ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office will receive a grant to assist in investigating internet crimes against children.
The sheriff’s office received notification last week of the $73,468.37 awarded in local law enforcement funding from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations.
The funding was awarded for the Internet Crimes Against Children unit to add an additional forensic work station, purchase mobile forensic equipment and software, and attend advanced training.
Funding is earmarked by the Legislature for agencies that investigate ICAC across the state and is administered through the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association. Randolph County has two detectives assigned to ICAC investigations, with one of the officers also on a task force involving Homeland Security investigations.
Equipment purchased with the grant funding will enable both detectives to work on multiple cases at the same time. ICAC detectives also conduct electronic forensic analysis.
According to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the department’s ICAC unit receives 51 cyber tips annually. There are 38 of those tips under investigation as of last week.
“The (sheriff’s office) prioritizes ICAC investigations and diligently seeks every opportunity to improve the technology to investigate related crimes,” according to a release from the department.
In addition to investigating tips and reported cases, the ICAC lab processes electronic forensic evidence for nine other agencies. They are the Randleman Police Department, Siler City Police Department, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, Asheboro Police Department, Liberty Police Department, Seagrove Police Department, Ramseur Police Department, and Homeland Security.
The ICAC Unit has processed 48 devices for other agencies since August 2021 to aid both state and federally prosecuted cases. Based on information from the sheriff’s office, requests for forensic analysis have totaled 193 electronic devices within the past year.