New unit to focus on computer crime in Kansas

The state of Kansas is creating a law enforcement unit designed to combat an increase in computer crime in the state.

“So much of our lives is now lived online,” said Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. “That’s true, as we all know, for the bad guys, as well. Any modern criminal investigation agency has to have a robust capacity to deal with crime that’s committed in cyberspace. The KBI does a very good job, but for the first time now, they will be in a position to establish a dedicated unit with specialized training, techniques and tools specifically to focus on online crime.”

The state budget signed Monday by Governor Laura Kelly includes $1 million for the new investigative group.

“The unit’s going to work very closely with federal authorities, because so many of these crimes cross state boundaries or originate outside the country,” said Schmidt. “It will let us be in a better position to try to protect Kansans or at least bring justice after the fact when folks from elsewhere reach in digitally and victimize our citizens.”

This is about having more ability to prosecute offenders.

“As long as the victim is here, there’s been enough of a nexus with Kansas that we can exercise jurisdiction,” said Schmidt. “The problem sometimes is jurisdictional, but more often the problem is just the practical capacity to be able to find the bad guys and then to be able to reach the bad guys once you find them.”

Funding for the new cyber crimes unit will become available with the start of the new fiscal year July 1.