedgwick County Commission chairman David Dennis said “the problem isn’t getting better, unfortunately, so we need grants like this so that we can make sure that we do protect our children.”
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