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Wasco joins Rural Crime Task Force

The Wasco substation of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office recently created a Rural Crime Task Force and is now part of the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Task Force, which began in 2001, according to the KCSO’s Robert Winn.

The rural crime investigation unit consists of one sergeant, two senior deputies, one clerk and a deputy district attorney. “This is a collaborative program in which experienced investigators work directly with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office,” Winn said.

The Rural Crime Investigation Unit is a collaborative program designed to have experienced investigators work directly with those that have an interest in the agricultural, livestock and oil production industries.

According to Winn, there are crimes in rural communities that need to be monitored and criminals apprehended, related to the county’s oil, natural gas, hydroelectric power, geothermal, solar and wind power industries, as well for mineral wealth, including gold, borate and kernite. It’s also important because the county’s overall employment is ag-related. For these reasons, crime has increased and requires a specialized task force.

In the past, it was difficult to develop the necessary investigative expertise to manage the cases with much success; however, with the new task force, criminals within the outlying areas are able to be monitored and apprehended quickly.

Law enforcement recognized the need to develop new and different strategies to address these crimes associated with the rural business community. Previous law enforcement techniques were unable to keep up with the crime rate, and the criminals were not bound by city or county jurisdictions. Also, many times some crimes would be committed in one county that were also being committed by criminals who lived in nearby counties.

In order to address the growing challenges of rural crime, the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Task Force was created. The task force has highly trained rural crime investigators from San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. This task force is dedicated to enable new and more effective techniques for attacking agricultural, ranching and oil field crimes.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, in addition, the task force works closely with the district attorney’s office on crime trends and evolving technologies. As a result of this partnership, the district attorney’s office is able to develop legal tools to vigorously investigate and prosecute suspects.

The following officers are assigned to the unit: Sergeant Robert Winn, Sr. Deputy Richard Hudson, Sr. Deputy Tanner Miller, Deputy Corey Stacy, Deputy Richard Giannelli and Special Deputy Martin Downs.


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