Maienschein finds funding to support Internet Crimes Against Children task force

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein
Assemblymember Brian Maienschein presents $1 million to the San Diego Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force.
(Copyright of Brian Maienschein)

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein recently secured $1 million from the state budget for the San Diego Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force.

Over the past two years, the task force has seen an increase in child exploitation with a record 8,161 cases processed in just 2021 alone. With the rise in internet crimes, Maienschein said the rise in internet crimes demonstrates the need for additional resources to help the ICAC task continue protecting children in the region from exploitation and abuse.

He presented the check to the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Police Officers Association at an Oct. 26 press conference.

“While most families have household rules to protect their children from engaging in inappropriate online behavior, it is crucial that law enforcement also work to keep these dangerous individuals away from our children,” Maienschein said. “I’m proud to have secured this funding to help the San Diego Police Department continue to diligently investigate and arrest these criminals.”

According to San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit, the ICAC is a member of a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 5,400 state and federal law enforcement officers. They are dedicated to investigating, arresting and prosecuting the predators who use the internet as their weapon.

An “alarming” one in seven children are contacted by an online child predator. The amount of time children spend online has increased and, unfortunately, the number of predators have also increased their online presence, finding ways to contact or lure vulnerable children, Maienschein said. Lt. Carmelin Rivera, who leads the ICAC, said when the pandemic hit and schools shut down, more kids were sent to the internet which opened a lot of doors for predators to begin targeting children through apps and social media sites.

“If you do not check the websites and apps that your kids are using, it’s almost like grabbing the hand of these predators and bringing them into your own home,” Rivera said.

Nisleit said the funding is important and will boost the task force’s efforts to identify and arrest online predators as well as advance technology, hire additional investigators and improve training. The ICAC recently traveled to Sacramento to make an arrest for cases in San Diego: “If we have to go to Florida, we’re going to Florida to arrest someone that’s exploiting a child,” Nisleit said.

“This funding empowers investigators to protect our children by providing the resources to investigate, apprehend and prosecute criminals,” he said.