Cuyahoga County

The Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Awarded $1,000,000 in Funding in New State Budget

7/24/2019

 

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Chairman Michael C. O’Malley announced that the Ohio ICAC Task Force was awarded $1,000,000 as part of the recently approved State of Ohio Budget.

“This newly-approved budget will help us in law enforcement keep our children safe from internet predators,” said Prosecutor O’Malley.  “Since 2001, we have been supported by federal grants. As the Ohio ICAC Chair, it was important for me to secure a specific funding stream from the State of Ohio so additional training, technology, and other resources can be provided to our investigators and statewide partners.”

On July 18, 2019, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a two-year, $70 billion-dollar state budget which included an additional $500,000 per year for the Ohio ICAC Task Force and over 360 local, state, and federal criminal justice affiliates throughout Ohio.  The task force was aided in their efforts to secure additional funding by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley, Ohio Senator Tim Shaffer, Ohio House Representative Kent Smith, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, the National Association to Protect Children, and by multiple task force affiliate agencies who endorsed the effort.    

The Ohio ICAC Task Force investigates Cybertips that come through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  Cybertips have escalated from an average of 600 to over 5,700 tips per year over the last decade.  The task force is responsible for triaging and investigating every tip and disseminating this information to their statewide partners.  The Ohio ICAC Task Force also conducts proactive investigations and provides forensic assistance to law enforcement agencies statewide.  

“I was very gratified that my Ohio Senate colleagues supported my amendment funding Ohio’s Internet Crimes Against Children task forces with a $1 million, two-year appropriation through Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office.  Special thanks goes to Senate President Larry Obhof, who never wavered in the funding debate, as well as Attorney General Yost for his backing,” said Senator Shaffer.  “Ohio’s ICAC task forces accomplish incredible work as they protect Ohio’s families from predators who try to commit horrible crimes.”

“As a former member of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, I know the great work ICAC does to keep Ohio children safe with federal support decreasing. I was proud to work alongside State Senator Tim Schaffer and our 133rd General Assembly colleagues to secure $1,000,000 for the Ohio ICAC Task Force in the state budget,” said Representative Smith.  “These dollars will update investigation equipment, train more Ohio law enforcement officers and educate the public, which will keep Ohio children safe in an ever-changing online world.”

“I commend Senator Tim Schaffer and Representative Kent Smith for seeking additional task force money, knowing that human trafficking is an issue that does not recognize political boundaries,” said Attorney General Yost. “The rate of return for this funding will be exponential, quantified by the number of predators removed from our communities.”

“The Internet gives predators all over the world access to Ohio children, and it makes exploiting them very easy. The Ohio ICAC Task Force is on the front lines stopping child predators before they strike again,” said Grier Weeks, Senior Executive for the National Association to Protect Children.  “We work with ICAC task forces across the U.S., and the Ohio team is a national model. Taxpayers could not ask for a better use of their hard-earned money.”

The Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is run under the direction of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and funded in part by a grant from the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.