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Keeping kids safe

September 22, 2008 | Virginia News

News Image Since he took a job as an Internet Crimes Against Children investigator, Christiansburg police Officer Phil Townley has helped launch 41 child pornography investigations throughout the state.

CHRISTIANSBURG -- Few people would want to see the images Officer Phil Townley seeks out. As the Christiansburg Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children investigator, part of Townley's job is to search the Internet for photographs and videos of children, as young as infants, being sexually abused. "Regardless of how seasoned you are in law enforcement," he said, "those types of images can invoke a really strong emotional reaction." That sort of reaction from an officer is how the Christiansburg Police Department ended up becoming the liaison for 10 counties and two cities to the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force based in Bedford County, also known as Operation Blue Ridge Thunder. Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown has received national attention for his work through Blue Ridge Thunder, created in 1998 to crack down on child pornography distributed over the Internet, solicitation of children online and other computer-related crimes against children. External Link to Article