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Recent decoy operations have drawn fierce criticism.Palm Springs police sparked outrage in 2009 when officers arrested 19 men in an undercover sting in a neighborhood known for gay resorts.They say that the stings can ensnare men who hadn't otherwise been seeking sex and that they rarely, if ever, target straight people.
The chief later resigned, and the department has not employed the tactic again, a police spokesman said."These are public parks, and public parks attract kids and families," said Bakersfield Sgt.Gary Carruesco, whose department stopped conducting stings after a judge found the practice to be discriminatory in 2005.Merrill Ladenheim, who heads the agency's human trafficking task force."We really refocused our efforts on those other crimes where we have a victim." LAPD officials say they have made a point of carrying out undercover operations less frequently in recent years.
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In more recent decades, police agencies that employed the stings defended them as an effective way of responding to complaints about areas well-known for public hook-ups.