KOKOMO, Ind. (WLFI) - While it may be true it takes a certain type of person to harm children, it may also be true it takes a certain type of person to track down child molesters and predators. It means looking at disturbing images and videos for significant periods of time.
It's a two man team at the Kokomo Police Department with keeping children safe as the common purpose. When you ask why, the answer is similar as well.
"This was something I wanted to do because the worst type of criminal is any criminal that would victimize an innocent child," say Sgt. Doug Stout.
"The reward for taking someone off the street that victimizes a child, I think, is the best accomplishment you can do in law enforcement," says Det. Jeff Catt.
But the days aren't easy.
The images are horrifying, young children, even babies sexually violated, every type of fetish imaginable. The worst part, they are all real.
"It's hard for me to forget about any of these cases," says Stout.
While each case is different, there aren't shortcuts. Gathering the evidence to put each criminal behind bars requires viewing similar horrors again and again with each new suspect.
"Every once in awhile, after sitting in here, after certain things come up, I have to leave. I'll just have to leave the office, take a drive, get a drink, relax, then come back, go back to work, some things are just harder to get through," says Catt.
Both investigators are married with children.
"I have a very supportive family, a very supportive wife, probably without her support, would make this job very difficult," Stout.
The power and influence of social media continues to grow, sexting and online relationships are not going away. But they agree there are things that parents can do to help prevent their children from showing up as a victim in one of their investigations.
"Watch your kids, don't them have the computer in the back bedroom. If they are going to be online sharing, put it in the main room and everybody can see what they are doing," says Catt.
But just because you think you can see everything they are doing, be aware there are things you may miss.
"If you request your child's password for his Facebook page that you can monitor, most teenagers are going to have another that you don't know about," says Stout.
In one recent case, a victim had hidden 8 email addresses from their parents.
Stout says once children get older, parents can share news stories of crimes elsewhere to open up the eyes so they can realize it can happen to them if they're not careful.
"It takes one predator with your child," Catt says.
But until all predators are behind bars and all children are safe, the work will go on, one image, one video, one computer at a time.
"I hope that when I retire, I can move on and put it aside and go enjoy golf in retirement. But right now, I'm having fun getting these guys," Catt says.
Because a desk job that's far from ordinary brings its own rewards.
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