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Utah's Fight Against Child Pornography - Disturbing & Rewarding

SALT LAKE CITY -  News4Utah: There's a war going on in Utah. It involves law enforcement against child pornography - those who watch it, make it and exploit children.  And the agents on the front lines of this fight are part of the Attorney General Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force or ICAC. We learn more about this small team and their big battle in this weeks Behind the Badge report. 

With guns drawn and with extreme caution - the ICAC task force serves a search warrant for suspected child pornography. "We were able to download illegal content - child pornography - from an IP address that came back to this residence." Supervisory Special Agent Alan White with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force says the team focuses on a very disturbing crime. "The content is horrific." "Its gut wrenching - that initial - your first exposure to that." 

ICAC Regional Supervisor Patty Reed says, sadly, child pornography in Utah is a major problem. "We are very active. We serve a lot of search warrants and we arrest a lot of people." The ICAC agents learn about child porn violations through several sources. "We receive tips from the community - from the tip line. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children send referrals... And then we're on the internet looking for people willing to share child pornography." Once at a location - they arrest the suspect or suspects. Then they take them to their mobile lab that has an interview room in it. As they question the suspect - they gather everything that can store digital media and also take it to their mobile lab to check it for child pornography.  "We can preview items - cell phones, computers, laptops."  If it comes back clean - that device is immediately given back to its owner. If it contains child pornography - it is taken in as evidence. "You can store data on a mini SD card that is the size of a thumbnail or even smaller." 

The agents with ICAC are after anyone who has anything to do with child porn. "Those who distribute child pornography. Those who manufacture child pornography. Those who sexually abuse children. Those who use the internet - online predators." And while the content of these crimes is horrific and extremely difficult for the agents to deal with, but they say the payoff is in the arrests and in helping children. "The best cases are when you have the intervention for a child - whether that child is being exploited, enticed or abused." "I find that the protection of children is probably the most rewarding work you can ever do in law enforcement. So, I believe in it strongly. We all believe in it." "Everybody is very passionate about protecting kids in our community."

The ICAC TASK FORCE is a fairly small group of full-time agents. They are able to expand their reach by often working with 80 city police and county sheriffs departments throughout the state. If you suspect child pornography or child exploitation you can contact ICAC online or by phone: 800.244.4636
Or your local law enforcement.
And to see our behind the badge reports or to nominate someone for a future story - go to: http://www.good4utah.com/badge

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