POLICE officer Rohan Best is going the extra mile for children by running in the 42-kilometre Chicago Marathon in the United States on October 13.
Detective Senior Constable Best, who lives in Penrith, aims to raise at least $5000 for the child protection advocates' group Bravehearts.
"Statistics show that about one in five children in Australia will be sexually abused before the age of 18," Senior Detective Best said.
"It's quite scary how prevalent child abuse is; that's why I got involved with Bravehearts."
He has worked in the State Crime Command's Child Exploitation Internet Unit since transferring from the St Marys local command in 2012.
"The internet is the way of the future and it presents new challenges for law enforcement," Senior Detective Best said.
He said social media enabled many sexual predators to contact and deceive young people, who might not realise who they were dealing with.
"Our unit works to detect and apprehend these offenders," Senior Detective Best said.
"Dealing with these crimes can be emotionally challenging for many officers, but it is also very rewarding when the perpetrators are brought to justice.
"For every offender we catch, we're saving thousands of kids who could have potentially fallen victim."
He said parents and carers of children should also be aware of the problem and take steps to reduce the risk.
"Be aware of what your children are doing online and who they interact with," he said.
"Computers should be situated in a common area and parents should have access to their children's accounts."
Senior Detective Best said if anyone was concerned about a person's online behaviour they should immediately contact their local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Donations and sponsorship details: bravehearts.org.au, then click on the link to Children's Champions.