SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 UTAH) She was a high school teacher and athletic trainer in Arizona when she decided to apply to the FBI. A year later Jen Fischer was at the academy and then sent to Hawaii to work with an FBI Child Exploitation Task Force.
Now she’s in Utah – rescuing children and busting those who prey on them. We learn more about her and her job in this week’s Behind the Badge.
We caught up with Special Agent Jen Fischer as she was preparing for the next move in an active case. “That gun and that badge come with a huge responsibility – that we all take very, very seriously.” Fischer is part of the Child Exploitation Task Force. Her job involves a lot surveillance, undercover work, raids, arrests and rescues. “It’s very challenging work. Emotionally challenging and difficult at times, but the group of people I get to work with makes me better every day. Everyone is so committed to helping kids.”
Fischer has been working for the FBI for nearly eight years. The 39-year-old says the exploitation of children is reaching new levels in Utah and across the world. And it’s her job to try to stop it. “We have victims ranging from infants to teenagers.” “It’s continuing to get worse – the material we are seeing continues to get worse over time.” “Its our job to go on the internet and find these people.” “Really the ones we are looking for to prosecute federally – are the worst of the worst – taking photos of their own children – uploading them to the internet. Sharing them.”
Recently one of those cases was developed by an agent just like Fischer on the East Coast. “We go online in an undercover capacity and that is where we meet these terrible offenders and that is how we generate some of our cases.” However, the suspect was here in Utah and generating child porn involving his 3-year-old and 7-month-old daughters. “They called us and we drop everything. Dustin starts writing an OPS order. I start writing a search warrant and Jeff starts doing surveillance.” Within hours the suspect was arrested. And recently he was sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison. “Sometimes it breaks your heart, but at the same time we celebrate those victories when we get them. We can rescue an infant out of a home and she won’t remember being victimized – which is great and put that person who was in a position of trust in jail for a long time. And she can grow up and have a normal life. And that is what brings me joy.”
She says while the focus of the task force is to find those who are victimizing children – she says it’s really a job with two goals. “It’s a two prong approach punish those responsible and also get help for those victims.” “We have a lot of contact with the victims and it is repeated contact to show them that they are worth something and their life matters and we care. And we want them to get out of this life that they are in. And they didn’t deserve this and it isn’t their fault.”
Fischer says most people have no idea how many children are being exploited for pornography, sex and labor. She says she was shocked when she started working for the FBI as well. However, she says once she knew the truth – she dedicated everyday to stopping it. “I get to come to work every day and I get to do something that makes me feel really good about what I am doing to help society.” “We serve and we protect and we all are very proud to do that and it is a great, great honor to protect kids.”
While the FBI and local law enforcement work together on these child exploitation cases – whenever possible – those involved try to get a federal conviction because federal sentences are generally longer.
During our interview we also learned about special agent Fischer’s first arrest… she talks about it online in the web extra. To see that and to nominate someone for a future behind the badge story go to: http://www.good4utah.com/badge