The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 31, 2013

Prosecutors welcome app to track down child predators

(Continued)

The app can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store or iTunes. ICE plans to expand its compatibility to other smartphones, but officials could not say when that would happen.

More than 82,000 people downloaded the app in the month after its Sept. 12 debut, said Khaalid Walls, an ICE spokesman in Detroit.

“Obviously, people are really excited about the app,” Walls said. “And the fact that we had the Michigan arrest the first day and a half after its release shows it’s an important law enforcement tool.”

Brian Sinclair, who investigates online predators as head of the computer crimes unit in the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, said the Operation Predator app is “a wonderful idea.”

The app is a logical outgrowth of the kind of “crowd-sourcing” and multileveled outreach by law enforcement that followed the Boston Marathon bombings in April, said Sinclair, whose undercover unit has snared predators who traveled from as far away as Washington state and Florida to have sex with children.

“With cameras everywhere and people with smartphones everywhere, and the ability of the government to push this information and say to the public, ‘Please help us locate this particular individual’ … I simply don’t see the negative to that,” he said.

“They knew that people could help law enforcement more than law enforcement just helping themselves,” Sinclair said of the Boston investigators. “And I think this (app) is really just an extension of that.”

Joseph Del Russo, chief assistant prosecutor in charge of the Special Victims and Megan’s Law units in the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, sees the app as a new-fangled “way of turbo-charging our traditional tip lines.”

“You need to go where the people are, and the people are in large part these days communicating and paying attention to social media, and to websites and the Internet,” Del Russo said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Congress racing to finish Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

    July 31, 2014

  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014