Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blagojevich moves in on Madigan's turf

It looks to me like Governor Rod Blagojevich has fired an internet missile at his presumptive successor, Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Today, Blagojevich announced a task force to fight child predators on the internet and to combat other crimes such as identity theft, the number one consumer complaint according to Madigan's office. The new unit would mostly by made up of Illinois State Police personnel.

The Governor's plan has four main components: creating a centralized Internet Crimes Unit (ICU) under Illinois State Police authority, increasing penalties of Internet crime, designing the ICU Web site to serve as a "One-Stop-Shopping" center where the public can report suspicious online behavior and get information about Internet crime and safety, using the most advanced law enforcement technology available. In addition, the ISP has entered into a partnership with NetSmartz and is putting state police officers into school classrooms around to the state to teach kids how to be safe and smart on the Internet.

The ICU is comprised of ten officers, seven computer forensic investigators, and eight crime analysts. This makes the Illinois ICU one of the nation's largest state teams dedicated to fighting Internet crimes. The goal is to create a unique enforcement group capable of educating the public, gathering information from the private sector, coordinating investigations with other bodies and agencies of law enforcement, de-conflicting investigative efforts, researching crime, proactively searching the Web for criminal activity, and then performing the required forensic work to further investigative efforts and assist prosecutors in jailing offenders.
Well, the AG's office already has a similar unit in place and it includes ISP personnel. From a press release about a year ago:

Chicago รข€“ Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that a task force created by her office's High Tech Crimes Bureau to combat the online exploitation of children has created a strong network of law enforcement partners to coordinate statewide investigations and prosecutions and has made great strides in educating Illinoisans about the dangers of child predators on the Internet.

Madigan said 73 law enforcement agencies now belong to the Illinois I-CAC task force, including the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Corrections, 51 local police departments and 11 State's Attorneys Offices. The law enforcement partners have agreed to assist with investigations of child predators within their jurisdictions, no matter what other agency or jurisdiction referred the complaint.
Maybe, just maybe Blagojevich and Madigan are coordinating the activities of the two unit. I'd hate to think that Blagojevich just yanked the ISP from Madigan's task force to steal a publicity weapon from his colleague of the same political party.

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