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SDPD Units

Phone numbers for some these units can be found in the Headquarters Directory.

Unit Responsibilities
Air Support Unit
  • Provides air support to patrol operations in assigned areas.
  • Provides surveillance of persons engaged in criminal activities.
  • Flies photographic missions for gathering of evidence, planning, critiquing and surveying.
  • Provides aerial security for V.I.P. and foreign dignitaries.
  • Performs search and rescues involving downed aircraft and lost or stranded persons.
Armory - SWAT
  • Performs hostage rescues and responds to special weapons and tactics emergencies.
  • Serves high-risk warrants and does dignitary protection.
  • Provides fire control support.
  • Removes barricaded individuals.
  • Provides the counter-sniper capability.
  • Provides chemical agent support and special events.
Auto Theft Unit
  • Reduction and prevention of vehicle thefts.
  • Assists with the recovery of stolen vehicles and prosecution of those that steal vehicles.
Background Investigations
  • Conducts Personal History investigations on all applicants, i.e. recruits, reserves and more.
  • Insures P.O.S.T. employment inquiries from outside police agencies.
  • Maintains background files on all applicants.
Canine Unit
  • Conducts searches for wanted suspects.
  • Conducts searches for evidence or contraband such as narcotics or explosives.
  • Assist in felony-warrant service.
  • Supports Patrol, S.W.A.T., Narcotics Task Force, Narcotics Section and other units.
  • Utilizes dogs as an alternate use of force.
Child Abuse
  • Conducts criminal investigations of child abuse, sexual molestation, child neglect and child exploitation.
  • Develops Child Abuse Prevention Programs and cooperates with agencies providing preventative child-abuse services.
Cold Case Homicide Unit
  • Investigates unsolved homicide cases.
  • Answers primary emergency 911 calls originating within the City.
  • Serves as primary phone answering point for requests for police service from the public.
  • Dispatches officers when appropriate.
  • Refers or transfers calls to various departments or agencies.
Crime Analysis
  • Provides information and resources to support Community Policing, Problem Solving and the Department's strategic planning efforts.
  • Researches new developments and technology advancements to further Intelligence-Led Policing efforts.
  • Develops tools and analysis to suppress crime, apprehend criminals and improve safety.
  • Provides street level support to patrol officers to combat crime trends.
  • Provides analytical support to investigators to assist with suspect identification and apprehension.
  • Utilizes geographic information services (GIS) to support tactical and strategic efforts, targeting criminals and reductions in crime
Criminal Intelligence
  • Collects intelligence information relating to organized crime and investigation of specific prosecution-oriented investigations.
  • Coordinates with law enforcement officials of Mexico in the investigation of crimes.
  • Contacts representatives of labor and management on a meet-and-confer basis.
  • Maintains the computerized portion of the Informant System.
Crisis Intervention
  • Provides 24-hour call-out via Communications.
  • Provides immediate emotional and practical support to victims, witnesses and other survivors involved in current traumatic situations.
  • Notifies family, friends and clergy and helps arrange follow-up services.
Data Systems
  • Develops, installs and maintains the Department's computer systems and network.
Domestic Violence Unit
  • Assists with Emergency Protective Orders (EPOs) while officers are in the field.
  • Handles all domestic related crimes.
  • Responds to domestic violence cases as needed.

