Local law enforcement agencies awarded funds to fight internet crime


WINTERVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Some local law enforcement agencies are getting better equipped to fight online crime thanks to newly awarded grants from the Governor’s Crime Commission.

Both the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and the Winterville Police Department just received $40,000 each to fund equipment and training to fight internet crimes.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force awarded the grants to crack down on criminals involved in child pornography, but it’s bigger than that. It will help solve any crime with an online component.

Detective David Flynn with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office says electronic evidence is becoming more prevalent in crimes and this grant will assure they’re up-to-date with the latest technology.

“You can do better, faster stuff with new hardware, new software. In addition, I should be able to… After I go to one of the trainings, I should be able to recover data from cell phones that have been thrown in the water, burned in a fire, smashed with a hammer, and all that kind of thing,” Detective Flynn said.

Not many local departments have these capabilities, so Flynn says this equipment will assist in cases from Raleigh to the coast.

The Winterville Police Department will soon be one of few with such high tech capabilities. Chief Ryan Willhite says the new gear will help with crimes they see at least once a week.

“I don’t think the public actually knows how often this occurs. In the last couple years, we’ve been inundated with cases that actually involve sending and receiving of information over cell phones, computers, or online crimes,” Chief Willhite said.

Winterville Police and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office collaborated on these grants to ensure they got different equipment. That way, the agencies can work together to maximize their capabilities.

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