HPD’s Special Victims Division makes it a practice to engage in what’s known as a “chat sting,” an undercover operation designed to identify and apprehend suspects engaging in the online sexual exploitation of children.
Two such operations resulted in the HPOU recognizing four officers as Investigators of the Month at the August general membership meeting.
The division is part of the Houston-Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and includes Officers Monica Carmichael, Tracy Jackson, Nancy Jones and Sarah Wyatt.
These four officers assumed undercover identities as under-aged children and chatted with suspects they met online through various social media sites. The suspects involved in these types of crimes are the same individuals who commit other crimes of opportunity that include abductions and sexual assaults of children.
The officers engaged in their first chat operation in north Houston from March 25-27, the operation resulting in the arrest of nine suspects. Their second chat operation in Fort Bend County on May 14 and 15 led to the arrest of six suspects, who arrived at a predetermined location with the intent of having sex with a child. They were charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor.
Sgt. Richard Hahn said, “These undercover chat stings would not hve been successful had it not been for the hard work and dedication exhibited by Officers Carmichael, Jackson, Jones and Wyatt. Their passion to keep children safe resulted in the apprehension of 15 high-risk contact offenders.”