Elder and Dependent Abuse

  • Identify individuals who prey on senior and dependent adult citizens.
  • Seek prosecution of these perpetrators.
  • Develop good working relationships with the community and organizations.
Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO)
  • Investigates violations of equal employment policies and legislation.
  • Educates Department personnel on issues regarding job discriminations and E.E.O.
  • Serves as a liaison for employers and employees.
Family Justice Center
  • Assist with Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO).
  • Provide victim assistance including counseling for both adults and children, emergency shelter referrals and Victims of Crime Fund application help.
  • Military Liaison.
  • Dress For Success San Diego.
Field Training Officer Administration (FTO)
  • Coordinates probationary officer training for newly hired officers.
  • Assigns trainees to FTO's.
  • Counsels and disciplines trainees.
  • Supervises field training officers.
Financial Crimes
  • Investigation of criminal offenses involving forgeries, check cases, credit card offenses, fraudulent credit applications, bunco-fraud schemes, embezzlements, computer crimes, bigamy cases and elder fiduciary abuse cases.
Forensic Science
  • Analyzes physical evidence collected at crime scenes.
  • Identifies and investigates gang members and gang activity.
  • Maintains the Department's gang information files, and maintains liaison with nationwide agencies with similar responsibilities.
  • Assists patrol with gang information.
Harbor Patrol
  • Patrols the waters of Mission Bay Park and the adjoining parklands.
  • Investigates all boating accidents occurring on the Bay.
  • Assists Lifeguard Harbor Patrol in providing rescue and first aid services.
  • Conducts criminal investigations of homicides.
  • Conducts investigations of questionable suicides and deaths occurring under mysterious or unusual circumstances.
  • Conducts investigations of officer-involved shootings when an injury or death occurs.
  • Provides information and assistance to agencies in other jurisdictions regarding homicide investigations.
  • Investigates unsolved homicides (Homicide Evidence Assessment Team - HEAT).
Internal Affairs
  • Investigates complaints of employee misconduct.
  • Maintains files of complaints on sworn and non-sworn personnel.
  • Investigates officer-involved shootings.
  • Processes claims against the Department.
Juvenile Services
  • Coordinates the Intervention Program and monitors the Interagency Group.
  • Supervises the Runaway Program and coordinates follow-ups with area Juvenile Sergeants and Intervention Officers.
  • Maintains liaison with Probation, District Attorney (Juvenile), Juvenile Court, California Youth Authority, school administration, community-based agencies, and others.
  • Researches and develops delinquency prevention programs.
  • Develops, coordinates, and trains officers and supervisors involved in juvenile programs.
  • Conducts technical analysis of all forms of evidence.
  • Conducts narcotics, polygraph and alcohol analysis (drunk driver expert testimony).
  • Does document and fingerprint examination (Cal ID Computer Program).
  • Examines firearms for weapon ID, automatic weapons, silencers, DRUGFIRE, computer I.D. program, bullet matching and gunshot residue.
  • Uses forensic biology to analyze blood, semen, saliva, hair and D.N.A.
  • Examines trace evidence (hairs, fibers, arson, shoes/tires impressions and gunshot residues).
  • Collects evidence and reconstructs crime scenes.
  • Performs specialized photography (darkroom services).
  • Develops latent prints with chemicals, powders, lasers and photography.
  • Impounds narcotics.
Legal Advisors
  • Advises Administration on legal matters.
  • Reviews policies and procedures for legality.
  • Reviews discipline packages for conformance with Department policy and law.
  • Represents Administration in personal matters.
  • Reviews document requests and represents Department in court when necessary.
  • Represents Department in other court proceedings and before the City Council.
Metro Arson Strike Team (MAST)
  • Investigates suspicious fire and explosive incidents.
  • Investigates post blast investigations.
  • Investigate suspicious devices.
Media Relations
  • Monitors news coverage.
  • Trains the Academy sergeants and others in media relations.
  • Researches issues and writes speeches for the Chief.
  • Deals with the media and citizen complaints.
  • Focuses on illegal narcotic manufacturers, sale and possession, as well as organized crime and narcotic dealers.
Neighborhood Policing
  • Establishes and supports crime prevention programs.
  • Provides training for trainers, officers, supervisors, managers, other agencies and community members.
  • Plans and facilitates monthly Problem Solving meetings.
  • Provides resource development and networking to facilitate existing and proposed resources at all levels of city, county, state and federal government and with private and public agencies.
Permits & Licensing (Vice Administration)
  • Administers all laws related to police-regulated businesses such as firearms dealers, card rooms, adult entertainment, secondhand dealers, pawn shops and massage establishments.
  • Maintains the alarm permit system and investigates permit violations.
