Bureau of Investigation
The Bureau of Investigation is the law enforcement component of the District Attorney's Office. The Bureau's 116 District Attorney Investigators (DAIs), 47 Public Assistance Fraud Investigators (PAFIs), 13 process servers, 11 paralegals, and nine technicians are assigned to eight divisions in the DA's Office. Under the direction of Chief Paula Robinson, Assistant Chief Carlos Gonzalez, and Deputy Chief Butch Etheridge, the Bureau of Investigation continued to be aggressive in efforts to support the prosecutorial mission.
In 2012, Bureau investigators handled more than 7,000 investigative service requests. Those requests resulted in, among other things, the execution of 427 search warrants and the arrests of 131 defendants. Additional results include:
- 455 surveillance operations
- 28 witness protection operations
- 31 Extraditions
- 10,274 served subpoenas
The Bureau's Child Abduction Unit (CAU) conducted 132 investigations involving child custody violations and was successful in recovering 55 abducted children from around the country. In addition, the CAU was involved in 11 Hague cases involving children being abducted from or taken to other countries including, Mexico, Sweden and Australia. In 2012, the CAU Visitation Reporting System, which is accessible via the DA's website, handled 2,871 violations reported on this site to date. The CAU staff also directly handled more than 500 public contacts during the year.
In 2012, Bureau investigators were involved in the investigation of 19 officer-involved shootings. The first seven months saw very few incidents; however the number of officer-involved-shootings spiked in September, October, November and December with 13 incidents during those four months.
Awards to the Bureau and its DAIs during the year included:
- DAI F. Ramirez, San Diego Police Officers Association "Officer of the Year"
- DAI J.C. Smith, Crime Stoppers Award
- DAI M. Mercado, Blue Knights Award, San Diego Crime Commission
- DAI L. Ogle, Officer of the Year Award, El Cajon Elks Club
- DAI P. Sowers, San Diego Padres Officer of Year
- DAI K. Brown, Scottish Rite Officer of Year
- DAI M. Mercado, Deputy District Attorneys Association Investigator of Year
- DAI L. Rudisell, North County Chamber of Commerce
- DAI C. Pierce, North County Chamber of Commerce
Public Assistance Fraud
The Bureau's Public Assistance Fraud (PAF) Division handled more than 26,000 cases in the anti-fraud unit. This resulted in an annual savings of $5.5 million with a projected savings of $79.5 million since 2001. The full field units, which include investigative support for child care and the in-home supportive services program (IHSS), closed 514 investigations and identified overpayments totaling $1.5 million. Of those, 113 were referred for administrative collections and 110 were referred for prosecution. The division's paralegals responded to 7,478 Child Protective Services requests for criminal history checks prior to placement. They also reviewed and closed 5,327 requests in response to the Fleeing Felon program and the nationwide prisoner and deceased person matches. PAF staff also responded to 2,491 'Hotline' referrals from citizens.
The Bureau's Paralegal Program continued to grow and improve over 2012 and four additional paralegals were added to the staff. As each division continues to identify division-specific tasks that bureau paralegal can assist with, the need for more paralegals has increased. New tasks added in 2012 include:
- Investigative misidentification cases
- Assisting with other assignments
- Conducting computer inquiries
- Conducting interviews and writing reports on various cases
- Conducting cell phone 'celebrite' analysis
Subpoena Witness Coordination Center
In 2012, the Subpoena Witness Coordination Center continued to play a major part in the Bureau of Investigation's success through providing vital support to investigators. It was created three years ago in an effort to more efficiently manage Process Server resources. The model has worked so well that the traditional role of the process server has expanded beyond just serving subpoenas. Now they pick up non-original evidence and transport witnesses to court when appropriate. Previously, these functions were performed almost exclusively by investigators. Process Servers have also been cross trained with couriers ensuring continued operations should a courier be out on extended leave.