Computers and mobile devices are pervasive technologies in the United States today. The Internet is the fastest growing and most widely-used communications medium in human history. With that comes an increase in the number of crimes committed by people using computers and expedited by the Internet. In an effort to respond to this emerging threat, a multitude of law enforcement agencies in Vermont have taken steps to establish the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. This collaborative effort involving local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies has grown out of initial efforts in the realm of Internet Crimes Against Children. In 1999, the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI) became the Vermont hub of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) for Northern New England. From this grew the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, consisting of investigators and examiners from federal, state, county, and local agencies throughout Vermont.
In October 1998, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) began funding 10 sites around the country for the operation of Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces. Among the initial sites funded is the Portsmouth, NH Police Department, operating as the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for Northern New England (ICACNNE). This site was created to initially provide service to New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, and was tasked with establishing operations in the areas of investigation, law enforcement training, and public education. Now, ICAC Task Forces operate in almost every state in the country, making them a critical resource in the nation’s efforts to keep youth safe online. In 2007, the Vermont ICAC Task Force became an independently funded task force which is currently operated and administered by the Office of the Vermont Attorney General.
For more information, be sure to visit the Department of Justice National ICAC Task Force Program Website.
ICAC Program Goals and Objectives
The overall goal of the ICAC project is to establish a working model with which to investigate Internet crimes against children, utilizing a multi-agency task force model and to coordinate directly with similar operations nation-wide. The objectives for the Vermont ICAC Task Force operation parallel those established by the National ICAC Program, and include public outreach and education, law enforcement training, computer forensics support, and case investigation.
Beyond Crimes Against Children
While the protection and safety of youth online remains the most critical goal of our operations, as the Internet has grown, so too has our mission. Today, the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force provides technical assistance, investigation support, computer forensic analysis, law enforcement training, and public information and outreach initiatives on a wide variety of high technology crime issues statewide.
Among the types of crimes investigated annually are computer intrusion, Web site defacement, fraud, identity theft, stalking, threats, harassment, drug distribution, homicide, and a host of crimes in which computers are an instrument, target, and/or record-keeper of the offense.
The Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children
Task Force and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) comprise the collection of local, state, and federal lay enforcement agencies in the state that investigates and prosecute Internet and high technology crimes, including child pornography, child sexual exploitation, identity theft, cyberstalking, and computer and network intrusions.
The ICAC is also tasked with processing the digital evidence associated with the broad variety of crimes investigated by the law enforcement community from harassment and larceny to narcotic trafficking and homicide.