Northampton Community College program to give elite veterans new mission

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By Sara K. Satullo

A public-private partnership is giving America’s most elite military veterans a new mission on a domestic battle field.

The HERO — Human Exploitation Rescue Operative — Corps is training wounded and transitioning veterans from some of the nation’s most elite military units to fight child exploitation and sexual abuse online.

Over a year, HEROs undergo intensive training, learning how to combat child pornography and help law enforcement build prosecutable criminal cases. It’s designed and operated by the National Association to Protect Children, PROTECT for short; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Thus far, two classes of HEROs have graduated from the program and organizers say it’s been wildly successful. But there was one thing they felt could make it even better.

“One of the pieces we have always felt was missing was that formal education side,” said Joseph Arata, chief of strategic recruitment for  U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

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