King County urges study of protection against cyberbullying
September 5, 2012 · Updated 12:00 PM
A motion introduced Tuesday by Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is urging the King County Sheriff’s Office to study ways to protect the public from “cyberbullying.”
“In recent months, all across the country, we have seen tragedies unfold as a result of cyberbullying,” said Dunn, lead sponsor of the motion in a news release. “This motion will allow the Sheriff’s Office to study this issue thoroughly and ensure King County has a plan to deal with any of these troubling bullying trends.”
“Technology-based crimes of harassment and intimidation affect young and old,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. “As we progress and become more dependent on internet-based communication, a cyber-bully can target a senior citizen as easily as a young teen. We need to better understand the criminal environment and trends in King County.”
Cyberbullying is the use of information and communications technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. With the growth of social media, the incidents of cyberbullying are becoming a source of concern for law enforcement, county officials said.
The online safety of residents of King County is part of the county’s Strategic Plan. One of the Justice and Safety priorities is keeping people safe in their homes and communities. This motion advances that objective by asking for a study of the impact of cyberbullying in King County.
The motion calls on the King County Sheriff’s Office to transmit a report on cyberbullying in unincorporated King County. The report would include the annual number and status of investigations that are associated with cyberbullying in unincorporated King County and compare those numbers to national trends. It could also include the Sheriff’s approach toward the investigation and prevention of cyberbullying. The motion directs the Sheriff to investigate if additional resources for training should be made available to support investigations of cyberbullying in unincorporated King County, officials said.