New Central Minnesota Task Force Forming to Fight Sex Crimes
ST. CLOUD -- Several local law enforcement agencies are teaming up, with the help of a state grant, to fight sex trafficking. The newly formed "Central Minnesota Sex Trafficking Investigative Task Force" has been awarded a $313,000 grant to fund the partnership.
Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud says the money will be used on two full-time investigators.
One investigator from Waite Park and one investigator from the St. Cloud police department. Because of the work Janelle and her office and Sheriff Gudmundson there's going to be about a half-time investigator allocated from the sheriff's office to really focus on investigating these cases.
Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall says the county will be chipping in some funding as well.
The sheriff threw in on the detective and then I went to the county board and asked for another critical piece, we'll have a crime analyst in my office which will do nothing but trolling the internet looking for these ads, collecting information for what's going on and passing that information on to law enforcement.
Kendall says the St. Cloud metro area is at a natural crossroads for both sex traffickers and sex buyers because of Interstate 94 and Highway 23.
Kendall says they've been working with Washington County, to get set-up, which already has a sex trafficking task force.
State Representative Tama Theis authored the legislation to allow for the funding.