Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Awarded $440,000 Grant

WASHINGTON - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday that Vermont will receive nearly $440,000 in federal grant funding to combat child exploitation through the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program.  Leahy worked to include funding for the ICAC program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law earlier this year.  Vermont’s ICAC task force is based in the Burlington Police Department.

The ICAC task forces across the country work collaboratively as a national network of law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to prevent and investigate Internet crimes against children.  The funds awarded to Vermont will be used to maintain and expand the state’s efforts to combat child exploitation on the Internet.  The grant program is administered by the Department of Justice.

“I am pleased that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are reaching the states quickly.  The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is crucial to helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to child exploitation on the Internet,” said Leahy.  “More than ever before, our children are using the Internet to communicate through social networking sites and other means.  It is important that our state and local law officials have the tools to keep our children safe as technology continues to develop and expand.”

Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  He proposed including resources for federal law enforcement grant programs in the recovery and investment package.  He has dedicated two hearings of the Judiciary Committee this year to the importance of federal assistance to state and local law enforcement, particularly during difficult economic times.  Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling and Burlington Lieutenant Kris Carlson testified about the benefits of the ICAC program.  Schirling is the coordinator and co-founder of the Vermont ICAC Task Force and Carlson is the commander of the program.  Nearly $4 billion dollars was included in the final recovery package for law enforcement programs, including $50 million for the ICAC Task Forces program.

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