Montgomery County Commissioners voted Monday to approve funding from the Precinct 4 Commissioner’s budget for an additional fulltime investigator II position at the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, enabling them to dedicate one person fulltime to the investigation of Internet crimes against children.
Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden said Precinct 4 had assigned a deputy to the position part-time, but it soon became evident there was a serious need to create a fulltime position.
“Mr. Rinehart came and saw firsthand what that position entailed and agreed to fund that position out of his budget,” Constable Hayden said.
Precinct 4 Captain Mark Seals who oversees the investigation of cyber-crimes against children estimates a dozen or more persons per day in Precinct 4 are actively involved in online child exploitation, whether it be uploading or downloading of pornographic images or video.
Members of the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office has been involved in the investigation of these crimes for less than a year and have already prevented three children from being sexually assaulted. Numerous suspected predators are currently under investigation.
Commissioner Rinehart announced Monday not only would he commit funding from his budget for the additional fulltime position this year, but he said if Commissioners did not approve funding in the next budget session, he would continue funding the position next year.
“If we save one child,” Commissioner Rinehart said, “Could be your child or grandchild, I’m 100 percent onboard with this.”
The motion passed unanimously.
Constable Hayden later said he appreciated Commissioner Rinehart’s support of his agency’s efforts to locate and remove cyber child predators.
“This is something very important to the community,” Constable Hayden said. “We have to protect our children, and these predators have been able to hide behind computers and use social media to prey upon our children while they’re in our homes where they’re supposed to be safe.”
“We’re dedicated to finding as many of these people as possible and putting them behind bars where they belong,” he said.