No one likes to talk about child sexual assault – because no one even wants to think about it. It’s a crime with a terrible contradiction: We can’t believe anyone would want to hurt a child like that, and yet we see evidence of it happening all too frequently in the news. In fact, a claim of child sexual abuse is substantiated every eight minutes. So it’s up to us to prevent it when we can and respond to it when we must. Where response is concerned, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) leads two task forces.
You’ve read and seen the reactions of the Hawaiians who received this message on their cell phones, radios and televisions on Saturday, Jan. 13: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” In the 38 minutes it took for state officials to revoke it, people huddled in bathtubs and closets with their children, called loved ones from the freeway, and – understandably – panicked. That no doubt led you to wonder if the same thing could happen here in Minnesota.
If you were anywhere near the Twin Cities over Super Bowl weekend, you saw extra safety and security measures everywhere: armed guards at the airport, a noticeable law enforcement presence downtown, blocked-off streets and altered public transportation schedules and routes. That visual evidence was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what local and federal agencies were doing to keep football fans and non-fans alike safe last weekend. But what you didn’t see was Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division waiting quietly in the background.
File under “Things you never think about”: If a person is in prison for a DWI-related offense, they don’t have a license when they get out. And the longer they go without a license, the more likely they are to drive without one – which can land them right back in prison. So how to make sure they’re safely and legally driving behind the wheel? Enter ignition interlock transition help in state correctional facilities. Department of Public Safety (DPS) staff started by going to Lino Lakes Correctional Facility in the summer of 2015. They did a presentation on
the Ignition Interlock Device Program and answered the inmates’
It’s true that sex trafficking is a problem during the Super Bowl. Studies show that sex buyers are predominantly middle-aged white married men, which also happens to describe a lot of NFL fans. But to think that sex trafficking is a problem unique to the days surrounding the big game would be to fool ourselves. In 2017, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) started the Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force. Their aim is to dismantle organizations that are trafficking people and to hold sex buyers accountable. They also try to connect sex trafficking victims with social service agencies.