Orland Park Police Host Online Police Investigators' Training

Orland Park Police Host Online Police Investigators' Training
Posted on 09/24/2013

The Orland Park Police Department provided the backdrop for a joint news conference announcing increased efforts to raise public awareness about the threat of crimes of sexual violence against children on the Internet.

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy joined Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez for the specialized training for law enforcement officers. Designed to provide the most updated technologies and tools that can be used in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving online child sex predators, the four day training covered how to identify subjects likely to use social networks to exploit children.

“Orland Park was pleased to host this training because we all have to work together to protect our children,” said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. “Public awareness is key in protecting the kids who use the Internet and especially social media sites. This cooperative effort is vital to keeping them safe when they’re online,” the mayor said.

“Training law enforcement officers and raising public awareness about the dangers children face online go hand in hand,” Madigan said. “We cannot arrest our way out of this problem so any solution must address this criminal activity on multiple fronts.”

The State’s Attorney’s Office administers the Cook County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), comprised of multiple law enforcement agencies that conduct proactive investigations, forensic investigations and subsequent prosecutions involving crimes of sexual violence against children. The Attorney General’s Office administers the ICAC Task Force in Illinois in every county outside of Cook County. This cooperative effort enables the ICAC Task Force to promote the coordinated investigation of cyber cases and the protection of children.

“As the number of children who use technology continues to soar, the need for education and the commitment to the protection of children who are exposed to online predators must also increase,” Alvarez said. “It is imperative that we take proactive steps to educate and raise awareness about the dangers that loom when children are online or using social media,” she added.

The State’s Attorney’s Office reports that investigators and prosecutors have reported an increasing trend in Internet sex crimes targeting children, particularly those involving the use of social networking sites like Facebook.

“Keeping the training current with how fast technology changes is important for every law enforcement agency,” said Trustee Carole Griffin Ruzich, chair of the village’s Public Safety Committee. “We’re glad that the Orland Park Police Department was able to help facilitate sharing this information with law enforcement agencies from throughout the region,” she said.

“The Orland Park Police Department is proud to host this training for investigators from throughout Cook County,” McCarthy said. “We need to provide our officers and departments with the very best technological tools available to protect our children and target internet predators,” the chief said.

“Orland Park has an officer who has been trained not only in detecting Internet crimes against children, working undercover to identify predators. This officer is trained in computer forensics so he can analyze cell phones, preview hard drives, downloading them for forensic examination and evidence,” McCarthy said.

At the September 19 news conference, Alvarez announced that her office will be distributing free parental Internet monitoring software designed to help parents track their children’s online activities.

The “Computer Cop” software is an easy way for parents to review what their children are doing online and will assess if they are being exposed to inappropriate or harmful content.