Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary was held on Friday, June 1, 2012, at 10:00 AM, at the Kentucky State Police Training Academy, Frankfort KY. Representative John Tilley, Chair, called the meeting to order, the secretary called the roll, and a quorum was present.
Members:Senator Tom Jensen, Co-Chair; Representative John Tilley, Co-Chair; Senators Perry B. Clark, John Schickel, Dan "Malano" Seum, Katie Stine, Robert Stivers II, and Robin L. Webb; Representatives Joseph M. Fischer, Kelly Flood, Sara Beth Gregory, Joni L. Jenkins, Thomas Kerr, Michael J. Nemes, Darryl T. Owens, Tom Riner, and Steven Rudy.
Guests: Commissioner Rodney Brewer, General Counsel Morgain Sprague, and Lt. Shane Bates, Kentucky State Police; and Secretary J. Michael Brown, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
Chairman Tilley recognized the recent passing of former Kentucky State Police Commissioner Jerry Lovitt, and a moment of silence was held in his honor.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer commented that, until now, the State Police have never had a true academy facility. He outlined the history of State Police training facilities starting with the 1959 construction of a combination, headquarters, laboratory, and academy building where State Police Post 12 is currently located. In 1982, the State Police moved their headquarters and academy functions to the former Ramada Inn motel building on Versailles Road. While the building had living quarters, a restaurant, and limited classroom space, it did not have a firing range or a driving range facility. Cadets had to go to the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond or elsewhere to use these types of facilities. Renting additional classroom space costs $25,000 to $30,000 per year. Due to the demands for State Police basic and in-service training, Motor Vehicle Enforcement officers go to the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond for training.
He said that when the Department of Corrections closed in 2011 the Frankfort Career Development Center, a minimum security prison in Frankfort, the Justice Cabinet offered the facility to the State Police for a training academy, which the department accepted. Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet J. Michael Brown said that closing the prison saved the state over $1 million dollars. The option of purchasing land and building a new academy facility had a cost estimate of $34 million. The main facility is 362 acres. An additional 135 acres across the Frankfort East-West Connector road is being leased to the City of Frankfort for a park.
The facility has several buildings, including a dormitory, an administration building with a kitchen and cafeteria, maintenance buildings, a chapel (which has been remodeled into a small classroom), and a laundry facility. The department hired Bender and Associates to survey the facility and existing buildings to determine their suitability and to provide long-term planning. Based on the recommendations, the administration building, which is the oldest building and no longer meets current building, electrical, and fire code requirements, will be torn down and replaced at an approximate cost of $4 million, although there is only $2 million budgeted for the project.
Other buildings are being renovated with updating of heating, air conditioning, and other improvements for use as classrooms, a weight training facility, and laundry. The former inmate dormitory is being renovated to include housing for male and female cadets and staff. Additional savings are being realized because grounds maintenance is done by state inmates housed at the Franklin County Jail, the weight room is being furnished by surplus work-out equipment donated by the Cincinnati Bengals football team, and beds and furnishings for the dormitory have been obtained at no cost as surplus property from the base realignment at Fort Knox.
Senator Webb and Chairman Jensen complimented the State Police on their training and professionalism.
Lt. Shane Bates of the Internet Crimes Unit commented that the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, established the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) program in 1998. The State Police established a Computer Crime Unit in 1999 within the Intelligence Section, and the unit changed to the Electronic Crime Branch in 2002. One of the major areas focused on by the Internet Crimes Unit involves sex offenders preying on children, and exchange and viewing of child pornography on the Internet. The unit conducts forensic analysis of electronic evidence, public safety training relating to the Internet, and training and assisting of other law enforcement agencies in their fight against Internet crimes against children. The unit investigates other types of digital crimes, including theft of identity, terroristic threatening, cyber stalking, fraud, theft, unlawful computer access (hacking), drug distribution, forgery, and terrorism and subversion.
Lt. Bates said that, in 2011, the Kentucky ICAC Task Force investigated 699 documented complaints. Of these, 59 percent were proactive in which officers actively sought suspects committing a crime, and 41 percent were reactive with police responding to complaints that a crime had been committed. He said that child molesters trade child pornography on the Internet, view pornography in chat rooms, and create and exchange manuals on how to involve children in molestation and pornography. Victims never recover from the molestation, particularly since the videos remain on the Internet potentially forever and their exploitation occurs continually, many years after the actual act was perpetrated.
Lt. Bates described how detectives use the Internet and the provisions of KRS 510.155 relating to the use of electronic systems to procure a minor for sex. The officers monitor the Internet to discover persons interested in "chat room" and similar discussions between minors and others, and if the discussion appears to be involved in seeking unlawful conduct (ranging from nude photos to soliciting actual sexual relations), the officer then seeks the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the perpetrator and poses as a child to communicate. The officer permits the potential offender to incriminate himself or herself and does not direct the conversation or solicit acts but responds to requests. The user may meet with the "minor" who is a detective for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, at which time the perpetrator is arrested. With the increased use of Internet chat rooms such as Facebook, Yahoo, and My Yearbook, Lt. Bates said he was concerned about the decreasing age of children posting improper information on the Internet with each other and which is then available to potential molesters and pornographers.
Lt. Bates said that the Attorney General has the power to issue administrative subpoenas for Internet records pursuant to KRS 500.120, but the State Police and other law enforcement agencies do not. Lt. Bates and State Police General Counsel Morgain Sprague would like to see the statute amended to at least include the State Police. Other desired statutory changes include prohibiting a registered sex offender from photographing a child without the permission of the child's parent. Mr. Sprague indicated that Wisconsin has a statute prohibiting this conduct but that photographing a child, particularly in public such as at a beach or swimming pool, is legal in Kentucky. The State Police would like to extend asset forfeiture, including real property, to child molestation and pornography cases, and would like to clarify that images of child exploitation are contraband, must remain in law enforcement custody, and are not subject to discovery.
Mr. Sprague indicated there are civil penalties under Federal law for child molestation victims. In response to a question from Senator Stivers, Mr. Sprague said that civil penalties can go to the victim. In response to a question from Senator Schickel, Lt. Bates said he did not know how many cases in state and federal court were initiated by the State Police, but he will provide the information.
Due to time constraints, the agenda item relating to drug enforcement was postponed until a future meeting. Representative Brent Yonts had sent a letter to the committee indicating he was attending a judicial center dedication and was unable to attend the meeting. The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.