KSP Detective Jack Morgan is one of a group of officers who patrols the Internet for suspicious activity.
The KSP Electronic Crime Branch is part of an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is made up of dozens of police and investigative agencies throughout the state. KSP administers the task force, one of 61 coordinated task forces created nationwide, in an effort to try to combat the growing problem of child sexual exploitation cases in which technology plays a key role. When the ICAC Task Force program launched in 1998, it started with only 10 task forces across the United States.
“The ICAC Task Force Program is an important partnership that focuses its efforts to protect children online and hold offenders accountable,” said Lt. Shane Bates, commander of the KSP Electronic Crime Branch and the state's ICAC Task Force. “I’m fortunate to work with such a dedicated group of investigators all across Kentucky.”
The task force has officers at every level of law enforcement from local, state and federal departments in Kentucky.
“Kentucky ICAC Task Force investigators are committed to making the Internet a safer place for Kentucky’s children,” Bates said. “Much like other areas of law enforcement, task force officers spend a lot of time reacting to an Internet complaint that has been called in from the public. Beyond that, many of our investigators are dedicating countless hours patrolling the web for suspicious activity. Our goal is to locate and arrest someone before they have the opportunity to harm a child.”
Last year, Kentucky’s ICAC Task Force investigated 699 documented complaints. Fifty-nine percent of those were proactive cases, or cases in which officers were actively seeking suspects in the process of committing a crime, hopefully before a child was victimized. Forty-one percent were reactive, or complaints in which the police responded after an alleged crime had occurred. These investigations include online enticement, obscenity directed toward minors, child prostitution, along with the possession, distribution, and manufacture of child pornography. Of the documented complaints, 57 have already led to arrest, and several others are pending.
“CyberTips for Kentucky have increased dramatically,” said Sgt. Mike Bowling, assistant commander of the KSP Electronic Crime Branch. “Last year, we averaged maybe 60 to 70 tips a month. Now it’s not uncommon for us to have well over 100 complaints each month.”
CyberTips are sent to each state’s ICAC Task Force commander by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Launched in 1998, the CyberTipline offers a means of reporting incidents of child sexual exploitation. The CyberTipline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since its inception, the CyberTipline has processed nearly 1.4 million reports.
The child pornography faced by ICAC Task Force officers is far darker and more grotesque than many could imagine.
Not only do these children bear the suffering and brutal trauma of the sexual victimization, they will continue to be exploited every time their images are traded online.
As technology grows, so does the opportunity for child pornographers to exploit it.
“Social networking sites, chat rooms, file-sharing programs, message boards and forums all now make it easier for people to trade child pornography and connect with children. While computers and cell-phones remain the primary means of communication, gaming systems that can connect to the Internet give predators yet another way to gain access to children electronically,” Bates said.
“A decade ago, parents worried about the chat rooms their children visited on a desktop computer. Today, it's much easier to contact children now that everyone has the Internet in their pocket,” Bates said.
Most parents have become more aware of the basics, such as keeping the computer in the family room, but more needs to be done. One goal of the task force is to promote community awareness and prevent victimization.
Last year alone, Kentucky’s task force conducted 85 presentations to schools and community groups – reaching nearly 6,000 people.
“Technology is both a blessing and curse,” Bates said. “It makes our daily lives easier. However, it can leave our children exposed to predators. We must teach our children to use technology wisely and be aware of the dangers lurking on the Internet.”
Governor Beshear, First Lady Unveil 2012 Derby Poster
Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear recently unveiled the 2012 Governor’s Commemorative Derby poster. This year’s poster features a photograph by John Stephen Hockensmith, in which he captures the undefeated thoroughbred Barbaro as he rounds Churchill Downs’ first turn on his way to winning the 2006 Kentucky Derby.
“We are honored to continue this time-honored tradition of unveiling the commemorative Derby poster,” said Gov. Beshear. “This artwork exemplifies the excitement and enthusiasm that surrounds the greatest two minutes in sports and serves as a wonderful memento for the public.”
Barbaro’s 2006 Derby margin of victory was the biggest since Triple Crown winner Assault won in 1946. Following his impressive victory, Barbaro was the strong favorite going into the Preakness. But after breaking prematurely from the starting gate, Barbaro suffered catastrophic injuries in his right hind leg, causing him to pull up quickly when the race was re-started. The following day, Barbaro underwent surgery and battled to overcome ensuing complications after the operation. The public followed Barbaro’s battle to survive for more than eight months until his team of veterinarians and owners concluded that he could not be saved.
