Court Services Bureau

The Sheriff’s Court Services Bureau provides judicial and courthouse security for the third largest court system in the United States. San Diego Superior Court’s 1,445 employees, including 130 judges and 24 commissioners, work in the court system’s ten court facilities. The system managed more than 600,000 criminal and civil filings last year.

The bureau has 367 full-time employees and a $44,955,722 budget. More than 280 of these employees and $32,083,809 of the bureau’s budget is derived from a contract between the Sheriff’s Department and the Superior Court for courthouse and judicial security and make this the largest contract managed by the Sheriff’s Department.

The bureau’s courthouse screening stations vetted 4,327,368 visitors and examined more than 4.5 million items. Notably, 37,000 potential weapons were not allowed into San Diego’s courthouses thanks to the vigilant scrutiny of these screeners. The bureau is constantly evaluating its courthouse security procedures and policies, thereby allowing the bureau to provide a safe environment that enables the judicial system to serve the community effectively.

Last year, the bureau’s Investigative Unit reviewed:

  • 28 judicial threats;
  • 2,854 criminal cases; and,
  • 1,096 Grand jury and contract employee background investigations

The unit also works with the United States Department of Justice in identifying judicial threat subjects who were attempting to purchase firearms. The Extradition Unit processed 701 extradition cases with a waiver rate of 98%, which saved the County of San Diego more than $16 million.

With nearly 2,000 field division and warrant sweep arrests, 4,388 warrants were cleared in 2011.

The bureau’s Civil Unit handled processes such as temporary restraining orders, evictions, wage garnishments, bank levies, and sales. Residents and businesses in San Diego County use the bureau’s services to help serve civil processes and enforce court orders. In 2011, the unit received and processed 57,669 civil documents. The unit processed more than $24 million in collections and fees, which involved highly complex civil processes, and paid out no monies in county claims. Fees in excess of $2,556.00 were reimbursed to the department.

Since 2002, the bureau has provided security at the County Administration Center (CAC). This historic site accommodates almost 1,000 county employees and elected public officials, who rely on Sheriff’s personnel for their safety and security concerns. The CAC attracts more than 300,000 public visitors per year, and these guests are screened for weapons prior to admittance. More than 1,000 potential weapons were kept out of the CAC due to careful screening. The bureau provides training for all building tenants in personal security, critical response, and emergency evacuation.