The Special Operations Division is led by Division Chief Paul Azevedo and Assistant Chief Fiona Khalil.
The division is responsible for investigating and prosecuting a variety of complex matters. Some of them include crimes committed by elected and appointed government officials. Examples of such cases involve misuse of public funds, political corruption and violation of election laws. The division also investigates and prosecutes allegations of criminal wrongdoing by government employees and law enforcement officers. Special Operations investigates and prosecutes attorneys for crimes committed while acting in their professional capacity. Offenses committed against the justice system such as perjury and threatening a judicial officer are handled within this division as well. The unit also investigates and prosecutes hate crimes.
The Crimes Against Peace Officers (CAPO) Unit was formally established in late 2013. The unit oversees all cases in the county where officers were victimized as a result of their duties. The CAPO Unit is led by an experienced prosecutor and investigator. There are 15 prosecutors assigned to handle CAPO cases throughout the county. In 2015, there were 2,028 cases filed in the county which included charges resulting from crimes committed against peace officers.
Investigators who work with law enforcement agencies in Mexico and other countries are assigned to Special Operations. In addition, the division is responsible for background checks on potential employees and volunteers. In 2015 the unit completed 273 background checks.
Duties include the independent review of all officer-involved shootings, which the District Attorney’s Office has done since the mid-1970s. The purpose of the District Attorney’s review is to provide an impartial analysis of all shootings and other use of deadly force by peace officers, fatal and non-fatal. The neutral and objective review determines if peace officers in San Diego County acted lawfully when they made a decision to use deadly force. Upon completion of the District Attorney’s review, a letter summarizing the facts and statements of the deputy or officer and other witnesses is written and delivered to the respective law enforcement agency. In 2015 the division reviewed 18 officer-involved shootings.