Oxford, AGO work together to stop internet crimes against children

Published 5:01 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

While the internet can be a useful tool in many aspects of our lives, including providing a plethora of educational opportunities for children, it can also be a dangerous place where those wishing to harm or exploit our youth seem to be lurking around every cyber corner.

To help combat internet crimes against children, the Oxford Police Department and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office will be working together to help kids safe.

Last week, the Oxford Board of Aldermen and Mayor Robyn Tannehill signed a Memorandum of Understanding between OPD and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

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The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is the recipient of a United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant to enforce laws regarding internet crimes against children, and the AGO utilizes this grant to administer and operate the ICAC Task Force, which is a national network of state and local law enforcement cybercrime units.

The mission of the Mississippi ICAC Task Force is to: 1. properly investigate and prosecute those who sexually exploit children through the use of the internet and/or computers; 2. provide training and equipment to those involved in investigating and prosecuting ICAC and; 3. provide community education regarding the prevention of ICAC.

“We will be teaming up with the AGO to help us fight internet crimes against our children, but we will also be educating children on how to not become victims, as well as training parents on how to monitor their child’s activity on the internet,” said OPD Chief Joey East.

By joining the task force, OPD will benefit from grant resources, joint operations and extensive training opportunities.

“We’re one of, if not the first municipalities to enter into this partnership with the Attorney General’s Office,” East said.

Only sworn Oxford Police Department officers will conduct undercover ICAC investigations. Each investigator involved with undercover operations must receive ICAC training prior to initiating proactive investigations.

OPD will provide educational and prevention programs to foster awareness and provide practical, relevant guidance to children, parents, educators, librarians and business and other law enforcement agencies.