Law enforcement works to stop internet crimeState officials toured Wisconsin on Thursday to talk about how law enforcement is cracking down on internet predators.
By: Maureen McCollum, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
State officials toured Wisconsin on Thursday to talk about how law enforcement is cracking down on internet predators.
The La Crosse County sheriff says about one in five children were solicited for sex online last year and the problem is growing.
Wisconsin’s Internet Crimes Against Children received a boost in the state budget. The Department of Justice’s program will add eleven new positions over the next two years to help catch online predators.
La Crosse law enforcement officials joined Governor Scott Walker and the DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation Administer Ed Wall on a panel in a La Crosse elementary school.
Wall says it's essential to prevent communication with a child and a predator, because a victim could become an offender.
“When they start with child pornography, that’s very often the road they takes them into acting out what they see,” says Wall. “It’s kind of a gateway into a world of crime that ends of being children victims for all of us.”
While the program is receiving bipartisan support, some people questioned its success.
Wall says teachers are on the front lines of educating children about internet safety. But audience members says that’s difficult, since many districts are losing teachers.
La Crosse Deputy District Attorney Brian Barton sat on the panel. He addressed the governor, saying the lack of prosecutors in the state makes it difficult to keep up with offenders.
“We should not, and cannot forget the battle isn’t over once a predator is arrested,” says Barton. “The battle is won when the predator is convicted and we put he or she where they belong. Then and only then can the public safety be ensured.”
Walker says the prosecution issue does need to be more closely examined.