The Carteret County Sheriff's Office is planning to fight online child predation with new technology and software. The Moose Lodge in Newport donated a "Cop-in-a-box", which is a new computer and software, to the sheriff's office to catch would be sex offenders.
Sheriff Asa Buck wouldn't say exactly what the software does, but said it will help them make arrests of people using the internet to target kids and people who have child pornography.
"For every unit we put out, it's going to take a predator off the street," said Bedford Sheriff Mike Brown. Brown organizes the computer and software donations to law enforcement agencies across the country. "When you take a predator off the street, you're going to save a victim," Brown said.
The technology is useful because it will allow law enforcement agencies around the country to convict offenders that are not in their area. For example, if a predator in New York City tries to contact a minor in Carteret County, law enforcement can use the technology to convict the suspect.
"We can engage in online chat," Sheriff Buck said. "We can go online and kind of fish for these individuals and engage in conversation with them. Depending on what they say and who they're talking to, that depends on how far an investigation will go from there."
According to Sheriff Brown, predators tend to target teenage girls on the internet. He says it's also important for parents to be aware of what their kids are doing online. It's a point that rape rehabilitation experts reinforce.
"The one thing for parents, if it happens to their child. They might be saying "They're Ok," get them in for help anyways," said Gwen Roberts, director of the Rape Crisis Program in Carteret County. "Because many times children hold things on the inside."
Sheriff Buck said an undercover deputy will operate the investigative technology.