Originally published Monday, August 12, 2019 at 07:28p.m.

LAKE HAVASU CITY – Mohave County will renew the sheriff’s office’s involvement with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.

The task force is one of more than 60 throughout the U.S., founded by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1998 to combat the potential use of technology to victimize at-risk youth. More than 20 years later, the task force has seen resounding success. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of almost 1,700 suspected online child predators during a two-month operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children task forces nationwide, including those in Mohave County.

Through a partnership with law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S., the task force provides training to sheriff’s offices and local law enforcement to recognize and gather evidence against would-be child predators. The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has been among the task force’s member agencies for the past 10 years, which allows the department access to grants and funding in pursuing online predators.

“The Internet Crimes Against Children task force is a vital component in dealing with these serious and appalling crimes,” Sheriff Doug Schuster said last week. “The task force allows us to coordinate and cooperate with a wide network of law enforcement agencies to diligently seek out offenders, and provides ongoing training as well as grant funding for necessary equipment.”

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies have made 15 arrests this year alone in task force-related cases.

“I am pleased that we have such a strong working relationship within this task force and have seen first-hand the value as we continue to identify and apprehend would-be predators,” Schuster said.

Last Monday, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved the receipt of a $5,000 grant from the Internet Crimes Against Children task force to continue its operations with the sheriff’s office.

The decision was made as part of the board consent agenda and passed without debate.