Chiefs, Sheriffs and CALEA - It is time to consider
Internet crimes against children

The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealised past.
- Robertson Davies

Dr. Frank Kardasz, February 7, 2009

Most law enforcement agencies have standardized policies and written directives guiding their many
areas of operation.  Directives and policies govern everything from mundane administrative matters to
grave threats to public safety.  Polices develop after years of experience and in most cases, continue to
evolve as new trends emerge.  A troubling exception to the continuous modernization of police directives
is in the area of Internet crimes against children.  Most law enforcement organizations still fail to
recognize the growing problem and do not have written directives that require any response to these
grim threats to children and teens.

Internet Crimes Against Children

The luring and enticement of minors via cyberspace is alarming and continues to increase.  The
Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that 50,000 child predators are online at any time searching
for potential victims (1).

Growing exponentially in the past 15 years, the numbers of Internet crimes against children has
reached disturbing heights. According to a Congressional report in 2007:

Crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children over the Internet are a growing problem in the U.S.
and around the world, due to the ease with which pedophiles and child predators can trade, sell, view,
and download images of child pornography from the Internet (ibid).

Arizona, like many other states, is experiencing significant increases in the number of unlawful images
being trafficked via the Internet (2).  The increase in Internet crimes begs a dedicated and permanent
law enforcement response.  Most Arizona law enforcement agencies have no written directives
mandating any response to Internet crimes against children.

Invisible Victims - Except in Cyberspace

Unlike spectacular crimes and incidents involving crashes, explosions, shootings and widespread
newsworthy bloodletting, the evil offenses against children are committed in mostly dark and private
places by offenders who often psychologically control for humiliate their victims into lifelong silence.  
Although the criminal evidence is visible in cyberspace, the crimes are seldom reported to law
enforcement officials.

Deceptive Statistics Ignore the Problem

Internet crimes involving child victims are under-reported and official statistics do not properly collect the
numbers of crimes.  The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) is ineffective in capturing
statistics specifically related to such crimes.  NIBRS does not have specific categories that capture the
numbers of Internet crimes against children (4).  The tragic failure to collect data permits statistics-
driven administrators to deny and ignore the existence of the problem.


Failure to investigate Internet crimes against children can result in significant liability for an
organization.  Several agencies in the state of Washington suffered a substantial financial judgment
when a failure to protect children was uncovered (3).

Purposeful Ignorance Driven by Repugnance

Crimes against children are particularly repugnant.  Most people, including police, wish to disassociate
themselves mentally from thoughts of dreadful abuse involving helpless children.  According to former
FBI agent Ken Lanning,

    Law-enforcement investigators must deal with the fact that the identification, investigation, and
    prosecution of child molesters may not be welcomed by their communities—especially if the
    molester is a prominent person.  Individuals may protest, and community organizations may rally
    to the support of the offender and even attack the victims.  City officials may apply pressure to halt
    or cover up the investigation.  Many law-enforcement supervisors, prosecutors, judges, and
    juries cannot or do not want to deal with the details of deviant sexual behavior.  They will do
    almost anything to avoid these cases (5).

Sex crimes against children are the most reviled types of investigations for law enforcement officers.  
While respectful of the need to bring sex offenders to justice, many officers say, “I could never work
those kinds of crimes.”  The true facts about the sexual victimization of minors can be so psychologically
distressing that few can emotionally tolerate being deeply involved in the investigations.  Little wonder
that crimes against children in cyberspace are widely ignored by policy makers.


At the forefront of modern policy oversight is the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement
Agencies (CALEA).  The Commission began in 1979 as a professional consortium of law enforcement
professionals who, among other duties, require that their member-agencies maintain model policies
that are common to responsible departments nationwide.  Member-agencies of CALEA must adopt and
comply with standardized written directives.  Agencies are periodically audited by CALEA assessors to
insure compliance with the required rules. Some examples of a few simple CALEA standards include
the following directives:

  •    43.1.1 The agency has a written directive for investigating vice, drug, and organized crime

  •    61.3.1 A written directive governs performance of agency activities related to traffic   

  •    42.2.8 The agency has a written directive concerning identity crime and procedures...

  •    61.2.2 A written directive defines agency response to the scene of any collision...

CALEA standards are applicable to member agencies based on the size of the organization.  Small
agencies are not required to provide as many services as large agencies.  Sadly, CALEA has not yet
recognized Internet crimes against children as subject worthy of policy attention.


Law enforcement policies and written directives must recognize Internet crimes against children.  If
traffic enforcement and identity theft are crimes worthy of written directives aren’t children also worthy?  
As a leadership organization whose guidelines are followed by many member-agencies, CALEA should
include written directives that mandate a law enforcement response to the growing problem of Internet
crimes against children.


(1) U. S. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce. (January 2007). Sexual
exploitation of children on the Internet: Bipartisan staff report for the use of the Committee on Energy and
Commerce. 109th. Congress. Retrieved February 12, 2009 from http://republicans.energycommerce.

(2) Kardasz, F. (January 3, 2009). Contraband Images in Arizona: Eight days in December 2008.
Retrieved February 11, 2009 from

(3) Kardasz, F. (September 15, 2008). Liability for Deliberate Indifference and Failure to Investigate = $
10.5 Million. Retrieved February 12, 2009 from http://kardasz.

(4) Finkelhor D., and Ormrod, R. (December 2004). Child pornography: Patterns from NIBRS. U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention. Retrieved February 12, 2009 from

(5) Lanning, K.V. (September, 2001). Child molesters: A behavioral analysis. National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children. 4th Ed. p. 86. Retrieved February 12, 2009 from http://www.missingkids.
Internet Crimes Against Children
Victim Impact Statement