Brazos County Sheriff's Office using new tools to combat child pornography

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BRYAN, Tex (KBTX) - Investigators with the Brazos County Sheriff's Office are using new technology to cut down the time it takes to investigate child pornography cases.

Trey Oldham, investigator at the Brazos County Sheriff's Office

Trey Oldham, an investigator at the sheriff's office, specializes in online child pornographic crimes. He said the work can be very difficult. The obscene images spread online like a virus and are difficult to stop or track.

"The nude pictures of children are being shared in different ways," said Oldham. "Most of the times those are cases where we don't know who the child is."

Last week, KBTX reported on a Facebook post appearing across the country on people's pages with pornographic images of a young child and adult. The post asked for help finding the offender in the images and was being shared via the messenger app.

On a national scale, Oldham said his department does what it can to provide information and help federal agents. He encourages the public to inform police when a message like this comes across your computer or phone screen. On the local scale, there is still a lot of work to be done. One of Brazos County's newest tools in this fight can help them find hidden pornography on devices like phones or tablets. It can speed up the time is takes to prosecute these cases.

"Sending that to an outside laboratory can take thirty days to ninety days," said Oldham. "Sometimes even longer than that."

Oldham said there are only a few systems like this in the state. Now, that they can do that work in house. Investigators can get valuable evidence in hours rather than months.

"We want to collect that evidence as quick as we can," said Kara Comte, an assistant Brazos County district attorney. She specializes in child related crimes.

"If we are having to send the devices away and have other agencies look into, it only prolongs the case."

In order to protect your kids from receiving these images, investigators say parents should read the policy pages of social media sites before letting them sign up.