Veterans to assist in child predator investigations - WFLA News Channel 8

Veterans to assist in child predator investigations

Posted: Updated:
Facebook photo: Justin Gaertner Facebook photo: Justin Gaertner
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Tampa will be part of a new federal pilot program that trains veterans to help track down child predators and assist agents with investigations into child pornography and online sexual exploitation.

Two veterans of the 17 involved in the "HERO Corps" will work in Tampa, one of 14 cities involved in the year-long program. David Blau and Justin Gaertner, both veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps, are expected to start work by the end of the month.

The veterans will be taking leads and doing computer forensic work in the Tampa Homeland Security Investigations office.

Gaertner, a combat engineer who is from Tampa and lost both of his legs after being wounded by IEDs in Afghanistan, said he looks at his new job as "just transferring the knowledge and skill set I had from the Marine Corps to the HERO Corps."

The work with ICE Homeland Security Investigations also gives Gaertner another chance to serve.

"I thought my service had gotten cut short, and I never thought that I would be able to go back into the field and continue the fight, continue the service to my country," Gaertner told News Channel 8.

Combat veterans are also specially equipped to deal with the difficult and often disturbing job of investigating crimes against children.

"These individuals that have been overseas fighting for our country, they possess mental toughness," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Tampa. "They possess the psychological skills needed, they've been through the horrors of war."

The yearlong pilot program is being funded with private sector money and a grant from an individual to the National Association to Protect Children, an HSI spokeswoman said.

Related Content: Check out Tampa's Homeland Security team
 

 

 





  • NewsMore>>

  • Toddler hit & killed by city truck in Tampa

    Toddler hit & killed by city truck in Tampa

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:11 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:11:12 GMT
    Demetric LayntonDemetric Laynton
    Tampa Police detectives are investigating the death of a toddler on Thursday night. A TPD spokesperson confirms the child was struck and killed by a vehicle at the Tampa Park Apartments at 1015 Lily Court.
    Tampa Police detectives are investigating the death of a toddler on Thursday night. A TPD spokesperson confirms the child was struck and killed by a vehicle at the Tampa Park Apartments at 1015 Lily Court.
  • Medical marijuana debate comes to Lakeland

    Medical marijuana debate comes to Lakeland

    Thursday, August 28 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-08-29 02:27:57 GMT
    There are just two months left to make your decision. Should Florida legalize medical marijuana? Hundreds packed into an auditorium in Lakeland to hear two star players in this debate.
    There are just two months left to make your decision. Should Florida legalize medical marijuana? Hundreds packed into an auditorium in Lakeland to hear two star players in this debate.
  • Valrico doomsday prepper pleads guilty

    Valrico doomsday prepper pleads guilty

    Thursday, August 28 2014 8:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 00:32:11 GMT
    Martin WintersMartin Winters
    Martin Winters, known as the doomsday prepper plead guilty on two counts of making and possessing destructive devices on Thursday in federal court in Tampa.
    Martin Winters, known as the doomsday prepper plead guilty on two counts of making and possessing destructive devices on Thursday in federal court in Tampa.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.