A ribbon cutting was held by the KBI and attorney general’s office last week , and the creation of a Northeast Child Victims Task Force was established. Submitted photo
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI Derek Schmidt, Kansas attorney general, and local partners, today announced the creation of the Northeast Child Victims Task Force (NECVTF) during a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The task force was created in order to focus criminal investigative efforts and resources on cases where children are victimized in the northeast region of the state. Task force partners from the KBI, Attorney General’s Office, Topeka Police Department, Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, and Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office, will conduct investigations and pursue charges against those who physically or sexually abuse children, or exploit children through the use of technology.
The 2,500 square foot facility will operate out of KBI Headquarters at 17th and Tyler St. in Topeka, and will include offices and workspace for child crime investigators, as well as a soft interview room that provides a more comfortable, and child-friendly room for conducting interviews with children. The facility will also house technology to more efficiently target and identify those who use the internet to exploit children.
For the last few years, Attorney General Schmidt and the KBI have expressed the need for increased funding to improve law enforcement’s capacity to investigate crimes against children. Governor Jeff Colyer recommended funding for construction of the child victims facility, and the Legislature approved the expenditure in March of 2018.
“Cases where children are victimized are very difficult to prove,” said Kirk Thompson, KBI director. “They require a great deal of time and expertise, so what makes this Task Force valuable is that we are able to bring together resources, information, and trained investigators all in one facility, where they can work collectively toward greater justice for children,” Thompson said.
“For years, we have worked toward establishing a child victims taskforce in northeast Kansas, and now through these important partnerships, it will be a reality,” Derek Schmidt attorney general, said. “Violent and technology-based crimes against children require specialized investigation and prosecution, and this Task Force will strengthen our ability to hold accountable those who hurt kids,” he added.
The KBI expects to have several taskforce members moved into the new facility in January, so the NECVTF can start investigating its first cases.