Task force captures criminals with use of the internet

Millions of people all around the world use computers and the Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit and Missouriâ??s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force find those who commit crimes online.

"We have one full time investigator,â?? said Kirksville Police Departmentâ??s Jeremy Cordray. â??We have several officers, who are trained to do these types of investigations and will provide some support for these investigations.â??

According to Cordray, the task force deals with computer crimes from forgery to child pornography. Detectives are often contacted by men in chat rooms, believing the authorities are young children.

"We're just glad that it's us and not a real kid that they're making contact with, because they really do believe that they're talking to a child,â?? Cordray said.

Many question how police can arrest someone who was not really talking to a child.

â??The state has had these type of cases come forward for some time and they've already said that regardless of the age of the person they really are, if the suspect believes that they're of the age that is talked about then that's just as much of a problem for the suspect as if it was a real 12-year-old,â?? he said.

Cordray said the computer task force is funded by grant money.

â??Some of it has been through local civic organizations that donate money for us to buy some of the supplies that we need, but very minimal things are paid for by the city,â?? Cordray said.

During the last grant cycle, it received $50,000 for the investigatorâ??s salary and $7,500 for equipment.

â??There are several grants we apply for and from year to year they will change it from a federal to state grant. We have to reapply every year for those types of things that we need,â?? he said.

Cordray said they want the community to have an understanding of what the computer crime unit does.

"Sometimes it's hard for people to understand why we do them or what we're doing and so we do try and let the public know why these investigations take place, why we're doing them. Several of the investigations have led to rescuing child victims, which is the most important thing,â?? he said.

The task force covers 13 counties in northeast Missouri. According to the Adair County Sheriffâ??s Office, extradition is paid for by the county, unless they have to hire a private company to extradite someone for them. For example, the county will pay to extradite someone from Ottumwa, Iowa, or a close county, but the Sheriffâ??s Office will hire a private company to extradite someone from California, or Florida; and in those cases, the state some times reimburses them.