FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 08, 2011


Missouri awards more than $390,000 in grants to help law enforcement agencies fight Internet crimes in St. Louis region

Missouri's regional cyber crime fighting effort is ranked among the most affective and best-trained in the nation by the U.S. Justice Department

The Missouri Department of Public Safety announced today that more than $390,000 in grant funding has been awarded to assist local authorities in the St. Louis area in their efforts to fight online criminals who often seek to entice children and deal in child pornography. 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 St. Louis area initiatives receiving a portion of the $393,430 in area grants are:

·    The Regional Computer Crime Education & Enforcement Group in Clayton will receive $138,802. Participating counties are: St. Louis, Franklin, Jefferson and St. Louis City.

·    The St. Charles County Cyber Crime Unit will receive $190,864. Participating counties are: Lincoln, Marion, Montgomery, Pike, Ralls, St. Charles and Warren.

·    The St. Louis County Special Investigations Multi-Jurisdictional Cyber Crime Unit in St. Louis County will receive $63,746. Participating jurisdictions are: St. Louis County and the City of Pacific in Franklin County.

"Nothing is more important than protecting Missouri's children from predators who prey online and these grants will help ensure that those efforts remain strong and well-funded," said Department of Public Safety Director John M. Britt. "I am particularly impressed by the number of arrests Missouri's cyber crimes investigators have been able to make, their professionalism and their recognition by the U.S. Justice Department as being among the nation's leaders.”

The PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008 mandated that the Department of Justice report to Congress every two years on the effectiveness of the fight against child exploitation. 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)

The Justice Department report included results from federal fiscal year 2008 and the first six months of 2009. Missouri, unlike many states, 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 cyber-crime task forces in the St. Louis area.

Missouri's task forces use several methods to fight online crime. These include undercover operations, during 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.

Including the St. Louis area initiatives, a total of $1,516,702 in grants provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Justice Assistance Grant program is being awarded to 14 multi-jurisdictional task forces across the state.   The August 2010 U.S. Justice Department report to Congress, The National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, is available at http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/docs/natstrategyreport.pdf

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For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail mike.o'connell@dps.mo.gov