Do you remember the Chris Hansen’s “To Catch a Predicator” series?  He would set up men attempting to contact children on the internet to engage in sex with them.

WWMT News Channel 3 is reporting on a Watchdog Group right here in Albion Michigan attempting to do the same thing.

The group calls themselves 517 Child Predator Exposures (CPE). They state on their Facebook page that they:

chat with online Predators that contact children for immoral purposes and expose them LIVE

They recently posted a video online of members from 517 CPE meeting up with a man they say was talking to one of their members online who was posing as a minor.

That video was viewed many times and one group that viewed it was the Albion Public Safety department.  They started an investigation because of the video and ended up arresting a 58-year-old man yesterday after searching his home and said child porn was found.

That was a good thing but Albion Public Safety Detective Justin Reniger was quoted in the article stating:

They have the right objective in mind, but the private citizen groups don't have to abide by the same laws and procedures we do as police… When they are meeting these individuals, they don't know who they are meeting and there's a danger there that when they set up these meetings they could be walking into a potentially violent situation…Our concern with groups like this is we need to be notified sooner. We would have liked to have been involved we could have made sure things were done the appropriate way…You don't know who is out there on the internet on social media and so parents just need to be aware

Do you believe that groups such as 517 CPE should be taking on this courageous effort on their own?

One concern is that the police have is that if they do this on their own much of the material obtained by these citizens or citizen groups is not usable in court.

One Battle Creek mother, Jessi Olivarri, appreciates what the 517 CPE is doing and was quoted in the article stating:

I think it's a great way for them to try and take a proactive approach to stopping that kind of behavior

Does every little bit help or should this be left up to the professionals?

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595