Special Investigations Bureau
The Special Investigation Bureau is comprised of multiple units tasked with initiating investigations in various specialized fields requiring specialty trained investigators using unique and specialized equipment, investigative, and surveillance techniques. These units are grouped together in one bureau so that all the investigators act as a force multiplier and assist each other in these investigations. The Special Investigation Bureau operates within the entire County of Santa Barbara, working with all the law enforcement agencies within the County.
The Special Investigation Bureau is comprised of the following units:
The Narcotics Unit is a county wide unit comprised of five investigators and one Sergeant. The unit is responsible for investigating individuals and groups involved in the manufacturing, trafficking, and distribution of narcotics in violation of State Health and Safety Codes. Due to their specialty in investigative and surveillance techniques, the unit is often times requested to assist other investigative units within the Sheriff’s Office and other county law enforcement agencies with homicide investigations or other serious crimes. With the loss of funding within the Sheriff’s Office budget in July of 2017, the Narcotic Investigators have taken on the collateral assignment of Gang Investigators to address any gang related problems throughout the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office.
Organized Crime / Homeland Security Unit
The Organized Crime and Homeland Security Unit is comprised of two Investigators. The Unit is responsible for investigating, documenting and assisting in the prosecution of all vice and organized crime related activity occurring within our jurisdiction. As Intelligence Officers, Investigators are responsible for collecting, evaluating, and disseminating information, concerning terrorism and local actions, which may impact the County of Santa Barbara. Investigators evaluate various possible threats within the county, and provide recommendations based on their investigation. Information gathered then assists department staff in making judgements necessary to counter crime in Santa Barbara County. The unit is also responsible for maintaining liaison with other law enforcement organizations, including Federal partners, community leaders, and Sheriff’s Office staff. Detectives also work directly with protection teams for dignitaries who visit the Santa Barbara area.
Human Trafficking Unit
In late 2016, the Sheriff’s Office, along with the District Attorney’s Office, received a federal grant to combat Human Trafficking. Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County is not immune from the problems involving Human Trafficking. This three year grant has funded a dedicated Investigator to investigate Human Trafficking in the areas of both sex and labor trafficking. In addition to conducting Human Trafficking investigations, the Investigator assigned to the unit is responsible for educational outreach to various businesses that tend to attract the trafficking of people and to the general community as a whole. The Investigator additionally works with the District Attorney’s Office Victim Services Unit to help facilitate trained victim support to ensure people victimized by human trafficking receive as much help as they can get to remove them from this abusive lifestyle and away from the traffickers. Additionally the Investigator works with other entities to try to identify troubled youths, who could fall prey to traffickers. Since Human Trafficking investigations can be very involved and require numerous resources, all the other units within the Special Investigations Bureau assist with these investigations.
High Tech Crimes Unit
The High Tech Crimes Unit is comprised of two Investigators who specialize in the technological advances in the area of computers and cellular phones. Unfortunately as people use computers and cellular phones more and more for everyday life, people who commit crimes use and possess these devices as they commit their crimes. As they commit these crimes, important evidence can be obtained from these devices. The Investigators of the High Tech Crimes unit possess special skills and stay current with the latest technology to be able to extract this information from the devices to assist other investigators in obtaining the evidence needed to bring these violators to justice. The investigators provide this support service to all units of the Sheriff’s Office and outside agencies within and outside the county.
Compliance Response Team
The passage of Assembly Bill 109, also know as the Public Safety Realignment, brought the formation of the Compliance Response Team (CRT). The team is comprised of a Sheriff’s Sergeant, two Deputy Sheriffs, one Lompoc PD Officer, and three Senior Deputy Probation Officers. With the passage of the law, certain state prison inmates and state prison parolees were transferred from state supervision to county supervision. The Compliance Response Team was formed to ensure community safety by conducting compliance checks and routine monitoring of these felons who were transferred to county supervision. When these felons, fall out of compliance and a warrant is issued for their arrests, the Compliance Response Team attempts to apprehend them to attempt to get them back into compliance. The team is responsible for contacting and some times transporting these individuals to various services when needed, in an attempt to ensure these individuals have the best opportunity to reintegrate back into the community after being released from custody. The team attempts to keep close contact with the more high risk individuals to ensure compliance of their release terms.