New Martinsville Moose Lodge 931 has donated three units of "Cop-in-a-Box" to the New Martinsville Police Department. The computer systems, through Safe Surfin' Foundation, are designed to combat Internet sex crimes against children. Included in the donation of over $4,000 is a proven training program developed by the U.S. Department of Justice, and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces.
Sheriff Michael J. Brown, Safe Surfin' Foundation's founder and chairman of the board, was on hand for the presentation of the equipment on Oct. 9. Having worked with West Virginia's ICAC, Brown said, "You are very lucky to have these individuals protecting your children here in West Virginia."
Internet crimes against children are on the rise and this new equipment can help the NMPD fight such heinous crimes locally. Brown said he thought he had seen everything in his over 40 years in law enforcement, but he was not prepared for what he would find in internet crime. "It's horrible. You cannot imagine the things people do to our children," he warned.
New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil presents a Pioneer Award New Martinsville Moose Lodge Administrator Rich Erlewine and Junior Past Governor Mike Lemley. (Photo by?Bruce Crawford)
Ronald E. Porter, director of research at safesurfin.org and special assistant to Brown, echoed that sentiment. "This is a terrible thing," said Porter. "We never thought we would see anything that resembles this, but it's here and we're not going to back down from it."
"We can't wait to get started. We got to go to class and get trained on the program and how to use it," said New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil.
Throughout the country Moose International is one of the biggest supporters of the Safe Surfin' Foundation. "They are a great bunch of people who are concerned about children," remarked Brown.
Porter further commented on the excitement and the enthusiasm demonstrated by Rich Erlewine, New Martinsville Moose Lodge administrator, and the lodge members. "They made this a reality more quickly than in other places," said Porter.
The NMPD presented a Pioneer Award to the local lodge, accepted by Erlewine and Junior Past Governor Mike Lemley.
Erlewine commented, "We do it because we believe in our children and we believe they should be protected. And there's no worse crime, in my mind, than taking advantage of a small child."