Smaller Police Departments Tackle High Tech Crimes

It used to be small police departments dealt more with speeding and vandalism.
Now they're having to investigate high-tech crimes.
One department in the Chippewa Valley says it's busy trying to fight crime, but just doesn't have the resources to accomplish the mission.
Altoona Police Chief Todd Chaney says years ago, police officers hadn't even heard of crimes like computer fraud and child porn.
But now those crimes are happening more often.
The problem, small departments just don't have the technology or manpower, to put those hi-tech thieves behind bars.
In Altoona, the police department has its fair share of crimes to investigate.
But lately a lot of those crimes involve technology.
"We are getting identity and computer fraud crimes, sometimes on a daily basis, certainly on a weekly basis:, Chaney says.
And he says it's hard for small departments to track down those thieves.
Since 2004, the Altoona Police Department has investigated almost 40-cases of misappropriation of an identity, some of those computer related.
And with only a dozen employees, Chaney says it's hard for investigators to keep up on the files.
His officers have to rely on help from the state, and from other departments.
"It's getting to be a situation where these cases are inundating agencies, and unless you have the resources to have forensic computer technicians and those kinds of things, they're very difficult cases to deal with."
Chaney says it's not a question of talent, or desire.
He says money is the limiting factor.
"Most municipal budgets now are bottom lines out, and for us to find funding to address those kinds of costs, it's going to have to come from other sources."
Chief Chaney says his departments and other smaller ones around Wisconsin will continue to depend on grants from both the state and the federal government, to try an keep up with hi-tech criminals.


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