Assistant Sheriff Jim Cooke
Law Enforcement Services Bureau

The Law Enforcement Services Bureau serves nearly 900,000 individuals who live in the county’s unincorporated communities or in one of the nine contract cities which contract our services. The bureau also coordinates and oversees many regional services, including our Crime Lab, Aviation Unit, Bomb-Arson Unit, and Search and Rescue Unit. The budget for fiscal year 2008-09 is $188,927,981. Some highlights from the past year include:

East County Regional Gang Task Force:

  • The mission of the East County Regional Gang Task Force (ECRGTF) is to jointly identify, disrupt and dismantle existing and emerging violent criminal enterprises operating in eastern and southern San Diego County.

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has joined the East County Regional Gang Task Force (ECRGTF) as part of a Safe Streets Initiative Task Force, targeting criminal activity related to drug and weapons trafficking, homicides, and all other related violent crimes associated with the street gangs and other violent criminal enterprises.

  • The Safe Streets Task Force concept expands cooperation and communication among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, increasing productivity and avoiding duplication of investigative efforts.

  • These task forces pursue violent gangs through sustained, proactive, coordinated investigations to obtain prosecutions under the U.S. Code, Titles 18 and 21, including violations such as racketeering, drug conspiracy, and firearms violations.

  • The ECRGTF received a Project Safe Neighborhoods grant and has implemented gun buy and sweep operations to reduce violence in San Diego County.

Crime Analysis Unit

  • The Crime Analysis Unit leveraged the new NetRMS records system to increase the timeliness of crime data for decision making from three weeks to three days. Analysis reports now improve operational decisions with data that not only describe current crimes and arrests, but will forecast "red flag" issues two weeks in advance. Those flagged issues are those that show a marked increase over previous trends and allow for command decisions to deploy resources for positive effect.

  • Traffic issues are a consistent concern across our communities. Without additional cost, Crime Analysis created, and then improved, a monthly map-based report that focuses on those locations in each of our contract cities where repeat collisions occur. The report also demonstrates the alignment between where those collisions occur and enforcement action is taken.

  • Project TKO, "Tracking Known Offenders," was launched by the Crime Analysis Unit to bring a focus on known offenders using existing technology and available data. Computer mapping is used to evaluate current crime locations with addresses known to be used by parolees, probationers, registrants, and other known criminals. Collaboration with Probation and Parole is a key component of this initiative. Under Project TKO, Crime Analyst capabilities have grown with training and access to Parole's GPS sex offender tracking system.

Law Enforcement Coordination Center:

  • The long-awaited Law Enforcement Coordination Center (LECC) opened in 2008. The LECC is an information and intelligence “fusion center” involving every level and discipline of government including federal, state, local, and tribal authorities.

  • The three core components are:
    • The Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) led by the FBI.
    • The Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center- coordinated by the Sheriff’s Department.
    • The Criminal Intelligence Teams consisting of the Narcotics Team, Gang Team, Border and Financial Crimes Team and the Organized Crime Team.

  • The LECC collects information using an “All Crimes” approach. The information is then analyzed and converted into “actionable intelligence” which is then disseminated to the appropriate partners. The result is an enhanced ability to prevent terrorist attacks and to combat traditional crime.

  • The LECC provides an effective and efficient mechanism to exchange information and intelligence, maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve the ability of law enforcement to fight crime and terrorism.

  • Simply put, the LECC brings local, state, federal and tribal partners together to help ensure public safety by preventing and combating both traditional crime and terrorist threats.

License & Registration Division:

This division handles the regulatory licensing and enforcement of 32 police regulated businesses and occupations including the licensing of all concealed weapon licenses for the entire county. This division is also responsible for the registering of convicted criminal offenders e.g., sex offenders, narcotic offenders, arsonists, and registered gang members.

Graffiti Tracker:

  • Graffiti, gang activity and property vandalism is an ongoing problem in many communities. Graffiti is a blight on our communities and sends the message that criminal activity is tolerated.

  • The Sheriff’s Department has contracted with Graffiti Tracker to combat graffiti in all nine contract cities and the unincorporated areas of the County. Graffiti Tracker is a private company with a proven record of success in significantly reducing graffiti in the communities it serves.

  • Graffiti Tracker utilizes GPS enabled cameras to record graffiti vandalism. The photos are uploaded to an Internet-based website and then analyzed by experts.

  • Graffiti Tracker is a web-based analysis and intelligence sharing service. The information will be shared countywide with all law enforcement agencies to enhance identification and prosecution wherever the vandalism occurs.

  • Graffiti Tracker provides analysis on both tagger vandalism and gang graffiti. The information on gang activity allows law enforcement to be proactive in combating gang violence and other unlawful actions.

  • Escondido and Oceanside currently utilize Graffiti Tracker. The District Attorney’s Office has many successful prosecutions based on the system and strongly supports Graffiti Tracker.

  • The Sheriff’s Department’s use of Graffiti Tracker will increase the coverage throughout the region and help move one step closer to the goal of having all law enforcement adopt a standardized approach to combating graffiti in San Diego County.

  • In communities throughout the area where Graffiti Tracker is employed, there have been significant reductions in graffiti vandalism, reduced costs in painting over the vandalism, enhanced convictions of offenders and significant increases in restitution orders.

  • Graffiti vandalism will no longer be tolerated and offenders will be identified, arrested, prosecuted and forced to pay restitution upon conviction.

  • The introduction of a countywide program to combat graffiti will enhance the quality of life in our communities and make for safe and livable neighborhoods.

