Thomson Reuters and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) today announced that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is this year's winner of their Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigation. The FDLE is being recognized for its inter-agency and international effort to confront a human trafficking ring with connections in both Florida and Colombia.
In February 2016, the FDLE met with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to coordinate on an investigation of a Florida resident suspected of operating a child sex tourism ring and arranging for adults to travel to Medellin, Colombia, for sexual relations with underage minors. A short time later, an undercover FDLE agent successfully contacted the suspect via Internet chats, obtaining information about the victims, logistical and location information, as well as the name of a co-conspirator in Colombia.
After coordinating with Colombian law enforcement, the suspect and members of the trafficking ring were arrested. Nine children between the ages of 12 and 16 were rescued, and the suspect's computer is undergoing forensic analysis to develop a list of other potential suspects.
"While criminal activity may be getting more sophisticated and global in scope, I am proud that law enforcement professionals are not only keeping pace but also pushing new boundaries in their work," said IACP President Louis Dekmar of the LaGrange (GA) Police Department. "The investigative work done by the FDLE in this case demonstrates that when law enforcement efforts balance technology, traditional police work and inter-agency collaboration, amazing outcomes are possible."
Each year, the IACP/Thomson Reuters Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigation is given to a law enforcement agency, law enforcement unit, task force, or inter-agency task force in recognition of exceptional innovation and excellence in the area of criminal investigations.
Representatives from the FDLE were on hand to accept the award at a ceremony earlier this week during the IACP Conference in Philadelphia.
"The Florida Department of Law Enforcement took a truly innovative approach to demonstrate that a heinous crime such as human trafficking can be tackled," said Dan DeSimone, senior director of Investigative Resources for Thomson Reuters. "We are honored to join the IACP in recognizing the FDLE with this award."
Judging of the IACP/Thomson Reuters Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigation focuses on contributions to the advancement of the art or science of criminal investigations and innovations in the development or enhancement of investigative techniques. The award is sponsored by Thomson Reuters, whose solutions include CLEAR – a powerful investigative suite that law enforcement can use to research people and organizations suspected of criminal activity.
To learn more about IACP, visit www.theiacp.org.