In California’s most ambitious program to monitor sex offenders, a task force will start in September watching nearly 3,400 offenders in Riverside County, says the Los Angeles Times. The $5.3-million, county-funded program will include members of the state Justice Department, Department of Corrections, district attorney’s office, Sheriff’s Department and other local law enforcement agencies. “If this saves just one life, if it protects just one child, said District Attorney Grover Trask, “our citizens’ money will be well-spent.” By joining state and local resources, the task force is a more “efficient way to provide for public safety,” Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. There are about 85,000 registered sex offenders statewide.
Five teams with investigators, probation officers, and detectives each will serve one part of the county, plus one administrative group to oversee registration, monitoring, and forensic work to find illegal computer files. The officials will conduct surveillance on registered offenders, make any necessary arrest sweeps and notify the public of released sex offenders. Another team will conduct Internet stings in attempts to catch pedophiles – a broader group than registered offenders – online. A pregnant Riverside resident was slain at home last year by a paroled sex offender.