A San Diego police sergeant was arrested Friday night, July 26, on a felony charge of soliciting a minor for sex, officials said Saturday.
Joseph Ruvido, 49, was arrested at 9 p.m. in Carmel Valley while off-duty, following a brief but exhaustive investigation.
“We had a member of this department do something that is reprehensible,” Police Chief David Nisleit said during a news conference.
The department received a tip from CrimeStoppers via the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on Wednesday, July 24, that identified people soliciting sex with minors. Ruvido, a 21-year veteran of the department, was identified as one of those individuals, officials said.
“From the moment we received this information, our department worked around the clock to ensure all allegations were fully investigated,” Nisleit said.
That included 24/7 surveillance of Ruvido with help from District Attorney’s Office investigators, said police Lt. Jud Campbell, whose Professional Standards Unit is heading the investigation.
Detectives served a search warrant at Ruvido’s home Friday night. Voter records in 2017 list his address at a condominium in Carmel Valley.
The precise charge he was arrested under accuses him of arranging a meeting with a minor — or someone believed to be a minor — for sexual purposes, and then showing up at the arranged place and time.
Police officials declined to reveal further details of the case, including whether the alleged crime involved an undercover sting or an actual minor.
“I really want to focus on how quickly we worked on this,” Nisleit said in response to several questions. “It’s important for the integrity of this investigation and that we can move forward with this prosecution that we keep those details at this time for the investigation.”
Police are investigating the possibility of additional victims and are seeking further information from the public.
“We are looking at everything,” Nisleit said.
For the past year Ruvido had been assigned to the watch commander’s office, a position that had him approving officer reports and jail bookings from a desk in the basement of police headquarters.
Before that he was a patrol sergeant in Eastern Division.
Bail was set at $100,000. Ruvido was no longer in custody as of Saturday afternoon, July 27, according to the sheriff’s jail website.
He did not respond to an email sent to his personal account seeking comment Saturday afternoon, July 27.
He has been suspended from duty without pay, the chief said.
Nisleit acknowledged such arrests “tarnish the badge of this department and this profession” but stressed the allegations don’t reflect the work the men and women of SDPD do every day.
“Police officers should and must be held to a higher standard, both on duty and off duty,” Nisleit said. “When an officer breaks that trust they must be held accountable.”
Anyone with further information can call the Professional Standards Unit at (619) 531-2480.
-- Kristina Davis is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune