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U.S. Representative Angie Craig secured $325,000 for the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office Electronic Crimes Unit.

With these federal funds, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office will have an increased capacity to prevent and prosecute electronic crimes and promote online safety across Dakota County.

“Ensuring public safety is my top responsibility as an elected official – and in the 21st century, that means ensuring that our law enforcement departments are fully equipped to handle all online safety threats,” said Representative Craig. “I’m proud to have secured these funds to support the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office with tools, training and resources they need as they work diligently to keep my constituents safe online.”

Dakota County Sheriff Joe Leko expressed gratitude for the federal funding, support that will be harnessed to tackle a variety of electronic crimes and vulnerabilities in the county.  

“On behalf of Dakota County’s multijurisdictional Electronic Crimes Unit, we are grateful to receive this federal funding to create awareness and investigate and prosecute technology-based crimes that continue to victimize our youth and elderly populations,” Leko said.  

In today’s rapidly changing society, which has become increasingly more intertwined with the internet, examining electronic evidence has become a vital component in prosecuting criminal cases. Leko said that the county has seen incidents where technology has been utilized to victimize people in cases of domestic violence, sexual exploitation and the abuse of elderly and youth.

“This funding will support a full-time forensic technician within our Electronic Crimes Unit to investigate crimes such as revenge porn, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, sexting, elder scams and more.  We hope by devoting resources into creating awareness and investigating these crimes that we can prevent them from occurring and when they do, hold those responsible accountable,” Leko said.

The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office Electronic Crimes Prevention Unit will use the funding for an outreach campaign to prevent and prosecute electronic crimes and to hire a forensic technician to investigate cyber crimes such as cyberstalking, elder scams and cyberbullying. In addition, this project will help increase the discovery and prosecution of these underreported crimes and provide necessary community education and law enforcement training to prevent crime and improve case outcomes.

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