SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Two alleged child predators were put behind bars this week in Sacramento county.
The group that helped catch them, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, or ICAC, is now asking for the public’s help to lock in future funding.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said that in the governor’s proposed budget there is no mention of funding for the task force, which has received money from the state since 2017. Now, as the deadline approaches, officials are scrambling to make sure the group gets the money it needs.
“With that funding in danger, right now, there is a wall that’s going to come down of defense that is going to leave a whole segment of society vulnerable,” Sgt. Rod Grassmann said.
Since 2017, the state has funded five ICAC task forces throughout California. In 2019, state funds for the program were provided through a one-time measure, approved by the legislature, that provided $5 million per year for three years.
“I know that the governor and the legislature here want to make sure that kids are safe. I would say to the governor that there is not a better use of this task force money than what we’re using it for and that is to combat child predators,” Grassmann said.
A spokesperson for the governor’s office said, “the governor is preparing his updated budget proposal – the “May revision” – which he will send to the legislature by mid-month. No final decisions on this or any other proposal have yet been made.”
“If someone were to ask me what is the last team that you would want to disband? I would say without hesitation this Internet Crimes Against Children task force there isn’t a more important because they prey on the most vulnerable in our society,” Grassmann said.
In Sacramento, roughly 15 deputies and four detectives work to catch the adults who are victimizing children.
Now more than ever, children have phones, smart tablets and computers, serving as a gateway to the internet, and without someone watching over them, they’re also more vulnerable.
Without the dedicated ICAC task force – trained to catch people online – police departments and sheriff’s offices may have to pull officers and deputies from their patrol crews to keep the community’s children safe.
The legislature has until June 15 to take final action on a budget for the new fiscal year that starts on July 1.