SPPD Assists in Major Statewide Crackdown on Child Sex Predators
By Brandi Makuski
Attorney General Brad Schimel announced last week that the Dept. of Justice arrested 16 suspected child sex predators — and Stevens Point police were part of the operation.
Operation: New Hope is a week-long police operation, held annually, focused on child exploitation and online crimes in Wisconsin. Det. Dana Williams was one of the officers involved.
“I was assisting DOJ with a warrant they were serving up in Kronenwetter,” Williams said. “When the email came out that Operation: New Hope was happening, they asked if I wanted to be involved.”
Williams has served as the department’s first-ever Computer Forensics Officer since 2014, and is regularly involved with a DOJ task force called Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), which utilizes officers from around the state to assist with investigations on suspected computer crimes against children. Those types of crimes, Williams said, can often occur over multiple jurisdictions thanks to the Internet.
“We can assist throughout the state with any agency,” Williams said. “I wasn’t the one making the arrest, but I helped with entry and securing the residence; then searching the residence.”
While none of the suspects were local — “That’s a good thing,” Williams said — felony charges including child pornography and child sex trafficking have been filed against the 16 suspects from Brown, Clark, Columbia, Dane, Eau Claire, Marquette, Outagamie, Rock, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Winnebago counties.
“We investigate things throughout the year as they come in to us,” Williams said of her position. “Sometimes tips evolve into something, sometimes they don’t — but we’d rather get those tips than not get those tips.”