Alcorn unit eyes cyber activity

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Last week’s arrest of an Alcorn County man on charges of possession of child pornography brought the issue and law enforcement’s efforts to combat it to the forefront.
Patrick Goad of County Road 227 was arrested June 7, when police said they discovered child pornography on his computer during a search warrant. Goad posted a $20,000 bond and was released that day.
The Alcorn County Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crimes Unit has been in place for more than a year, but the hiring in March of Investigator Jason Willis has added to the department’s ability to monitor such incidents. Willis investigated such crimes with the Tippah County Sheriff’s Office the past couple of years, and he also is a narcotics investigator for Alcorn County.
“We are an affiliate of the Mississippi Attorney General Internet Crimes Against Children task force,” Willis said. “The AG’s office provides us with a computer and other equipment to be able to analyze computers that we seize. If we find known child porn images, we take the seized computer to the Tupelo forensic lab for analysis.”
About 40 task forces affiliated with the attorney general’s office operate throughout the state. The protocol they use has been so effective that other agencies throughout the nation want to use it in setting up cyber crime units, Willis said.
“This work is funded through federal grants, and the task force is one of Attorney General Jim Hood’s main focuses,” Willis said. “He pushes very hard for laws to combat child pornography, and the people assigned in Jackson to the task force are passionate about this work and work hard on keeping us going with the grant funding.”
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com