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Hawaii attorney general announces Operation Keiki Shield results

Law enforcement partners, including AFOSI Field Investigations Region 6 Commander, Col. Vasaga Tilo, Jr., third from right, and AFOSI Detachment 601 Commander, Lt. Col. Tasha E. Vick, second from left, pause during the Operation Keiki Shield news conference in Honolulu, Nov. 18, 2019. The media event centered on an unprecedented series of law enforcement operations in 2019 aimed at protecting Hawaii's keiki (children). (Photo courtesy Hawaii Attorney General's Office)

Law enforcement partners, including AFOSI Field Investigations Region 6 Commander, Col. Vasaga Tilo, Jr., third from right, and AFOSI Detachment 601 Commander, Lt. Col. Tasha E. Vick, second from left, pause during the Operation Keiki Shield news conference in Honolulu, Nov. 18, 2019. The media event centered on an unprecedented series of law enforcement operations in 2019 aimed at protecting Hawaii's keiki (children). (Photo courtesy Hawaii Attorney General's Office)

HONOLULU --

Attorney General Clare E. Connors announced on Nov. 18, 2019, that the Department of the Attorney General, through its Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and along with numerous county, federal and military law enforcement partners, conducted an unprecedented series of law enforcement operations through 2019 aimed at protecting Hawaii's keiki (Hawaiian for child, children).

The operations are named "Keiki Shield" and have thus far involved 95 law enforcement officers and professional staff from over a dozen county, state, federal and military law enforcement agencies, including: Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Honolulu Police Department, the Maui Police Department, the Kauai Police Department, the Kauai County Prosecutors, the Hawaii County Prosecutors, the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), together with each of their Judge Advocate Generals.

"Protecting children from child predators is of the utmost priority, and we really appreciate the support from our fellow law enforcement partners to do just that," said Lt. Col. Tasha Vick, AFOSI Detachment 601, Commander.

Keiki Shield is aimed at predators who approach children on-line for sex or sexual activities; suspects respond to law enforcement officers posing as juveniles on internet sites and are arrested when they arrive at the prearranged sites.

"The internet has become the preferred playground for child sex predators seeking innocent young victims," said John F. Tobon, acting Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Honolulu. "Research shows one in 25 children ages 10 to 17 have received an online sexual overture where the person attempted to meet the child face-to-face. Parents and children alike must become security minded when dealing with social media platforms. Speak to your children about the risk and continually check the security settings as well as contacts of their social media accounts."

There have been three coordinated operations thus far, Keiki Shield I on Oahu in March 2019, Keiki Shield II on Oahu in May 2019, and most recently, Keiki Shield Ill on Kauai, during the first half of November 2019.

"Protecting our children from predators is a priority for my office, and for every one of our partners," said Attorney General Connors. "I want anyone targeting children for sex online to know that law enforcement is here, we are looking for you, and we will arrest you."

The three operations have resulted in 25 arrests, 12 during Keiki Shield I, 10 during Keiki Shield II, and three during Keiki Shield Ill.

"The Kauai Police Department will remain vigilant and committed to stopping these illegal activities," said Chief Todd Raybuck. "I assure our communities that our officers and staff are dedicated to this unified mission, and together we will make our island a safer place for us all."

"As the Department of the Navy's primary law enforcement organization, NCIS is dedicated to protecting Sailors, Marines, and their families from criminal threats," said Special Agent in Charge for the NCIS Hawaii Field Office, Norm Dominesey. "We are grateful to our law enforcement partners in this proactive effort to keep child predators off the streets where our Navy families live and work."

Visit the following for more resources:

https://ag.hawaii.gov/hicac/safety-tips/tips for staying safe, children, teens and adults.

https://www.ice.gov/topics/iGuardians, keep yourself and your loved ones safe online.

And download Homeland Security Investigations' "Operation Predator" App available on the Apple App store.

https://www.ncis.navy.mil, NCIS Tips program for anonymous crime reporting.

https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html, Army CID program for anonymous crime reporting

https://www.tipsubmit.com/WebTips.aspx?AgencylD=1111, Air Force program for reporting tips

http://www.missingkids.com/Home , to report child exploitation/enticement 24/7 Hotline: 800-843-5678