October 24, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
39°F

Sheriff gets new weapon to fight online predators

MEDINA — The Medina County Sheriff’s Office received a computer system Thursday that will help sheriff’s detectives investigate child sexual predators online.

The $3,400 equipment was provided by the Safe Surfin’ Foundation, a national organization that promotes Internet safety, and Moose International.

From left, Chief Deputy and Medina County Sheriff-elect Tom Miller; Mike Humble, president of the Ohio State Moose Association; Mike Thatcher and George Grosser, of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation; and Medina County Sheriff Neil Hassinger, stand in the office that houses a new computer system donated by the foundation. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Sheriff’s Lt. Travis Colonius said the equipment, known as “Cop-in-a-Box,” includes a high-speed computer, monitor, keyboard and laser printer. The program also includes training for officers.

Colonius said deputies would use the equipment to investigate people who are manufacturing, distributing or sharing child pornography online or soliciting children online.

With the equipment, “We’re going to be able to reach out and do a lot more to protect the kids of this county,” Sheriff Neil Hassinger said.

Hassinger said that parents often aren’t aware of what their children are up to online.

“Incredibly, a lot of parents don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late,” he said.

Mike Thatcher, Ohio State Moose Association Safe Surfin’ chairman, presented the equipment to the Sheriff’s Office.

“This will enable you to identify, detect and apprehend predators more quickly,” Thatcher said.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.