In March of 2012, Chief Joe Martin assigned an officer to investigate internet crimes against children, designated I.C.A.C., on a full-time basis.
Detective Travis Wolfe is officially a part of two task forces, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (I.C.A.C.) and the West Virginia Cyber Crimes Task Force, which is established and funded by the FBI. Detective Wolfe is working with the FBI, ICE, WVU, Marshall, and State and local law enforcement agencies to protect our children.
Detective Wolfe has over 400 hours of computer crime specific training and been conducting digital forensics investigations for approximately eight (8) years. He is one of only four (4) ACE certified forensic examiners in the State of West Virginia. Detective Wolfe has already assisted in hundreds of investigations with numerous successful prosecutions of offenders. Because of his work and the priority and support given to this crime by Chief Joe Martin, the Parkersburg Police Department has been designated the North-West Regional Processing Lab by the I.C.A.C. Task Force. Detective Wolfe is in the process of being deputized by the U.S. Marshal Service at this time.
Detective Wolfe states, “At any given time within the city limits of Parkersburg, there are likely between forty (40) and fifty (50) people downloading child pornography. If the national statistics are applied to that number, 85% of those people are hands on sexual abusers, and of those, the average is twelve (12) to thirteen (13) victims per offender. I receive four (4) to five (5) cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children(N.C.M.E.C.) every month, consisting of cyber bullying to child pornography and solicitation. We work in conjunction with the Child Victim Identification Program (C.V.I.P.) to assist in identifying the victims of child pornography and exploitation, in an attempt to rescue these children. We have the capability of monitoring certain networks for the sharing and dissemination of child pornography. We conduct undercover chat investigations in an effort to apprehend child predators who are actively soliciting children during chat-room conversations.”
Chief Joe Martin states, “I am pleased to add a full-time internet crime investigator to the staff of the Detective Bureau. Detective Wolfe has received several hours of specialized training over the past two years. The City is very fortunate to have his expertise as one of only four certified forensic examiners in the state within our Department. Detective Wolfe has been working these types of cases for the past six months on a part-time basis, working the COPE office when he was not working child pornography cases. Not long after starting his work with the two task forces, Wolfe soon became overwhelmed with a case load not suitable for a part-time status. With the technology available to law enforcement today, I feel it is time to dedicate his position as full-time. With his training and the relationship with the State Police and the FBI, I have high expectations to see pedophiles identified, arrested, and put in prison. The department also plans on training additional detectives to investigate crimes against children. The West Virginia State Police, Wood County Detachment, has also supplemented three separate investigations that led Detective Wolfe to suspects out of the City, assisting with search warrants as well as arrests and interviews.”
As we have seen all too clearly, this new century will be one requiring knowledge, skill and commitment from those in public safety. In 1986, our department answered 20, 473 calls, with that number climbing to 44,780 calls in 2011. The number of officers has remained between 63 and 65 throughout this period, creating a tremendous challenge. The evolution of crime and technology has also created the need for more specialized assignments such as this one, further stretching the demands placed upon our department. However, the priority given to protecting our children must be at the highest level, with zero tolerance for those who prey on them.
Detective Wolfe has been with the department since October of 1998.