In October 2018, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office re-assigned this investigator back to the Sheriff’s Office from the St. Charles County Cyber Crime Task Force. The Prop P funding allowed the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to fund the salary for this investigator to conduct internet child exploitation investigations on a full-time basis out of the Sheriff’s Office in Union. As a member Missouri ICAC, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s multi-jurisdictional cybercrime task force conducts child exploitation investigations reported in Franklin, Gasconade, Maries and Osage Counties and provides forensic analysis of electronic devices for criminal investigations.
During the 2019 calendar year, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office cybercrime task force conducted a total of 73 online child exploitation investigations. The task force also performed internet safety presentations as a part of their community outreach. In October of 2019, the Sheriff’s Office was able to assign a new second investigator to it cyber-crime task force to alleviate the growing workload on the single investigator thanks to the Prop P funding.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has always been dedicated in protecting our children but when perpetrators utilize the internet to exploit children the investigations can become more challenging for law enforcement to identify the perpetrator. Conducting online child exploitation investigations required specially trained law enforcement personnel to identify, locate and arrest these online perpetrators. Without the Prop P funding, the Sheriff’s Office could not afford to dedicate full time personnel to investigate online child exploitation. Using Prop P funding toward combating the growing epidemic of children being exploited online is a noble cause that the citizens of Franklin County can be proud of supporting. Sheriff Pelton would again like to thank the public for the support in protecting the youth and the detectives working the cases to ensure the safety of our children.
To report the online exploitation of children contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office or make a report with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at their cyber tip line, report.cybertip.org, which will be forwarded to your local cybercrime task force.