By: Ashley Ritchie
Fresno police officer Brian Ridenour is no stranger to undercover law enforcement operations.
"Basically when we identify somebody that's involved with committing crimes here in the city, we get them identified and we follow up on them," Officer Ridenour said in an interview with KMPH four years ago.
Last weekend was a different story.
Ridenour is one of 13 people arrested during an internet based prostitution sting operation with the Tulare County Sheriff's Department and the Visalia Police Department.
"We actually went online, located some that were requesting money for sexual favors, made contact with them, they requested to meet, we set up a location to meet at and we were able to do the exchange at that point. They requested the money and that's when the arrest was made," Sergeant Chris Douglass, Tulare County Sheriff's Department, said.
In a statement released to KMPH, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says: "Brian has been with the Fresno Police Department for 12 years, all with the Central Policing District, including his current assignment as Problem Oriented Officer, which he has held for the last three years. Brian will be placed on modified duty pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation."
"You don't know who you're around," Douglass said.
Deputies say internet crimes like this are on the rise with the increasing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
On one such site called LinkedIn.Com, Officer Ridenour even talks about his career with the Fresno Police Department, listing "prostitution operations" as one of his specialties.
Soliciting prostitution is a misdemeanor offense.
Ridenour and the others arrested have been released from the Tulare County Jail.
All of them are expected back in court for a hearing.
Ridenour lives in Visalia.