The Fairfax County Police Department could be getting a full-time detective whose sole focus is combating human trafficking in the area.
During its May 22 meeting, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized the police department to apply for grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice. Fairfax and Prince William counties would split a $500,000 grant, financing a position for a specialist in human trafficking crimes. The money would also provide overtime pay for detectives currently assigned to the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.
Approximately $285,000 of the grant would go to Fairfax County. But the police department will be submitting its grant application nearly two months after the March 29 deadline.
Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross expressed irritation that the board was being asked for approval so late in the process. She said the board should “be ahead of the game instead of playing catch-up.”
FCPD Lieutenant Chris Marsh, of the Organized Crime and Narcotics Division, explained that the department initially decided to pass on the opportunity. But after conferring with the U.S. Attorney General’s office and the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, officials at the FCPD decided to apply. By that time, it was past the March 29 deadline.
According to court documents, the alleged criminals lived in the Springfield, Lorton, Alexandria and Woodbridge areas. If girls didn’t perform, the men beat or raped them, or forced them to take illegal drugs, including cocaine and Ecstasy.
Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law 13 bills that are designed to strengthen the fight against human trafficking and other violent crimes.