CENTRALIA — The Centralia Police Department announced Friday that it has assigned Detective Shawn Richards, who is the Lead Investigator for Sexual assault cases for the Department, to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program (ICAC)
According to Centralia Police Chief Greg Dodson, ICAC is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing more than 3,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies. These agencies investigate and prosecute child abuse and exploitation crimes involving the internet.
In Illinois, the Attorney General’s Office leads the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with more than 200 participating law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
The ICAC also provides training for law enforcement agencies across Illinois to respond to the proliferation of child sexual abuse images online and online activity by predators seeking unsupervised contact with potential underage victims. In addition, the ICAC conducts investigations and has arrested more than 1,600 predators in Illinois since its inception.
By joining the Illinois Attorney General’s ICAC, CPD will have access to the following assists at no expense to the department or city:
- Advanced training for Detective Richards in investigating these types of crimes
- An Investigative Assistance Network to call upon when needed
- Prosecutorial support
- Computer forensics support
- Ongoing annual investigative, technical and legal training
As part of the task force, there is also the potential to receive computer hardware and software free of charge to be placed in our agency to facilitate investigating these crimes such as Celebrite. Dodson says CPD currently utilizes these on a frequent basis but must rely on other agencies to provide this service.
He notes that crimes that victimize children are of the highest priority to the Centralia Police Department and being part of the ICAC task force is the best way to give us the resources needed to identify and prosecute these perpetrators.