COLUMBIA, Mo. - The task force dedicated to protecting children on the Internet could soon be losing all of its funding.
On Tuesday Gov. Jay Nixon said he was pulling more than $1 billion from the upcoming state budget.
Some $1.5 million is being restricted from all Cyber Crimes Task Forces in Missouri.
ABC 17 News talked with the Boone County Cyber Crimes Task Force investigator, Tracy Perkins.
She said they have not yet received a letter saying their funding was being withheld.
"We could always use more money and have asked, but it has always been $1.5 million," said Perkins.
That's $1.5 million for all 14 cyber crimes task forces in the state.
That amount they have been getting the last seven years, is now being restricted by the governor.
That is the task forces entire budget.
And it is a task force that has numbers to prove it's needed in today's society.
In the past seven years, the task force has made more than 160 arrests for Internet-related crimes.
In 2013 they made 30 arrests.
"Given that technology is here to stay and that more and more children are getting their hands on cellphones and tablets it's not going away," said Perkins.
So why is it's funding?
The governor's office told ABC 17 News it's to balance the budget, cuts had to be made.
"It's anybody's game out there. If a parent or a child does not have any guidelines on the internet or their devices, it's a huge playing field that's going to get out of control if we are not there to help," said Perkins.
The cost for cyber crime investigators to do their work is only getting more expensive.
"The problem that we are facing and every task force is facing is that the cost of forensic equipment is a crazy amount," said Perkins.
Even with the equipment and technology they have Perkins told ABC 17 News they aren't even close to catching every dangerous predator out there.
"We are hitting a small percentage of what really is the big picture," said Perkins.
The governor said more funds could become available in September if lawmakers don't override his vetoes.
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