San Diego Sheriff’s Regional Crime Laboratory:

The Board of Supervisors has made a major investment in forensic science in San Diego County.
  • The Board has funded a partnership between our Sheriff’s Crime Lab and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) to track and solve crimes committed with guns throughout the San Diego region. The Crime Lab now has in place IBIS (the Integrated Ballistic Information System). IBIS allows forensic professionals at the lab to enter firearms’ casings and bullets from crime scenes into its system to see if the firearms’ evidence connects to other crimes. Originally, the department initiated this program with federal grant money. However, we’ve been able to keep it going and it’s paying off: our lab professionals enter over 95 cases a month in the system and then report back to investigators when the same gun was used in another crime.

  • This technology has been particularly effective in targeting gang crimes and is being used regularly by investigators with the East County Regional Gang Task Force (ECRGTF) and North County Regional Gang Task Force (NCRGTF).

    • Mexican Mafia. A Mexican mafia hit man shot an East Side gang member but there was nothing to link him to the crime until the Lab using IBIS connected a shell casing found in his attic to the shell casing from the shooting scene. The North County Regional Gang Task Force put the case together and the suspect was convicted and is currently incarcerated.

    • Deep Valley Bloods. Forensic professionals, using IBIS, were able to link an armed robbery series committed in 2004 and 2005 and connect them to the Deep Valley Bloods (a gang that operates around Camp Pendleton). In more than one crime, shots were fired at robbery victims. This enabled the lab to connect the shootings to guns and ultimately to suspects who were arrested and behind bars.

    • Skyline Piru. In 2006 police began an investigation of a home invasion robbery of a family in Chula Vista. One suspect shot and stabbed the husband in front of the wife and daughter. With IBIS technology investigators were able to identify a Skyline Piru gangster as the shooter. He was prosecuted and convicted.

DNA Analysis at the San Diego County Sheriff's Crime LabSan Diego County has also launched a first-of-its-kind effort in California. The Board authorized our department to create a Rapid Response DNA Team. DNA evidence has been very effective in solving serious, violent crime: homicides and sex crimes. More recently, we have proposed a major new deployment of DNA technology: to target street crimes—robberies and burglaries and auto thefts. The Board of Supervisors authorized creating a new team of DNA criminalists at the Crime Lab to do just that. The Lab is still hiring and training some of the team, but already this year over 200 criminals were identified through cold DNA hits—meaning there was no suspect but DNA identified who they were from a database of known criminals. This is an effort that will directly translate into safer and more livable neighborhoods.

In 2008, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department applied for, and received several grants. As noted below, these funds were applied to several important programs, with significant results.

Avoid Grant:

In October 2008, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department was awarded a $1.1 million Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) Grant to provide DUI enforcement throughout the County of San Diego. This funding provides money to the local law enforcement agencies to conduct enforcement operations to target DUI offenders. Unfortunately due to a delay with OTS, the MOA's have not yet been completed and multi-agency operations have been delayed. The Sheriff's Department has completed in house only operations at this time (Ocotillo Wells and two saturation patrols). It is anticipated that Avoid Grant operations with our law enforcement partners will commence within the next month.

Stonegarden Grant:

  • In the fall of 2008, San Diego County received 5.5 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Operation Stonegarden Grant Program.

  • The Sheriff’s Department is the fiduciary agent and the grant administrator.

  • However, Operation Stonegarden is a true regional effort with federal, state and local law enforcement working together to maximize our resources and optimize the results.

  • The Stonegarden Grant’s focus is crime prevention, detection and suppression in areas impacted along the Mexico, U.S. border.

  • Stonegarden does provide additional resources to local law enforcement so they can more effectively prevent and suppress border-related crimes.

  • The focus is on reducing border-related crimes and on helping secure our borders by a strong, visible, proactive presence in local communities impacted by the border.

  • In the first twelve weeks of the grant, over 2,112 traffic stops were conducted, 843 citations were written, 73 arrests were made, 16 seizures of contraband, mostly illegal drugs, occurred and nearly $50,000 were seized.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grant:

The Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grant in the amount of $983,723, funded through the U.S. Department of Justice Program's Bureau of Justice Assistance, was awarded to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department in October of 2007.
  • Byrne Grants are designed to help local communities improve the capacity of local justice systems. The primary goal for this funding was to enhance communication and coordination of multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional partnerships and to target and reduce violent crime and gang violence in the North San Diego County area.

  • The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, through the Vista Station is the lead agency and fiscal agent for the program. The police departments of Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Escondido have all committed to participating in this initiative. In addition, the California Highway Patrol, the Probation Department, County of San Diego Child Welfare Services, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and the District Attorney’s Office have been active participants. The federal partners are the U. S. Attorney’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • The enhancement of communications and coordination of this multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional partnership has exceeded all expectations. Perceived jurisdictional boundaries have essentially been lifted and partnering agency personnel now feel more comfortable contacting each other directly to share information openly and in a timely manner.

  • There has been an increase in the latest information technology available to frontline officers. Specifically, law enforcement partners received the Byrne Grant funded hand-held PCs and participated in training on their use. These hand-held PCs have been utilized during operations to increase sharing of information. They have also been helpful in non-Byrne Grant field patrols.

  • The grant funding pays for a minimum of twenty-four suppression operations targeting violent and gang-related crime. Each month partnering law enforcement agencies provide cooperative support for suppression actions in one or two cities. Each city will receive two operations over the twelve month period.

Human Trafficking Grant:

During the last year, the San Diego Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force has investigated 130 incidents of trafficking. These investigations have revealed 140 victims, or potential victims of trafficking. Of these 140, 22 were minors. A potential victim is defined as a person who has been exploited in the past (either adult or minor) and claims to be working independently. All of these victims and potential victims were provided various services to assist them in escaping the crime of human trafficking/sexual exploitation. Additionally, 55 human trafficking suspects were identified and investigated. A total of 13 have been arrested and formally charged.
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