Bismarck PD Aims to Step Up Ability to Investigate Internet Crim - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Bismarck PD Aims to Step Up Ability to Investigate Internet Crimes Against Children

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Chief Dan Donlin, Bismarck Police Department Chief Dan Donlin, Bismarck Police Department


As the Bakken gets busier, so too, does criminal activity in North Dakota overall -- including Internet crimes against children.  One law enforcement agency in particular aims to play a bigger role in apprehending these perpetrators and protecting North Dakota children in the process.

"It's an issue.  One victim is too many," says Dan Donlin, Chief of Police, City of Bismarck.

Especially when those victims are children.

According to the North Dakota Attorney General's Office, reported investigations for Internet crimes such as luring, enticement, obscenity toward a minor, child prostitution and child pornography are on the rise.  The Office runs the State Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. 

In 2010, there were 88 investigations.  Over the course of the next two years, investigations went from 112 in 2011, to 218 in 2012.  These numbers could be much higher, since 48 entities participate statewide and there's no mandate to report.

One of those entities, Bismarck Police Department, is seeking a more active role in Task Force investigations -- and requesting an "Oil Impact Grant" to do it.  Currently, computers seized in these crimes are sent to the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation for forensic examination of the hard drive.  The Grant will enable Bismarck to purchase equipment to "more efficiently investigate those cases in a much quicker manner," says Donlin.

Because as the Internet grows, so do predators.  "Not all of them hide behind trees and pop out.  Many of them get on the Internet, start conversations," says Donlin.  Including what's known as "grooming" -- or becoming friends and building trust with a minor.  "They're busy.  They're on line.  They're interacting.  A lot of that is occurring locally.  A lot of it is occurring statewide.  They're coming to Bismarck to meet," notes Donlin.

Bismarck PD aims to stem the tide.  

"Being online, interacting with people is great, but when you're seeking underage kids for sexual purposes, that's not okay.  We take that very seriously."

The Bismarck City Commission approved the Police Department's request to apply for an "Oil Impact Grant."  The Department is seeking $5,238 combined from the City and State.  A decision to award funds will be made January 31st. 


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