Last June, law enforcement officers in Polk County Florida arrested 45 men for downloading child pornography from the internet. The rise in arrests was not attributed to the county having a higher than usual child pornographer rate, but rather to the efforts of the Polk County, Florida Sheriff, Grady Judd as well as investigators, detectives, and deputy sherrif officers. Those arrested included a retired teacher, a Sea World employee and 3 Florida high school students.
According to law enforcement officials and child welfare workers, child pornography has become so commonplace on the internet that police departments all over the country could literally spend every day tracking down and arresting offenders. And the internet actually makes it easier to track these criminals down, as they leave an electronic trail of their activities. The fact that Sheriff Judd is willing to expend more time and resources than other agencies has resulted in 176 arrests in the county since 2006.
While exemplary police officers / detectives / sheriffs like Judd are a credit to their profession, the alarming fact is that child pornography has exploded as internet use has made it easier to distribute and buy pornography. Many law enforcement agencies do not put child pornography crimes at center stage the way Judd does, meaning that the vast majority go undiscovered and unpunished. The fact is that if these agencies simply devoted a few more man hours per week to stopping child pornographers using the internet, they could take significantly more of these offenders off the street.
Of course, we are in a recession. As such, law enforcement agencies have been forced to cut budgets, lay off employees, and re-allocate or re-adjust resources. With a decreased budget, it can be quite challenging to devote sufficient resources to combat child pornography and other crimes involving the molestation, assault, or exploitation of children.
You can find out more details on this Polk County, Florida story at Child-porn arrests: `Shooting fish in a barrel’