"PROWL" Program Puts Communities On Alert For Predators


Only 30 percent of child sexual abuse cases are reported to the authorities.  Now the West Virginia State Police, Crimes Against Children Unit, and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force are training parents and children on the dangers of the Internet through a new program called the PROWL program.

 PROWL stands for Predator-Ready-Organized-Watch-Location. 

"It's a way for us to train adults and children about the dangers of the Internet and that predators pose and we want to put predators on notice that they are not welcome in these locations, "Lt.. D. B. Swiger explained. 

PROWL is similar to a community watch program, helping communities become organized and more aware of their surroundings, their children, and any potential threats.

Swiger said the program will be established in areas where children gather often, like public parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas. The first of many was established Saturday afternoon at the Bridgeport Recreation Complex in Harrison County. 

The programs mascot is Trooper Trax, a Panther known for his capability to track down predators. 

Claire Casto designed the plaque for the program in 2010.  Castro chose a panther because she felt it was an animal that is protective and would help children feel more comfortable learning about potential dangers. 

Troopers said the best way to protect your children is to communicate the danger of the internet and strangers.  For more information on the PROWL program you can contact West Virginia State Police at (304) 293-6400.  

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