WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the Maryland State Police has been awarded a $302,584 grant from U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to train local law enforcement across Maryland in the latest technology to protect children from Internet predators. These federal funds will support Maryland’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program.
“There is no grey area here; if you seek to harm a child in Maryland, we will find you and we will prosecute you,” said Senator Cardin. “These funds, and the collaborative effort of the Maryland State Police, should send a clear message that we will not tolerate the use of the Internet by sexual predators. I am pleased that this grant reflects our commitment to keeping our children safe and secure.”
“I am committed to keeping children safe from abuse, sexual predators and cyber stalkers,” Senator Mikulski said. “We need to focus federal resources on child predators like a laser to catch sexual deviants who use the Internet to stalk children, break up child pornography and prostitution rings, and track down, arrest and prosecute child molesters. We have made some amazing progress over the years, but criminals have gotten more sophisticated, and we’ve had to become more sophisticated. I will keep doing my part in this war against child predators to help keep Maryland families safe and secure.”
ICAC Task Forces make up a nationwide network that gives State and local law enforcement the tools they need to go after sexual predators who target children online. With over 61 coordinated task forces, at least one in each state, ICACs have made over 30,000 arrests since 1998 and identified thousands of children who suffered abuse or neglect. Senator Mikulski included $31 million in fiscal year 2012 appropriations for ICAC task forces throughout the country.
The Maryland State Police created the Maryland ICAC Task Force in 2000 as a partnership between Federal, State and local law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate, catch and prosecute predators who use the Internet to stalk and exploit children. It uses a three prong approach of community education, aggressive investigation and effective prosecution.
The Maryland ICAC will use the competitive grant to expand training for law enforcement and to increase the capacity of the state’s computer forensic capabilities. The training will instruct law enforcement officers about how to handle complaints of online child exploitation, respond against perpetrators, keep up with advances in computers, Internet and wireless devices, and also about how to make the public more aware of child exploitation by providing information, education, assistance and support.