Homicide Task Force to Lose Sheriff's Personnel

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Sheriff's Department team assigned to the Metropolitan Homicide Task Force's probe of prostitute killings will be called back Friday to sheriff's homicide investigations, Sheriff Jim Roache said in a statement.

The department can no longer afford to loan out the team, six detectives and a civilian support staffer, because it has 175 unsolved homicides of its own to investigate, up from 100 at this time last year, Sheriff's Department spokesman Dan Greenblat said Friday.

"Our existing homicide detail is stretched to the breaking point, and we have to reallocate the very limited resources we have," Greenblat said.

It was unclear Friday night how the sheriff's action would affect the multi-agency task force, which has investigated a series of prostitute-related killings and attacks, most of which occurred in the East County during the 1980s.

The task force has investigated 45 cases and recorded seven convictions, a spokesman said earlier this week. Task force officials could not be reached Friday for comment.

Roache said he notified task force officials last month that he needed to recall his investigators and waited until Friday to make the news public.

"We are frustrated that more could not be done (for the task force) but our limited staff must be redirected," Roache said.

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