Sudbury police beefing up fight against child pornography

The Greater Sudbury Police Service is beefing up the fight against child exploitation.

Mental health support, stress at forefront of battle to help cops investigating child pornography

Greater Sudbury Police Services is adding two more officers to the unit investigating child exploitation and internet crimes. (CBC)

The Greater Sudbury Police Service is beefing up the fight against child exploitation.

Police are dedicating two more investigators to deal with online child abuse.

Blair Ramsay heads up the Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

He said the number of cases is going up exponentially and the abuse is getting worse. Catching the people involved in its spread is not an easy task, and finding the right officers for the job is still a challenge, Ramsay said. 

"Not everybody can do this job," he said. "You have to come in with the right mindset."

"We're not talking about teenagers, we're talking about like 2 and 3-year-old children exploited even younger, sexually."

The impact of viewing child exploitation images can leave a traumatic impact, Ramsay said.

"There's officers that have walked into our office by happenstance, and we happen to have something up on the screen," he said.  "I've had officers talk to me and say 5 or 6 years ago they remember exactly what they saw. It impacted them to that point."

Ramsay said he has had to view such images, but officers do not have to view entire videos.

Detective Sergeant Blair Ramsay heads the Child Exploitation and Internet Crimes units. (GSPS)

Ramsay said that it helps that it's a small unit, and he gets a chance to ensure his team is dealing with the trauma they see. 

"We're pretty intact," Ramsay said. "We haven't lost anybody to an occupational stress injury since I've been there."

"We're in a smaller office so we're able to watch each other and take care of each other," he said. "And as a supervisor I have to know my people better than other supervisors, to the point where I could probably tell my staff...okay, take a break, or go and work out or whatever you need to do just to detach for a few minutes.

"Because it's really emotional stuff. Everyday you're traumatized."