(WBIR - Cumberland Co.) The Cumberland County Sheriff's Department's newly formed Internet Crimes Against Children unit has already showed progress, with three arrests in its few weeks in service.
"We have a bad guy who meets with me or a member of the 'take down team' from the task force. Gives us the chance to take that person away and put a buffer between a real child they may have met with," said Deputy Brian Davis, the first member of that department.
That county's ICAC unit is the 38th in the state. Starting in larger communities, like Nashville and Knoxville, smaller areas are forming their own divisions that specifically find adults who target children online.
Other areas, like Loudon, Campbell, and Monroe counties have ICAC units of their own.
"You're hearing so much about this Facebook and things like that. So it's kind of a logical thing," said Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess.
He said his department started ICAC as an extension of their current Drug Endangered at At Risk Children division.
The unit mirrored a similar program in nearby Cookeville, according to Deputy District Attorney General Gary McKenzie.
"These people exist inside our county," said McKenzie, adding there's a stigma that these crimes occur and center around more metropolitan areas.
He said that's wrong.
"There is a movement to the more rural areas. I feel like these predators feel a little more safe if they go to a smaller area, in hopes there is not an ICAC unit working in that area," McKenzie added.
These law enforcers can tell you sexual exploitation can happen anywhere.
"Every case that they have, every bust that they make, every arrest that we take to get the bad guy off the street is protecting a child," Deputy Davis said.
Among the people arrested by ICAC was Billy Wayne Storey, 53. According to the sheriff's department, he worked with the local schools at one time. He was arrested a few weeks ago for solicitation of a person under the age of 18.