WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to protect children and crack down on Internet predators, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and Governor Donald L. Carcieri today announced that the Rhode Island State Police will receive $250,000 in federal funding to enhance the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (RI ICAC) Task Force. This funding will be provided through the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program, which helps state and local law enforcement agencies prevent and prosecute cyber enticement and child pornography cases.

The Rhode Island ICAC Task Force will use the grant, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to conduct ICAC investigations, prosecute cases, and provide computer forensic resources. It will also help law enforcement agencies engage in community outreach initiatives to provide training, technical assistance, and prevention and educational activities.

"I am pleased that the Rhode Island State Police will receive this federal funding to develop a stronger, statewide Internet safety program to combat online predators and protect our kids," said Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees federal spending on law enforcement programs. "This money will help the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force crack down on online predators and bring them to justice. It will also help raise public awareness about online threats and help educate students and parents to prevent future cases of child exploitation."

"Protecting Rhode Island children from predators has been one of my administration's top public safety priorities," Governor Carcieri said. "Over the last several years, we have proposed and passed tougher child protection laws. Rhode Island also created a task force inside the State Police to specifically fight the threat posed to children by Internet predators. This grant will help the State Police augment these ongoing efforts to crack down on cyber-criminals by providing them with up-to-date training and equipment. I want to thank Senator Reed and the entire congressional delegation for their continued support for these important federal grant programs."

"We are very pleased to receive the federal funding and we remain committed to combating nefarious on-line predators who endanger our most precious assets, our children. These funds will help the State Police continue to augment our skills, equipment, training and resources in a concerted effort with other Rhode Island law enforcement agencies," said Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.

RI ICAC is a multi-agency group comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials, prosecution officials, educators, private information technologists, and mental health professionals. These groups work together to prevent, interdict, investigate, and prosecute individuals who use the Internet to exploit children.

The ICAC Program was developed by Congress in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. The fiscal year 1998 Justice Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 105-119), which Senator Reed voted for, provided $2.4 million to OJJDP to create a national network of state and local law enforcement cyber units to investigate cases of child sexual exploitation.