“Barbaro is one of the most beloved thoroughbreds in racing history – not just for his victories, but for his heroic struggles after his Preakness injury,” said Mrs. Beshear. “John Stephen Hockensmith’s photograph truly highlights the Derby champion at the top his game, and this year’s poster is a beautiful keepsake for Barbaro fans and all racing enthusiasts.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Governor’s Derby poster sales will benefit First Lady Jane Beshear’s Horses and Hope Program and the Equine Health and Welfare Alliance Inc. Horses and Hope provides breast cancer education, awareness, screening and treatment referral to uninsured and underinsured employees of Kentucky’s thoroughbred industry. The Equine Health and Welfare Alliance Inc. directly supports efforts addressing equine health and safety in Kentucky.
The 2012 poster is $15 and will be available for purchase Derby morning at the Governor’s Derby Celebration in downtown Frankfort. The poster is also available now for purchase online at Historic Properties Online Store.
In April, Governor and Mrs. Beshear announced that the 76th annual Governor’s Derby Celebration will be held in historic downtown Frankfort for the second year in a row. This year’s celebration will be held on Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 5 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Eastern time and is free and open to the public.
Information on the Governor’s Derby Celebration, including an electronic invitation, a downloadable version of the Governor’s Derby poster, and more is available at http://governor.ky.gov/derbycelebration/. The website will be updated as more information on the celebration is released.
Kentucky Horse Park's Newest Employees to Staff Big Barn
Submitted by Cindy Rullman, Kentucky Horse Park
The Kentucky Horse Park recently welcomed two new staff members, Nick (left) and Lou (right). Their supervisor, Andy Freitag, is driving them in the photo. The 10-year-old Clydesdales are employed in the park’s historic Big Barn alongside a number of other draft horse breeds.
Both Nick and Lou came from Stoney Creek Farm in Honsdale, Pennsylvania. One horse was generously donated and the other was purchased by the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. Their massive size, strength and good looks have ensured their instant and perpetual popularity with park guests.
Coincidentally Nick and Lou have natural markings on their upper lips that look like they’re sporting awesome mustaches, which children in particular find to be especially interesting and funny.
Their job descriptions include pulling a trolley through the park and appearing at special events in addition to being friendly ambassadors as they interact with Kentucky Horse Park guests. Photo by www.PixBySteve.com.
Managing Employee Performance
Submitted by Wes Swarner, Governmental Services Center
GSC is pleased to announce its latest online course offering: Managing Employee Performance. The Managing Employee Performance module provides managers with an overview of the basic tools needed to effectively manage and evaluate employee performance. It assists managers in gaining perspective of the role that individual performance has on organizational performance. The main topics addressed in the module include:
- The importance of effectively managing employee performance
- The three phases that make up the performance management process
- The usefulness of creating SMART performance objectives
- How to coach employees for maximum performance
- The significance of involving employees in the performance management process
Online courses are a valuable and cost-effective way to meet the training needs of Commonwealth of Kentucky employees. They provide immediate and convenient delivery of content which allows employees to access training at their own pace and maintain control of learning “where, when and how” with unlimited access 24/7.
GSC’s goal is provide flexible learning opportunities that will assist individuals and organizations in the Commonwealth to continuously improve and develop employees.
If you are interested in participating in the 3-hour, online Managing Employee Performance module, please contact your Agency GSC Training Liaison. For a listing of Training liaisons, click here.
Programs Assist with Workplace Issues
The Kentucky Employee Mediation Program (KEMP) offers mediation to state employees. Mediation is a fast, free, confidential service, providing conflict resolution for a variety of issues. Anyone can request mediation, and it can be between two co-workers or between a supervisor and an employee. Some issues to be mediated include ADA and FMLA issues, allegations of harassment or discrimination, communication problems, personality conflicts, disciplinary issues, or anything that can be grieved or appealed. Mediation is quicker and less adversarial than other dispute resolution methods.
The other service offered by the Workplace Relations Branch is Workplace Resolutions. This process is requested by managers and is used when an entire work group is conflicted. The facilitators meet with each person in the group individually to gather information before issuing a report with recommendations for improving the situation. Anne Swinford, Division Director for Commission for Children with Special Healthcare Needs, said, “Workplace Resolutions has been of great benefit to our program by helping our work teams to rebuild trust. The end result was improved teamwork and employee morale. The evaluation by an independent third party was well-received by staff.”
