PAGE COUNTY -- A grant has been renewed through 2014 to support investigators with the Page County Sheriff's Office who trace online criminals. The grant money pays for an investigator whose work can stop Internet crimes against children.
Investigator Michael Wagoner said the program helps in Page County and in the Valley.
“I like keeping the kids safe. My neighbors have kids. I have 7 nieces and nephews. I'm out to make sure they're safe," said Wagoner.
He uses technology to help solve Internet crimes against children.
“We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing without that. It's very satisfying that we're able to put these guys in jail,” said Wagoner.
Technology lets investigators exchange information on Internet crimes around the country.
The sheriff's office is in charge of covering hundreds of square miles of potential online criminals. Sheriff John Thomas said parents play a role in keeping children safe online.
“The basics are to try to avoid ever needing our assistance,” said Sheriff Thomas, “To do that, you need to have some very honest conversations with your children, especially before they even start using the Internet.”
Wagoner can get data off of cell phones, laptops and tablets. He wants children who are victims of abuse to know the sheriff's office is working to put Internet criminals in prison.
“It's important that the children are safe and not growing up having this shadow knowing that there are people who are watching their images being abused,” said Wagoner.
Leaders in the sheriff's office want parents to know how they can keep their children safe.
Investigators suggest having a family computer in a shared room instead of a bedroom. They also recommend using computer programs to monitor what children see on the Internet.
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