As part of my research for today’s piece on task forces, I tried to contact the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is run out of the SDPD.
Lt. Vince Villalvazo, who’s in charge of the task force, didn’t get back to me until just now.
He said the task force lost one detective to retirement last October. There used to be three detectives on the task force, now there are two. Villalvazo blamed the department’s recruitment and retention problems for the loss of his team member.
Villalvazo, who hadn’t yet read my story, said he expects other law enforcement agencies to “step up to the plate” and fill the vacancy.
I asked Villalvazo whether he’s had trouble finding new recruits from other law enforcement agencies. Has it become more difficult to get investigators from other departments since the SDPD pulled out of other task forces, I asked.
No, he said.
Statewide, officers who focus on certain crimes are a diligent bunch, he said. They’re not about to let politics get in the way of doing their job.
Does he need more people, I asked.
Yes, he said.
“It’s hard to gauge, because we don’t know how many predators are out there,” he said. “But however many investigators we are given, they’ll be busy.”