INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana lawmakers on Thursday signaled support in the fight to protect children from online crimes.
State Sen. Michael Crider asked lawmakers for $2 million to maintain the state’s internet crimes against children fund. The fund helps law enforcement investigate online pornography, exploitation and trafficking involving children.
The Republican from Greenfield said, “It’s a big problem and it’s one we really need to take seriously.”
Crider said Indiana State Police has about 10 investigators working to catch predators and roughly 44 police agencies statewide work together in investigations of internet crimes involving children.
The U.S. Department of Justice awarded Indiana State Police more than $380,000 for the fund.
Crider was concerned that amount was not enough for investigators.
“What we’re seeing is an increased need for investigations and decreasing funding,” Crider said. “So, I’m trying to figure out a way to ask for new money. This is not a state police initiative. It’s something I’m concerned about.”
Fighting those crimes isn’t cheap. The computer programs that Indiana investigators need for data analysis cost more than $13,000 a year, per computer, according to Crider.,
His bill would allow I.S.P to keep a Million dollars for training and investigation equipment, and give the other $1 Million as grants to law enforcement statewide to invetigate their own internet crimes against children.
“My hope is it’s enough to help us maintain status quo,” Crider explained.
A leader of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy said he believes lawmakers are moving in a good direction.
“Our role is to make sure the state’s making proper investments in those kids and families,” said Chris Daley, the association’s executive director. The association has “been heartened by the way the General Assembly this year has focused on protecting children from neglect, abuse and crimes.”