The Bureau of Investigation is the law enforcement arm of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. It is made up of seven units, which include 130 District Attorney Investigators, 13 Process Servers, eight paralegals and 10 Investigative Technicians. The units include Training/Range/Subpoena Witness Coordination Center, Special Operations, the DA’s branch offices, Superior Court/Juvenile/Trial Support Services, Gangs/Cold Case Homicide, Family Protection/Sex Crimes/Human Trafficking/Child Abduction/Elder Abuse and Economic Crimes/Insurance Fraud.
Through the leadership of Chief Miguel Rosario, Assistant Chief Joseph Cargel, Deputy Chief Harold Eisenga and the dedicated efforts of its members, the Bureau of Investigation has earned the reputation of being a model investigative bureau throughout the State of California. The Bureau provides a wide range of skilled investigative services to support the District Attorney’s prosecutorial mission.
Accomplishments include handling more than 62,816 investigative tasks, executing 365 warrants and arresting 49 defendants. Additional achievements include:
Cases handled by the Gangs Division generally include gang-motivated crimes such as drive-by shootings, conflicts arising from gang territorial disputes and gang identification, including gang graffiti, hand signs, tattoos, colors, or language; and retaliation for prior gang-related activity, and cases involving witness/victim intimidation. In 2017, the Gang Prosecution Unit completed 6,208 investigative related service requests, served 43 search/arrest warrants, completed 16 extraditions and served 767 subpoenas. Investigators also conducted 136 prisoner transports, made 13 arrests, performed 102 interviews, wrote 209 reports and conducted 81 threat assessments of victims and witnesses. Over 2,500 hours were spent protecting and relocating victims and witnesses.
Family Protection/Child Abduction
The Bureau’s Child Abduction enforces and resolves all issues related to child custody disputes as mandated by the State of California and ordered by the Superior Court of California. Many cases involve children taken illegally by a custodial parent out of the local jurisdiction, state or country in violation of a court order. The Unit currently has one supervising investigator, two investigators and two paralegals. The Child Abduction Unit opened 86 investigations involving child custody violations in 2017. The unit was successful in recovering 64 children; 17 of those recoveries were Hague cases involving children being abducted from or taken to other countries. The unit tracked 3,049 violations on the Visitation Violation Reporting System, which is accessible via the District Attorney’s public website. The unit also directly handled more than 949 public contacts in regards to child custody issues.
San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force
This multi-agency task force continues to reduce incidents of human trafficking in San Diego County. The DA’s Office currently has two investigators and a Deputy DA assigned to the task force full time.
Juvenile crime is down from previous years and DA Investigators are continuing our commitment to crime prevention through our Speakers’ Bureau. Deputy DAs and DA Investigators provide educational outreach to schools throughout the county, speaking to students, parents and educators about cyber safety, teen dating violence, human trafficking and bullying. The Juvenile Division processed 2,839 criminal cases submitted for review, 1,390 felony petitions, 675 misdemeanor petitions, and 20 Welfare and Institution Code 707 Petitions.
Special Operations Division
Bureau investigators support the Special Operations Division, which 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 276 open investigations in 2017. 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 2017, the division reviewed 19 officer-involved shootings and one in-custody death.
Superior Court handles some of the most challenging cases in the office. The division’s Pretrial Unit conducted 2,179 investigative tasks in 2017.
Economic Crimes Division
Economic Crimes division conducts financial crime investigations in selected areas including white collar crimes and crimes against the environment. Investigators within the division handle cases related to complex fraud, consumer fraud, real estate fraud, and environmental crimes. Also encompassed within the division is a Computer and High Tech Criminal Investigation and Examination component which includes Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team (CATCH) and the Regional Computer Forensics Lab. Investigators managed 5,905 investigative tasks (search warrants, interviews, agency assists, subpoenas, etc.) related to economic crimes in 2017.
Insurance Fraud Division
The Insurance Fraud Division is dedicated preventing all forms of insurance fraud through proactive prosecution. This team handles investigations related to workers’ compensation fraud, disability healthcare insurance fraud, auto insurance fraud and life Insurance and annuity product financial abuse.
Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT)
The Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT) is a multi-agency task force that investigates and prosecutes professional auto thieves. In 2017, RATT conducted Operation “Kill Switch”, an eight month undercover operation targeting high volume auto thieves. A District Attorney Investigator was the lead undercover operative during this investigation. The operation resulted in 118 suspects charged in 60 cases and 73 stolen vehicles in excess of $1 million being recovered. Also recovered were seven firearms, body armor, military gear and narcotics.
Subpoena Witness Coordination Center
The Subpoena Witness Coordination Center (SWCC) has one bureau paralegal, 13 process servers, a process server supervisor, and two couriers who work throughout the DA’s Office. The center plays a major role in the Bureau’s success through its vital support to the investigators in serving subpoenas, picking up evidence and transporting witnesses to and from court. During 2017, SWCC served 6,155 subpoenas, conducted 572 witness/victim transports, 612 investigations (tracing and locating) and performed 426 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, one discovery clerk and 10 investigative technicians. This group works on various outreach programs and also assists the DA’s Communications Team in video production, photography and graphic design.
San Diego County Regional Leadership Institute
In 2017, the Bureau led the way in launching the Regional Leadership Institute, which offers current, relevant and accessible training to San Diego County law enforcement leaders. Due to the high level of collaboration with 23 local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the institute has been a huge success.
In 2017, the Bureau of Investigation continued its commitment to developing community partnerships. The Bureau of Investigation worked with community service clubs, local businesses and school districts to provide food and gifts for needy families and military families throughout the county during the holidays. Examples include Shop with a Cop and the Rady Children’s Hospital Teddy Bear drive. Additional community partnerships and outreach include:
- The Latino Police Officer’s Association Thanksgiving with the Youth
- Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- San Diego Pride Parade
Members of the Bureau of Investigation were given numerous awards in 2017, including:
Scottish Rite Law Enforcement Recognition Night
Deputy District Attorneys Association Investigator of the Year
Blue Knights Award, San Diego Crime Commission