  • Maintains information on employment opportunities and personnel employment records.
  • Coordinates in-house selection interviews and hiring.
  • Issues badges and identifications cards.
  • Compiles Department personnel statistics and rosters.
Psychological Services
  • Conducts pre-employment psychological screening.
  • Provides confidential counseling and psychotherapy.
  • Consults management; coordinates special services and workshops.
  • Debriefs at S.W.A.T team call outs and other critical incidents
  • Conducts Peer Resource Support training.
  • Processes, enters data and maintains original files including arrest, crime, juvenile contacts, traffic accidents, citations, field interviews and other related documents.
  • Conducts Cal-ID fingerprint searches.
  • Updates law enforcement systems on stolen vehicles, missing persons, and wanted property.
  • Gives presentations on law enforcement careers to schools, colleges and community groups.
  • Attends career days and job fairs and conducts recruit officer orientations.
  • Conducts practical physical agility tests for applicants and does physical ability testing.
  • Develops advertisement campaigns which target women and people with color.
  • Establishes and maintains working relationship with Academy staff and the community.
  • Investigates commercial extortions and kidnaps for reward.
  • Investigates bank, commercial, residential, public transportation, and delivery persons or employees carrying or depositing commercial funds or property robberies.
  • Assists area stations with series investigations.
  • Provides surveillance and stakeout support for other units.
School Task Force
  • Provides enforcement of laws on and around secondary schools.
  • Serves as liaison with School Police and Administrators.
  • Provides an ongoing truancy enforcement program.
  • Works with City schools in drug prevention and gang enforcement programs.
  • Conducts classroom presentations on a variety of police related subjects.
Sex Crimes
  • Investigates felony sexual assaults involving victims 14 years of age and older, including cases with juvenile suspects.
  • Works with the District Attorney's Office and Victim Witness Assistance to assist victims in preparing for court appearances.
  • Cross-reports suspected cases of child abuse and works with the Department of Social Services when investigating cases that include protective issues.
  • Acts as a liaison with physicians and nurse examiners at contract hospitals providing forensic examinations.
  • Coordinates the Sexual Assault Speakers Bureau, which gives presentations on the Sexual Assault Response Team and sexual assault prevention to community service groups, military personnel, high school, college and university students.
  • Works with the Department of Justice to register, track and monitor the 2800 sex offenders living in the City of San Diego.
Special Investigations
  • Identifies, surveils, and apprehends series criminals.
  • Identifies and recovers stolen property.
  • Develops and maintains reliable sources of information.
  • Provides assistance to other units and other law enforcement agencies.
SWAT/SRT (Special Response Team)
  • Provides high-risk warrant service, dignitary/witness protection and special tactics training programs for Department personnel.
  • Provides fire control, chemical agent support and counter-sniper capability.
  • Removes barricaded individual and performs hostage-rescue operations.
  • Administers and oversees the Primary Response Team program.
  • Serves the entire City and is comprised of the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Unit (AVA), the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Motors Unit, Parking Enforcement and the Traffic Investigations Unit (TIU).
Vice Operations
  • Enforces prostitution laws by conducting investigations and making arrests relating to the activities of prostitutes and pimps both on the street and operations under the guise of modeling, massage and escort services.
  • Conducts regular inspections and takes enforcement action at bars, liquor stores and all other establishments licensed by Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).
  • Screens new liquor license applications to ABC and evaluates the potential impact of such licenses on the community; conducts training for ABC-licensed businesses to help their employees recognize false ID's and detect other violations.
  • Enforces gambling laws by investigating illegal horse race and sports betting, card and dice games, slot machines as well as rigged gaming devices, bingo games and casino nights.
  • Investigates organized cock fights, dog fights, and other violations of animal gaming laws.
  • Investigates organized cock fights, dog fights and other violations of animal gaming laws. Conducts regular inspections of police-regulated businesses such as card rooms, cabarets, pool halls, peep booths and nude entertainment establishments.

If you have additional questions about San Diego Police Department Recruiting, see the Frequently Asked Questions, call 619-531-COPS (2677) or email

If you have an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

To access 9-1-1 from a cell phone or outside San Diego, dial 619-531-2065.

For 24-hour non-emergencies, dial 619-531-2000 or 858-484-3154.