OCSO recognized for work on internet crimes against children
By Eileen Persike
A couple of years ago, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) made internet crimes against children (ICAC) a priority on par with heroin and methamphetamine arrests. In 2020, those efforts were recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation as Oneida County was named the ICAC Affiliate Agency of the Year.
ICAC Task Force Commander Matthew Joy presented the award to staff in Rhinelander Tuesday morning. Wisconsin has one of the largest task forces in the nation with almost 300 affiliates. Joy said relationships have led to the county’s success.
“It’s the relationships you’ve built between your detective bureau, your patrol bureau, administration and all levels throughout the organization that helps that helps this program flourish,” Joy said.
Sheriff Grady Hartman said since the priority was set the staff has put a lot of effort into ICAC.
“We talk about it daily, weekly, try to stay on top of the trends,” Hartman said. “We picked Det. Sgt. Bob Hebein to be the head of that project and that blossomed into everyone in this room. They’ve been working with Bob, and he built a really nice team and the hard work and dedication that you’ve shown is tremendous and you should be very proud of yourselves.”
In addition to relationship building, Joy said that prioritizing internet crimes against children was key to OCSO success.
“For this organization, the OCSO to have prioritized, not only the reactive tips that come into your agency, but also finding unique and innovative ways to be proactive, to go out and do undercover kinds of operations and other things to identify people who would have otherwise gone undetected says a lot about this agency,” Joy said.
Oneida County Captain Terri Hook credited dedication, saying that everyone on the team works together, during the workday and days off, to get the job done.
“We have different members of the agency all participating to help in different ways,” Hook said. “We would never be this successful if our employees didn’t sacrifice some of their time and off duty, outside of regular hours, too, to do what they are doing. We have been very successful because they have sacrificed and really placed a lot of attention on this and the community should be very proud of the team that we have in Oneida County working on internet crimes against children.”