Stevens Point PD joins fight against online sexual predators - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Stevens Point PD joins fight against online sexual predators

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

The battle against online sexual predators gained a little more backing. The Stevens Point Police Department is the latest to join a task for—fighting Internet crimes against children.

It all starts on the computer. With one click of the mouse and just a few taps on the keyboard, your child could be a victim of sexual crime online.

"Law enforcement agencies start to realize how horrific the problem is," WI Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.

Sexual crime can encompass many areas—explicit pictures, inappropriate messages, or worse. That's where the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force comes in. It's a nation-wide effort Wisconsin joined in 1999.

The Stevens Point Police Department is the latest agency to get on board.

"As much as we can do to reduce it, remove it, restrict it from the community, we will continue to do that," Stevens Point Police Department Asst. Chief Martin Skibba said.

The program has two parts—educating children and parents about online dating, and giving police special software to catch online predators.

"I-CAC will provide services and resources, allowing us to be more proactive in nature," Skibba said.

Police say it's not just Stevens Point that will benefit. A tip in one city could lead to an arrest in another.

"We're hoping this will tie us into other resources and local agencies, that are encountering these individuals and notifying us," Skibba said.

Police say they hope this will be more than just a new program—that it will prevent more children from ever becoming victims.

This program is spread among many agencies across the state—including Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids and Marshfield.

Last year, officials say it was responsible for arresting more than 100 online sexual predators against children.

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