LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced at a news conference today that the Attorney General's Office has launched a new Cyber Crimes Unit that will target child pornographers and sexual predators on the Internet.
The Cyber Crimes Unit of the office's Special Investigations Division will investigate Internet crimes against children statewide and pursue criminal convictions as a result of those investigations. Seized electronic evidence will be examined at the Unit's new state-of-the-art forensic laboratory.
"The problem of child sexual exploitation on the Internet is both staggering and saddening," McDaniel said. "We now have the capability to fight that problem and work in a collaborative effort with other law enforcement agencies to make this State a better place for our children. Our Office is committed to protecting Arkansas's children and families, and the creation of the Cyber Crimes Unit is a critical element of that commitment."
Cyber Crimes Unit investigators have undergone extensive training in online child pornography investigations over the last year as construction has progressed on the forensic laboratory. The lab is equipped to handle all electronic devices and contains modern security and safety elements designed to preserve the integrity of every investigation. The Cyber Crimes Unit is equipped with the latest forensic computers and equipment in order to keep pace with the ever-changing technology employed by Internet child pornographers and sexual predators.
The Cyber Crimes Unit will complement efforts to combat child pornography already underway. Through collaboration and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies that are also part of the Internet Crimes Against Children network, any possible duplication of efforts will be avoided.
McDaniel was joined at today's news conference by elected prosecutors and representatives of law enforcement agencies. The Cyber Crimes Unit will work closely with prosecutors and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies as it pursues cases.
"We are honored to be able to join other law enforcement agencies in the fight to keep our children out of harm's way and get predators off the streets," McDaniel said. "We designed and implemented the Cyber Crimes Unit with thought and purpose, and long after I leave office, I know this Unit will be one of the most valuable tools in the state working on behalf of our children."
While the Cyber Crimes Unit works to stop online predators, the Attorney General's Office will continue its ongoing efforts to educate Arkansans in the areas of online security and safety.
Through the Office's "Keys to Safety" campaign, the Attorney General's Community Affairs Department has made nearly 500 presentations on Internet safety to Arkansas students this year. The Department also provides a variety of informational pamphlets and brochures to schools, community organizations and interested Arkansans.
For more information a new section of the Attorney General's website that offers Internet safety tips and information about the Attorney General's outreach efforts.
The FBI also has different Internet safety tips for parents that might be worried about their children's online habits.