Some things are worth waiting for and The HERO Improvements Act of 2017, having just passed the House of Representatives today, is one of those things.
In 2013, when the HERO Child Rescue Corps was launched in partnership with USSOCOM and Homeland Security Investigations, we knew we were establishing a special program.
We knew children needed rescue, we knew wounded veterans needed a new purpose. What we didn’t know is that this program would become so valued and successful, that it would become the only external forensic recruitment program at HSI. For five years, we have watched in awe as many of these HERO’s have found children and rescued them when others thought the trail was cold.
They have immersed themselves in the mission, scouring digital media for traces that would lead them to the worst offenders in the world. They work overtime to find tiny needles in massive haystacks of data to find that one clue that will identify a child in an image who waits for rescue.
Today we give something back to the selfless veterans for the service they have given to this country and to these children. We started this program as an unpaid internship in order to get it off the ground. Due to its success and the support of a few dedicated members of Congress and their incredible staff, these interns will now be paid, even during the course of their internships. They will now be allowed to pursue other positions within HSI besides just forensics and this program will grow from being just an HSI forensics program, into a series of programs across other federal agencies.