To request either mediation or workplace resolutions, call Linda Patrick at 502-564-5974, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at http://personnel.ky.gov/emprel//kemp/.
Learn How to Combat Stress
Job stress is becoming more prevalent in the American workplace. In a study of American workers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that:
- 40 percent of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful;
- 25 percent of workers view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives;
- Three fourths of employees believe that they have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago;
- Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.
Therefore, it is in our best interest to recognize when we’re experiencing chronic, harmful stress and to find improved ways to cope. To learn more about this and other work/life balance topics, click here.
The Kentucky Employee Assistance Program (KEAP) is dedicated to helping employees find solutions to the personal problems that may hinder their effectiveness at work, but sometimes the reverse may happen and job stress can impact personal lives. If you feel you need extra support contact KEAP today. With a focus on clarifying the problem and developing healthy decision-making and problem solving processes, an EAP staff member is here to help. Call 502-564-5788 or 800-445-5327.
Keeping Outdoor Workers Safe
A safe worker has a lot to keep in mind. Electrocution hazards, falls, struck-by incidents and chemical spills all challenge workers to be safe. But when a job necessitates working outdoors, workers may face other, not-so-obvious hazards.
In the Sun
Summer’s high temperatures and humidity can induce several illnesses such as heat stress, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, weakness, mood changes or an upset stomach. Severe cases of heat stroke can even result in death.
OSHA’s Heat Stress Card provides a reference guide and recommendations to prevent illnesses. Tips include:
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses; monitor yourself and co-workers.
- Block out direct sun or other heat sources.
- Use cooling fans and air conditioning; rest regularly.
- Drink lots of water – about 1 cup every 15 minutes.
- Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothes.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and heavy meals.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately if a worker shows signs of heat stress.
- While waiting for help to arrive, move the worker to a shaded area, loosen or remove heavy clothing, provide cool drinking water, and mist the person with water.
Avoiding West Nile Virus
The West Nile Virus is most often spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. Most human infections cause no symptoms, and about 20 percent cause flu-like symptoms. Severely affected persons may develop encephalitis or meningitis.
Employers should protect their workers from West Nile exposure by taking the following steps recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health:
- Provide training that describes how West Nile is transmitted and reinforces knowledge about the risks of exposure and infection.
- Stress to workers the importance of reporting all work-related injuries and illnesses in a timely manner.
- Provide a medical surveillance system that monitors, records and assesses the symptoms absenteeism associated with West Nile infection.
- Encourage the use of protective clothing – long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks – and repellents to use on skin and clothing.
Eliminate as many sources of standing water from the worksite as possible to decrease mosquito populations:
- Change the water every four to five days in animal drinking troughs, birdbaths and other water containers.
- Scrub the sides of water containers to dislodge eggs.
- Add an aerator to ponds to keep the water circulating or add fish that will eat the mosquito larvae or adults.
- Remove discarded tires or keep them dry and under cover.
- Turn over, cover, store or remove equipment such as tarps, buckets, barrels, wheelbarrows and containers to prevent standing water.
Photo courtesy of Jason Edwards/National Geographic Stock
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in the United States. Outdoor workers should take measures to prevent onset of this disease, symptoms of which include rash, fever, muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes.
NIOSH offers the following recommendations to protect workers from Lyme disease:
- Wear a hat and light-colored clothing – preferably long-sleeved shirts and long pants with the pant legs tucked into boots or socks.
- Use insect repellent, paying close attention to the product’s instructions for use and length of effectiveness.
- Insecticides such as permethrin can be used on clothing for increased protection.
- Whenever possible, avoid working in areas with bushes, tall grass or leaves. When this is not possible, try to control the area as much as possible by cutting down tall grass and clearing leaf litter.
- Check yourself thoroughly for ticks every day, as ticks can be very small and hard to see. Pay close attention to your hair, underarms and groin.
- If found, immediately remove ticks with fine-tipped tweezers. Grip the tick firmly and pull away from your body in a steady motion. Wash the area well with soap and warm water.
- Wash work clothes and dry them in a hot dryer to kill any ticks that may be in the material.
Photos courtesy of CDC Public Health Image Library
Submit Your 'Spare Time' Success Story
State employees do amazing things at work and away from work. Please submit your "Spare Time" Success Story, along with a photo of yourself (if you wish), to Tina.Goodmann@ky.gov so that it may be shared with your fellow state employees in a future edition of the Kentucky Employee Connection.