County gets funds to fight sex predators

The Franklin County Commissioners approved a resolution to accept a grant to enhance the battle against child sexual predators in Franklin County during last week’s general session meeting.

This $500,000 grant was awarded by the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office will utilize COPS Child Sexual Predator Program funding to support a multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary task force of public and private partners implementing a comprehensive Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) strategy.

The sheriff’s office will collaborate with the Columbus Police Department, the Westerville Police Department, the Franklin County Prosecutors Office, the United States Marshalls Service and the United States Attorneys Office to enhance identification, location, apprehension, and successful prosecution of child sexual predators.

In addition, the funding will be used to increase public awareness of child sexual predators and internet crimes against children. In support of the community policing strategy, a portion of the funding will be utilized to deliver community prevention and education programming for parents and youth serving adults focused on child sexual predators and internet crimes against children.

"Our sheriff’s office has been awarded this grant to help protect our young citizens against sexual predators," said Commission President Marilyn Brown. "Making sure that we identify, locate and prosecute these offenders while educating our citizens is a critical priority."

"The sheriff’s office has worked hard over the years to stop and prevent predators from preying on the children in Franklin County," said Sheriff Jim Karnes. "We continue to work with other local law enforcement agencies throughout Franklin County to ensure our children are kept safe."

According to commissioners, the sheriff’s office has made 41 arrests against sexual predators in the past three years through the ICAC program.

"We are working together to protect all of our Franklin County children," said Commissioner Paula Brooks. "In this day and age when online games are anything but innocent, we ask each parent and adult responsible to carefully oversee their child’s computer activity." 

If you are at all suspicious of any message your child receives, the commissioners urge you to contact the Cyber Tipline at 1-800-843-5678 or visit to report this activity.

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