(Boise) – The Office of the Attorney General’s Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit is hosting a training for Idaho law enforcement officers and prosecutors to help them more effectively investigate and prosecute cases of child pornography.

Thirty participants began their three-day training in Meridian this morning. It’s ICAC’s third such event. The previous two trained a total of 53 officers and prosecutors. A fourth training is scheduled for September in Coeur d’Alene.

The program was designed as an introductory course to provide attendees with information, resources and tools they can apply to investigations involving technology-facilitated crimes. Training includes an introduction to ICAC investigations, receiving ICAC reports, IP addresses, evidence collection, investigative actions, tips on interviewing in ICAC cases, legal issues and more.

“The program addresses two realities law enforcement officials face when dealing with crimes involving child pornography,” says Tamara Pittz, an ICAC investigator who helped develop the trainings and their curriculum. “The first is the sheer volume of cases that get referred to ICAC by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children each year. The second is the specialized way in which this type of case is investigated and prosecuted. The more expertise that exists in Idaho law enforcement, the better prepared we will be to protect our young people.”

The training was developed in partnership with county prosecutors and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho, and is provided at no cost to attendees or their agencies.

“Sadly, the child pornography problem is too large to be handled by the limited number of investigators we have in-house,” Pittz says. “Part of our mission is education, whether that means parents, students, or others in law enforcement. These training sessions are a means of growing our numbers to further address this problem.”

The Coeur d’Alene training will take place September 14-16. Interested law enforcement agencies can sign up by emailing icactraining@ag.idaho.gov.

Assignment editors: A media availability is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 22. ICAC officials will be available for interviews. Editors and reporters are asked to contact Public Information Officer Scott Graf to RSVP.