Bartels: Protecting children from internet offenders

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, March 15, 2019 5:11 pm

Improving public safety is always one of my top priorities, and I am sponsoring legislation focused on increasing law enforcement’s access to resources to ensure the safety of Hoosier children. In one year alone, nationwide there were over 9,000 individuals arrested for committing crimes against children over the internet. This proposal would establish the Internet Crimes Against Children Fund for law enforcement to use toward investigating cases in which children have fallen victim to internet criminals.

If passed into law, police could better protect young Hoosiers by curbing the growing crime network of online predators. Creating a grant to fund law enforcement training and equipment could help during these investigations. This grant would be open to town, city and county law enforcement agencies and funds would be administered by the Indiana State Police. Agencies could use these funds for new technology, forensic science advancements, law enforcement training, and tools to address child exploitation and sex trafficking.

In the past, the Indiana State Police received grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to start an online crimes unit and complete these investigations. But with the rise in cases, it is simply not enough for the state to efficiently meet the growing number of investigation requests. The funding from the DOJ grants has gone down, but requests for investigations continue to rise.

It takes roughly $130,000 and one year to train new examiners to complete these investigations, and the licensing and computer programs alone cost about $13,000 per investigator. The legislation could make a big impact for local departments, giving them the ability to train investigators and stop internet predators before they hurt a child.

While the expansion of technology and the internet can be a wonderful thing, it also poses a potential threat to young people. With more flexible funding for resources, local and state law enforcement could raise awareness of the dangers children face online and help prevent exploitation and abuse. 

As always, your feedback and input is critical for me to best represent our area. As I consider Senate bills, please let me know your thoughts and questions by emailing h74@iga.in.gov or calling 317-232-9802. I encourage you to make your voice heard and help your government work for you.

-30-

State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which

includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.