Staff Sgt. Shawn Stubbs said he has a lot to learn as he starts his new job as the provincial coordinator of Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) unit.
The Prince Albert Police Service announced the appointment on Friday.
Stubbs has been as Staff Sgt. on patrol for the past six years and said he learned about the position opening last year. He was intrigued about helping kids and learning more about the technical work officers do in the unit.
Stubbs has been with the police service for 22 years in total.
This is the first time a member from the Prince Albert Police Service has stepped into the coordinator role. Stubbs will be based in Prince Albert along with two investigators, one from the police and another from the RCMP.
ICE is made up of investigators from other city police forces and the RCMP. There are also two forensic technicians and one administrative assistant in the unit.
Stubbs said he intends to reach out to former provincial coordinator and RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott Lambie, for assistance as he starts the new job.
“I can use him as a sounding board to bounce things off of and he’s an encyclopedia of knowledge for the unit itself which is great,” Stubbs said.
The position of provincial coordinator is rotated through involved police agencies every three years.
Stubbs explained that the work the ICE unit does is difficult and mental health is “incredibly important.”
“Some people do this for three years, five years, 10 years, but there’s always a certain point of time where you have to step aside and move on, to do something else. Because this does eat you up pretty bad if you can imagine.”
As for his position, Stubbs is responsible for receiving information and assigning files to investigators. He’s also responsible for handling finances and allocating funding.
Stubbs explained the unit will get information of someone who is accused of possessing child pornography, and then try and track down where the person is located so they can execute a search warrant. Once the unit finds evidence, they proceed with charges.
One big file the unit also looks at is luring, where a person would try and get a child to send pictures or videos of themselves.
With more and new technology coming out often that allows people to communicate with others, there are people out there who will use that technology for “nefarious reasons,” Stubbs explained.
“We have to learn with it. Bad people learn how to use it, they do their stuff, we have to learn to keep up with them to keep on top of all these things,” Stubbs said.
Stubbs said as someone with patrol background, he has additional training to complete as he steps into the new role.
One goal for him is to see the unit eventually move to same computer system. He explained that currently, the different police agencies work on the files on their own computer systems. He wants to see a system set up for ICE members only, throughout the entire province.
“That takes funding and money and time so it will be a work in progress to get it done,” Stubbs said.
As for his advice to the public, Stubbs encouraged parents to talk to their kids about online safety. He said with so many apps and people on the internet, it’s hard to keep track of everything. This makes it easier for people to create fake accounts.
He said parents should question if the people their kids are talking to online are their friends in real life or just on the internet.
“Is that an 11-year-old girl you’re talking to or a 35-year-old man? You have no idea,” Stubbs said.
“Talk to your kids, let them know about the issues of online safety and just be careful. Make kids aware.”