Operations Bureau Divisions


The Patrol Division provides 24-hour emergency and non-emergency services to the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County. Sheriff’s Deputies are assigned to one of two patrol teams: A or B and work day shift, swing shift or night shift to provide services to 11 specific areas within the county.

Canine Team

The canine team consists of a lieutenant, a sergeant, and two deputies who both handle Labrador Retriever's.


The Investigations Division investigates major crimes that require advanced training, technical skills, specialized resources and close coordination with other agencies.

Person Crimes Unit

This unit is responsible for investigating homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, domestic violence and physical elder abuse cases. They also perform in-depth reviews of mental health detentions.

Property Crimes Unit

This unit is responsible for investigating residential and commercial burglaries, identity theft and financial crimes against the elderly.

Sexual Assault Crimes Unit

This unit is responsible for investigating cases including sexual assault allegations involving children and adults, physical child abuse, sex offender registration compliance and missing persons.

Special Enforcement Team

The Special Enforcement Team investigates drug sales and butane honey oil operations.

Coroner and Pathology

This unit conducts legally required medicolegal investigations to determine cause and manner of death. The Coroner Unit is comprised of a forensic pathologist, a sergeant, three detectives and a coroner forensic technician.


The Community Policing Division provides long-term solutions to identify and alleviate the causes of crime and issues affecting citizens’ sense of security in Santa Cruz County. The Sheriff’s Office has long believed that community policing should play a large part in our law enforcement model. The belief grew with the implementation of the 21st Century Policing model. We have four Service Centers and two Substations located within the communities we serve.

Alcohol Compliance Program

The Alcohol Compliance Officer ensures alcoholic beverage retailers follow state law and county regulations by conducting compliance inspections at businesses selling or serving alcohol, investigating sales of alcohol to minors, intoxicated persons or habitual drunkards, proxy alcohol purchase for minors and educating retailers about underage drinking, sales to minors, local licensing standards and requirements.

Tobacco Prevention Program

The Tobacco Compliance Officer reduces youth access to tobacco products by performing weekly compliance checks on tobacco licensees, issuing penalties to licensees in non-compliance of state laws, partnering with local schools to provide tobacco awareness, education and enforcement and hosting compliance seminars for tobacco retailers.

Cannabis Compliance Unit

The Cannabis Compliance Unit works closely with the County Cannabis Licensing Manager to reduce and eradicate non-regulated cannabis cultivation.

Cabrillo College

The goal of the Sheriff’s Office is to be united with Cabrillo Community College to make the campus a place where all people can attend safely and without fear. The Cabrillo Governing Board contracts with the Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement services at both the Aptos and Watsonville Campuses.


Air Support Unit

The Air Support Unit responds to public safety events which would benefit from aerial overhead surveillance and real time video streaming using a fixed-wing airplane.

Bomb Team

The Bomb Team responds to and renders safe explosive devices.

Crisis Negotiation Team

The Crisis Negotiation Team engages in emergency communications during crisis events to safely resolve dangerous situations.

Peer Support

The Peer Support Team responds to assist employees involved in critical incidents or who are going through personal crises by providing emotional support.

Special Weapons and Tactics

SWAT responds to critical incidents that exceed the capabilities of first responders.