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Police to Target Cyberbullies

Second Selectwoman Shelly Kassen had only one major question for Police Chief Al Fiore at the last meeting of the Board of Selectmen: Is this about Internet harassment? His answer: "Cyberbullying is the target."

That was enough to earn her and the selectmen's approval for a memorandum of understanding between the State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety, Westport and other local towns as part of the Task Force for Internet Crimes Against Children. Fiore said he was uncertain to what extent school administrators could be brought in for training, which was one of the major gaps in the plan, according to Kassen. "It feels inadequate without the schools," she said.

Fiore said the memorandum will allow Westport to join with other communities to share equipment and training for tracing and investigating Internet crimes. Most of the equipment they would be learning on is stuff the department would eventually want to buy for itself, but for now it could take advantage of the shared resources. He noted that budget cuts meant they would not hire a specific Internet crimes specialist.

Internet bullying and other crimes have grown beyond the scope of local authorities, according to Fiore. As a result, the police and other agencies have had to band together to fight back. "It's no longer statewide, it's far-reaching," Fiore said.

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