The Bureau of Investigation is the law enforcement arm of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. It is made up of eight divisions, which include 121 District Attorney Investigators, 16 Process Servers, 11 Paralegals and 10 Investigative Technicians.
Through the creative, focused and forward-thinking leadership of Chief Miguel Rosario and Assistant Chief Diane Snyder, and the dedicated efforts of investigators, the bureau has earned the reputation of being a model in the state of California. The bureau provides a wide range of skilled investigative services to support the District Attorney’s prosecutorial mission. During its annual recruitment, the Bureau of Investigation received more than 100 applications for nine positions.
Accomplishments include handling more than 70,745 investigative tasks, executing 364 warrants and arresting 76 defendants. Additional achievements include:
Investigators of the Economic Fraud division were involved in a joint investigation involving the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI. The investigation, named Operation Backlash, was directed at identifying and investigating attorneys, medical doctors, chiropractors, and marketers who were involved in an elaborate and widespread insurance fraud and kickback scheme in which patients were bought and sold as commodities. It is the largest workers’ compensation provider fraud case ever prosecuted in the history of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office. As a result of this investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office indicted 21 defendants on charges involving about $450,000 in kickback payments, resulting in millions of dollars in fraudulent workers’ compensation insurance claims.
The Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT), in conjunction with local law enforcement, conducted an investigation called Operation Kwik Boost, to draw out and identify criminals who were dealing in stolen vehicles. Law enforcement officers from RATT would purchase stolen vehicles directly from defendants. Some of the auto thieves were also involved in identity theft and insurance fraud. During the crackdown, undercover officers purchased stolen cars, drugs and weapons at locations throughout San Diego County. Evidence seized during the operation includes 115 stolen cars valued at $1.3 million, 35 firearms and a miscellaneous amount of narcotics. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office obtained 45 grand jury indictments as a result of this undercover operation.
Special Operations Division
The division investigates cases involving misuse of public funds; political corruption; hate crimes; threats and other crimes impacting the integrity of the justice system such as perjury, filing falsified documents, criminal misconduct of government officials, including peace officers and other public employees. In all, the division had 266 open investigations in 2016. The Special Operations Division also reviews officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. The purpose of the District Attorney’s review is to provide an independent review of all shootings and other use of deadly force, fatal and non-fatal, to assure the public that peace officers in San Diego County are performing their duties in a legally-justified manner. During 2016, the division reviewed 17 officer-involved shootings and three in-custody deaths.
Cases handled by the Gangs Division generally include gang-motivated crimes such as drive-by shootings, conflicts arising from gang graffiti, displaying the wrong colors in gang neighborhoods, verbal or hand sign challenges, retaliation for prior gang-related activity, and cases involving witness/victim intimidation.
In 2016, the Gang Prosecution Unit completed 7,193 investigative related service requests, served 34 search/arrest warrants, completed seven extraditions, made 23 arrests, performed 179 interviews, conducted 46 threat assessments of victims and witnesses, and managed 231 tasks involving victim/witness protection and relocation.
The Bureau’s Child Abduction Unit opened 78 investigations involving child custody violations. The unit was successful in recovering 34 abducted children from around the world. Out of those recoveries, the unit investigated 11 Hague cases involving children being abducted from or taken to other countries.
The unit tracked 2,344 violations on the Visitation Reporting System, which is accessible via the District Attorney’s public website. The unit also directly handled more than 845 public contacts in regards to child custody issues.
San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force
The purpose of the task force is to reduce incidents of human trafficking in San Diego County, support victims and hold traffickers accountable for their crimes. The DA’s Office currently has two investigators and a Deputy DA assigned to the task force full time.
The bureau paralegal program continues to be an extremely valuable asset. Paralegals assist investigators on tasks including:
- Investigating misidentification cases
- Conducting new employee background investigations
- Conducting computer inquiries
- Conducting interviews and writing reports
- Witness management
Subpoena Witness Coordination Center
The Subpoena Witness Coordination Center has a bureau paralegal, 15 process servers, a process server supervisor, and two couriers who work throughout the DA’s Office. The Subpoena Witness Coordination Center plays a major role in the bureau’s success through its vital support to the investigators in serving subpoenas, picking up non-original evidence and transporting witnesses to and from court. During 2016, the center served 4,055 subpoenas, conducted 455 witness/victim transports and performed 699 additional duties.
Trial Support Services
The Trial Support Services team provides high-tech courtroom support to prosecutors. Their work includes cutting-edge graphic design, professional audio and visual work and fingerprint identification capability. Their mission is to provide effective and timely mixed-media courtroom assistance, which helps in presenting facts and evidence during trials. The department is made up of one supervisor, a discovery clerk and 10 investigative technicians. This group works on various outreach programs and assists the DA’s Communications Team in video production and graphic design.
In 2016, the Bureau of Investigation continued its commitment of developing community partnerships. The Bureau of Investigations worked with community service clubs, local businesses and school districts to adopt and provide food and gifts for needy families throughout the county during the holidays. Examples include Shop with a Cop and the Children’s Hospital Teddy Bear drive.
Additional community partnerships include:
- The Latino Police Officer’s Association Thanksgiving with the Youth
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- San Diego Pride Parade
- Distributed gifts and food to military families during the holiday season
Members of the Bureau of Investigation were given numerous awards in 2016, including:
Scottish Rite Law Enforcement Recognition Night
Deputy District Attorneys Association Investigator of the Year