It seems that no matter where you go, you’re likely to see someone using a smartphone. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if federal law enforcement could use our love affair with technology to track down child predators? Thanks to the new Operation Predator App, that idea has become reality.
So far this new app is available only for Apple electronics, but expanded compatibility to other smartphones is already in the works. (It can be downloaded free from Apple’s App Store and from iTunes at http://bit.ly/1eixbIM.) When you’ve downloaded the app, you can receive alerts about child predators, including pictures, names (when available), and other identifying information.
The app also allows you to share this information with friends via email and social media tools. And you can provide tips yourself—anonymously, 24 hours a day—by calling HIS at (866) 347-2423 or completing an online form at www.ice.gov/tips/. HSI warns smartphone users not to attempt to apprehend suspects themselves.
The app is the brainchild of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Federal agents say they are hoping the new app will help rescue exploited children and apprehend suspects and fugitives more quickly. “When children are being sexually abused and exploited, it’s a race against the clock to rescue the child and bring the predator to justice,” said ICE Acting Director John Sandweg. Because so many people carry phones almost everywhere they go, the new app may give law enforcement the edge it needs to track down offenders.
“We recognize that people receive a great deal of information on their mobile devices,” said ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale, “and we are hopeful that this app will encourage them to submit tips about suspects and to learn more about our work investigating child exploitation crimes.”
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Jean Reynolds, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of English at Polk State College, where she taught report writing and communication skills in the criminal justice program. She is the author of nine books, including Police Talk (Pearson), and she publishes a Police Writer Newsletter. Visit her website at www.YourPoliceWrite.com for free report writing resources. Go to www.Amazon.com for a free preview of her book The Criminal Justice Report Writing Guide for Officers. Dr. Reynolds is the police report writing expert for Law Enforcement Today.