Chief Daniel J. Weckesser of the Danville Police Department is proud to announce the deployment of new technology in pursuit of furthering criminal prosecution of technology-related crimes. The new equipment, valued at over $11,000, was purchased with funds from the Ohio ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force, a federal anti-crime initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. It is a collaboration of city, county, state, and federal law enforcement authorities across Ohio whose mission is to identify, arrest, and prosecute individuals who use the Internet to lure minors into illicit sexual relationships or use the Internet to produce, distribute, or solicit child pornography.
Detective John Bartolucci with the Danville Police Department, who is also a member of the United States Secret Service, FBI, and Ohio ICAC Task Forces, is tasked with heading up the agency’s spearhead initiative against internet and cyber crimes, especially those against children. Bartolucci, a Danville native who graduated from Danville High School in 2003, has gone on to work in law enforcement for over 17 years and is now an FBI Certified Cyber Investigator and a Certified Computer and Mobile Forensic Examiner, as well as an NW3C Internet Crimes Analyst. “This equipment is going to be an integral part of combating a new type of crime in society that is going to only get worse,” said Bartolucci.
The equipment includes a specialized computer, software, and related equipment specially designed to investigate and handle sensitive digital evidence, as well as forensically examine computers and mobile devices. According to Chief Weckesser, “Our area has had access to some of this type of equipment through the Mount Vernon Police Department, but now we will have more capabilities and it will be more widespread and available with faster processing times and case turnaround.” Bartolucci added, “This equipment isn’t just for Danville, it’s a resource for all of our area agencies.
As part of the federal task forces, I am assigned to all of southern Ohio and we will assist any agency that needs help during an investigation, whether it’s a phone call for technical assistance or on-scene assistance in collecting or processing digital evidence, whatever is needed to help combat the issue and bring offenders to justice, especially if they are exploiting or abusing children.”
“As cell phones have become more common for our youth, we have seen a notable increase in child exploitation cases and cases involving child-explicit material here in Danville,” said Weckesser. “Additionally, we take a call of an internet-related crime at least once a week, some of which have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in loss from the victims; it’s time we start addressing these issues head-on and working on solving these cases and bringing the offenders to justice,” Weckesser continued.
With internet crimes jumping from $4.2 billion in 2020 to over $6.9 billion in 2021, according to the FBI’s annual internet crime report, there is no questioning that this is a significant issue. Bartolucci states he has had some success in the time he has been assigned to these cases, but they are difficult and very time-sensitive. “If you think you are the victim of one of these types of crimes, I encourage you to call your local law enforcement agency as soon as you can, these cases require swift action,” advised Bartolucci.
“With that said, I want to thank Ohio ICAC for the equipment and helping our agency moving forward with our mission to pursue all types of internet and cyber crimes,” added Weckesser.
Chief Weckesser and Detective Bartolucci want you to practice being safe on the internet and encourage you to report these types of crimes not only to your local law enforcement agency, but also the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center at: www.IC3.gov For more information on how to protect yourself and your children on the internet visit: www.FTC.gov and www.OhioICAC.org