Although UCFPD Detective Rick Salcedo is technically retired, he continues to share his expertise on sex crimes, which recently earned him an international honor.
Salcedo, who spent 26 years at the Orlando Police Department (OPD) before retiring and joining the UCF Police Department (UCFPD) in 2016, has spent the majority of his career investigating sex crimes.
With decades of expertise, he has presented case studies at conferences around the country. His most recent presentation submission earned him the coveted Champion of Change award from End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI).
According the EVAWI’s website, a “Champion of Change” is someone whose commitment and tireless dedication have improved system-level responses to gender-based violence, helps support survivors and hold offenders accountable, and mentors the next generation of reformers and leaders.
His calling to this field is personal. He says one of his family members was sexually assaulted when she was a child. When she disclosed the sexual abuse to her parents and they reported it, nothing was done. This affected her throughout her adult life and inspired Salcedo to pursue a career in law enforcement specializing in these types of cases.
“I want to seek justice for survivors of sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable,” says Salcedo. “When someone reports they were sexually assaulted, I want to make sure they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. I do my best in every investigation to treat survivors how I would like my family, friends and acquaintances to be treated.”
Of his 32 years in law enforcement, 17 of them were spent in OPD’s Special Victims Unit, where he created the Special Victims Response Team, a group of 32 volunteer patrol officers and first responders who respond to sex crimes and child abuse cases.
Salcedo’s nomination from EVAWI called him a visionary changemaker and a valued community member. “With his passion and tireless dedication, he has helped to ensure law enforcement has the training and skills needed to respond compassionately and effectively when survivors seek help,” read his nomination from EVAWI.
Since he joined UCFPD, when he is not working a case, he is teaching current and future law enforcement officers how to respond to and investigate sex crimes with an attitude that starts with listening and compassion.
“Most cops retire and either hang it up or pass the time working a retirement gig, but Rick is the real deal,” says Detective Bianca Becker, Salcedo’s protégé at UCFPD. “Even after a full career, he still cares about victims and puts in the work. He’s still helping run the Sexual Assault Response Team, training detectives and officers how to handle sexual battery investigations, and he’s training me in ICAC, or Internet Crimes Against Children.”
UCF Police Chief Carl Metzger ’03MS worked with Salcedo during his tenure at OPD and knew that his knowledge and expertise would greatly benefit the UCF community.
“I reached out to Rick to ask if he’d be interested in joining UCFPD, and I told him I wanted two things,” says Metzger. “The first was to train all of our patrol officers to respond to sexual assault calls for service — the right questions to ask, evidence to collect, etc. Second, I wanted him to make our investigative team the best in Central Florida and beyond by providing ongoing coaching, mentoring and training.”
Salcedo has done just that.
Since 2016, he has worked several cases while also training countless officers and detectives on how to respond effectively and compassionately to sex crimes calls for service. When he is not working cases or teaching, he is answering phone calls from former students or police officers from other agencies who need his help or want to pick his brain about their cases.
Salcedo also is a certified instructor with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and is considered a subject matter expert in sex crimes investigations. He teaches Advanced Sex Crimes Investigations, Child Sex Crimes Investigations and Hostage Negotiations courses at Valencia College’s School of Public Safety, Eastern State College’s Public Safety Institute and the Daytona School of Emergency Services.
“He’s a rockstar. He jumps in wherever he can help, whether it’s mentoring new detectives, offering community trainings, or trimming trees at the Victim Service Center,” says JoEllen Revell, program director for the Victim Service Center of Central Florida. “Everyone knows he’s someone you can count on.”