ICAC stands for Internet Crimes Against Children. The Colorado ICAC Task Force was formed in 1998 and was one of the original 10 ICAC task forces in the United States. The ICAC system was created in order to combat the growing threat to children by use of the internet. The federal government oversees this project with the Department of Justice. Specifically the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention or OJJDP. They provide grant funds to assist agencies with these investigations.
The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), partnered with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office and applied for grant monies to start the task force in 1998. CSPD became the lead agency to administer the grant and report results back to the Federal Government. Several other agencies joined shortly thereafter. In 2005 the task force really began to grow and has since expanded to 40 agencies with Intergovernmental Agreements. Additionally there are another 20 agencies that participate in the program and contribute to the efforts. This does not include all the prosecutors offices that work with us to prosecute the cases we develop.
The task force conducts investigations state wide as well as working with federal agencies and ICAC task forces in most other states. Currently around the nation there are 53 ICAC's. Most of the investigations focus on sex crimes committed upon children in which the computer was used to facilitate the crime. The task force also conducts education for children, adults and community groups to help them learn to be safer on the internet and thereby hopefully reduce online victimization. Although occasional presentations are still conducted, primarily this is accomplished through school resource officers in the schools due to a lack of overall manpower in the task force to conduct these presentations.
The Colorado ICAC Task Force provides agencies with the ability to conduct proactive investigations of internet crimes involving children. Sometimes, perpetrators are arrested before they have victimized a real child. The task force also provides valuable training and resources to conduct thorough investigations of reported crimes involving children as well. The Colorado ICAC Task Force investigates persons using the internet to attempt to engage in sexual contact with underage children, persons who send children web camera feeds of, or files displaying sexual acts, persons who download or distribute child pornography files using email or file-sharing networks
GOALS OF THE ICAC TASK FORCE
1. To enhance the Colorado law enforcement's investigative and prosecutorial responses to internet related crimes committed against children.
2. To promote community awareness of the problem of sexual exploitation of children and educate the community on preventing internet crimes from happening to children.
The Colorado ICAC Task Force is working toward its goal of enhancing Colorado law enforcement's investigative and prosecutorial responses to internet related crimes committed against children through the growth of the multi-agency/multi-jurisdictional Colorado ICAC Task Force that includes representatives from law enforcement, probation, parole, and prosecutorial agencies.
The Colorado ICAC Task Force provides ongoing training opportunities for investigators, forensic examiners, corrections and placement personnel, and prosecutors involved with ICAC investigations. Member agencies can receive exclusive training for their members, at reduced cost, at locations in the state of Colorado and throughout the country.
The Colorado ICAC Task Force has provided technological equipment and inter-agency assistance to its member agencies throughout its existence. The Colorado ICAC Task Force offers many other resources to enhance law enforcement's responses to internet related crimes committed against children to include deconfliction databases, contact lists, and email updates about cases, legislative updates and issues, and future training sessions. The Colorado ICAC Task Force is in the process of finishing a web site that will provide an information forum, templates of court orders and other commonly used paperwork, contact information for Internet Service Providers, links to other related sites and law enforcement agencies, and other information useful to members.
The Colorado ICAC Task Force realizes that being able to provide enough manpower and resources to effectively protect children from internet predators is a nearly impossible task, so raising the awareness of Colorado residents about the sexual exploitation of children and prevention education are priorities. Members are provided copies of Internet Safety Presentation software targeting four groups: Parents and Community Groups, Middle and High School students, 3rd through 6th Grade students, and children attending 2nd Grade down to Kindergarten. The presentations teach children and their parents and guardians how to help children avoid becoming victims. The presentations increase the safety awareness of children to prevent victimization and increase self-confidence when the children are online.
The Colorado ICAC Task Force has been distributing public service announcements produced by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to the local media stations of member agencies. The Colorado ICAC Task Force is also publicizing arrests to further create awareness for community members.