TASK FORCE TARGETING MISSING SEX OFFENDERS.
In an aggressive campaign to enforce sex-offender registration laws, Sheriff Lee Baca on Thursday launched the county's first ever task force targeting sex offenders who fail to tell authorities their whereabouts.
The Los Angeles County 290 Task Force's mission is to locate, investigate and/or arrest sex offenders who are unaccounted for or fail to tell authorities their residences.
About 15,000 sex offenders live in Los Angeles County and 3,300 live within the Sheriff Department's jurisdiction. Of those, 330 have not been located.
``These individuals will knowingly commit these crimes and they must be watched,'' Baca said at Thursday's press conference at sheriff's headquarters in Monterey Park. ``This is a serious matter.''
The seven-person team is made up of sheriff's deputies, county probation officers, state parole officers and the state Department of Justice.
The team works by organizing sweeps, cross checking jail, prison, deportation and death records, and taking DNA samples from sex offenders. The work is labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Convicted sex offender and author Jake Goldenflame, a vocal supporter of Megan's Law, says the clamp-down is necessary.
``Vigorous enforcement and prosecution of those failing to register is definitely needed. In the past, police and prosecutors have not given it the priority it needs.'' said Goldenflame, the author of ``Overcoming Sexual Terrorism.''