Alachua County, FL

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Alachua County is a county of approximately 250,000 residents, located in north central Florida. Gainesville is the county’s seat and largest city. In the late 1970s, pervasive prostitution and sex trafficking activity in and around area rest stops generated compliants to police, and led the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a series of large-scale reverse stings along Interstate 75. In their efforts, ACSO officers coordinated with members of the Florida Highway Patrol’s Rest Area Concentrated Enforcement Task Force (RACE). One initiative, conducted over the course of three months in 1988, resulted in the arrest of over 150 individuals on solicitation charges. The names and identities of arrested johns were at times publicized by local media outlets.

In 2003, Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies collaborated with members of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Marshal Service, Tallahassee Police Department and St. Johns and Leon County Sheriff’s Offices to establish the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. In October 2011, officers conducted a web sting across several jurisdictions targeting johns soliciting sex from minors online. The operation resulted in the arrest of 35 men, all of whose names and photos were released to the public. A similar investigation, conducted by ACSO officers in February 2012, netted an additional 21 men on solicitation charges.

In 2017, fifteen men were arrested during an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force operation, involving the Gainesville Police Department and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. In “Operation Resilient,” multiple people communicated online with whom they believed to be either a child or a guardian that would allow sexual contact with a child. Of that group, fifteen men actually traveled to meet the online contacts with the intent of having sexual contact, which ultimately led to their arrest.

Key Sources

State Florida
Type City
Population 243574
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