SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. -- The Spotsylvania County sheriff in Virginia has suspended the practice of allowing detectives to receive sexual services while investigating suspected prostitution.

Sheriff Howard Smith defended the practice this week. But he said in a statement Friday that he suspended the policy "because of the public's express response."

Smith told The Washington Post this week that sexual contact was necessary to obtain a conviction. He had said that stood by the practice, but limited the work to unmarried detectives. He also said the practice was not new.

The sheriff said detectives spent $1,200 during four visits last month to a massage parlor. He said multiple visits were necessary so detectives could build trust with the operators. One detective left a $350 tip.

Detectives shut down Moon Spa last month, and charges were filed against five people.

Spotsylvania Commonwealth's Attorney William Neely said he respects Smith's decision to end the practice, but refused to apologize for the officers' tactics.

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I bet these guys were volunteering for overtime.