Kentucky Cyber Crimes Unit working to protect children online

Posted at 4:58 PM, Feb 02, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- From an office in Frankfort, the Kentucky Cyber Crimes Unit has tracked down thousands of child predators.

Attorney General Andy Beshear said they've come from all walks of life. The unit has arrested police officers, a firefighter and a minister. 

"We made an arrest early last year of a U of L researcher who was babysitting two kids who live right down the street from me," he said. 

Those investigations and many others were led by Tom Bell from the Cyber Crimes Unit. His unit has sophisticated methods for tracking down criminals, from posing in chatrooms, to hacking phones, to elaborate set-ups. 

"We've launched larger and larger operations," Bell said. 

But how can people without those resources keep their children safe? Authorities said the best way is to pay attention to what they're doing online. 

Bell also recommends parents take their children's tablets to charge at night, so they can't use it then. They should also be extra careful with apps that let them receive messages. 

"It's not about not trusting the kid," Bell said. "It's about not trusting the rest of the world."

As parents look out for their children, Bell will be hunting the criminals, making Kentucky safer one arrest at a time. 

"I sometimes will see my kids when I'm working these investigations, or think about my kids when I'm working these, so it's very worthwhile. It's very rewarding to be able to find these people and take them off the street," Bell said. 

Officials with the attorney general's office pointed out that one of the best ways to catch child predators is to speak out. They said anyone who suspects a child is being abused should play it safe and let law enforcement know.