The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 31, 2013

Prosecutors welcome app to track down child predators

HACKENSACK, N.J. — With more than half of all Americans now using smartphones to stay in touch, federal authorities are venturing into new territory in a bid to enlist the public’s help to track down child predators.

A new smartphone application, the first of its kind in federal law enforcement, allows users to receive alerts about wanted predators and to submit tips about their whereabouts.

Developed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the software is part of an emerging trend in law enforcement to capitalize on new technologies that engage the public in solving crimes. In New Jersey’s Bergen and Passaic counties, prosecutors on the front lines in the fight against child predators hailed the application as a promising innovation whose time has come.

The Operation Predator app was launched in September by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Directorate, known as HSI. Within 36 hours, a series of tips led to the arrest in Michigan of one of the profiled suspects.

“The app allows everyone in the community — not just law enforcement — to work toward apprehending those who prey on our nation’s most vulnerable, our children,” said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI’s Newark office.

The agency needs the public’s help in locating child predators, and the app goes a long way in getting agents timely information, he said.

The app shows photos and profiles of fugitives and unidentified suspects and allows the user to share that data with friends by email and on social media.

Tips can be anonymously submitted directly by tapping a button on the app or by phone. The app also offers news about arrests and prosecutions of alleged child pornographers and predators as well as additional resources about ICE and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Bills aim to improve English language instruction English language learners integrated into mainstream classrooms

    April 24, 2014

  • Allina drops celebrated birthing option MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Allina Health has pulled the drain plug on a celebrated birthing option at its 11 Minnesota hospitals and the Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. Allina says it will no longer offer water births because of new guidance from the Ame

    April 24, 2014

  • Federal study finds mercury in trout caught in three Grand Canyon creeks PHOENIX — With their natural beauty and protected environments, the Grand Canyon and other national parks in the West would seem removed from having mercury in their streams and rivers. But a federal study found small levels of the contaminant in ra

    April 24, 2014

  • Post office sales fight grows SAN FRANCISCO — The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued a report to Congress that criticizes the U.S. Postal Service’s disposal of historic properties and calls for a suspension of all sales until a host of recommendations are implem

    April 24, 2014

  • Lawmakers jockey over budget surpluses WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours after the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team beat cross-state rival Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray asked state lawmakers for $80 million to renovate Rupp Arena, the iconic bui

    April 23, 2014

  • Minn. lawmakers seek to enhance privacy protection ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are on the verge of cracking down on public employees who abuse their access to citizen data. A measure being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee would do more to expose and punish data snoope

    April 23, 2014

  • Republican activists push party on gay marriage LAS VEGAS (AP) — As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger vot

    April 23, 2014

  • mfp church abuse Archbishop deposition on abuse made public Archbishop John Nienstedt says no one reprimanded who handled abuse

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legislature takes aim at new lottery games Legislators angry lottery didn't tell of new games

    April 22, 2014

  • NE ski resort extends season Lutsen still has two to four feet of snow on its runs

    April 22, 2014