County Government Learns to Catch Online Predators

Law enforcement in Eddy County, N.M., monitors online activity to stop the distribution of child pornography.

by / September 11, 2012
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The popularity of shows like Dateline NBC's To Catch a Predator shed light on a widespread problem in 2004 when the show was first launched. Today, a small county in New Mexico is doing its part to fight pedophilia and child pornography locally with a little help from the FBI.

In Eddy County, N.M.., Sgt. Alan Griffith of the Eddy County Sheriff's Office received extensive training to fight child pornographers online and in person, Chris Hansen-style, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

"Not everyone is suited to do this kind of job," he said. "There is a lot of graphic stuff out there. I can handle most of it. I don't care who you are or how tough you are, when you see hardcore child pornography, it affects you."

Griffith uses special software, funded by state and federal funds, to secretly monitor the IP addresses of local residents who access child pornography through their computers or cellphones. In one case, the police were able to catch a man they had been monitoring online and then recover deleted files from his phone to verify the crime.

And just like the TV show, Griffith sometimes visits chat rooms to bait pedophiles looking for children, and then the police receive a warrant and attempt to catch the suspects.

To read more about Eddy County's fight against child pornography, visit