Law Enforcement Services Bureau

Encinitas Station

There were nine armed bank robbery cases in San Diego County, six of which occurred in the city of Encinitas. All were believed committed by an individual dubbed the “Drywall Bank Bandit.” In coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Encinitas Detective Division conducted surveillance of several Drywall Banditbanks over the course of a few weeks. In February of 2011, one of the stakeout teams observed the suspect enter the Chase Bank in Encinitas. The suspect did, in fact, commit an armed robbery and patrol deputies immediately responded to the area. When the suspect left the bank he was spotted and after a short foot pursuit he was taken into custody. When arrested the suspect was armed with a handgun and had cash from the bank he had just robbed. This was a great example of the “Intelligence-Led Policing” concept that is currently being implemented at the Encinitas Station.

The “Tracking Known Offenders” or TKO program was originally dubbed, “Watchful Eye.” This phase of the pilot program was initiated in January of 2011, at the Encinitas Station. It was designed as a partnership between the Sheriff’s Department and the Probation Department in a concerted effort to effectively manage mid-level probationers. The program utilizes specially trained patrol deputies to conduct compliance checks on medium-risk probationers living in the Encinitas area.

The goal of TKO compliance checks is twofold. First, it reinforces with the probationer the conditions of their probation, with follow-up visits to ensure compliance. Second, it allows deputies the opportunity to learn who’s on probation in their cities. If a deputy establishes a good rapport with a probationer, it could lead to information about crime trends or other activity on the beat. The pilot program has already been started in the Vista Station, with expansion to other North County agencies planned in the near future.

During the summer months of 2011, the Encinitas Sheriff Station formed the Coastal Enforcement Team or CET. This team, comprised of patrol, traffic, and C.O.P.P.S deputies, has been tasked with making contact with the local citizens and business owners. The team addressed concerns related to an increase in tourism and beach attendance, as well as other incidents connected to the San Diego County Fair and the Del Mar Horse Races. The CET was extremely effective, and the personal interaction helped to address the “smaller” problems and make a big difference in quality of life of local residents. Deputy Dave TonerThe media heavily publicized the team’s efforts and the public accolades were significant. Subsequently, the CET was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for their efforts.

Also during this past year, Encinitas Traffic Deputy Dave Toner was presented with numerous citations and awards from the State of California, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Office of Traffic Safety due to his performance and more than 187 DUI arrests in 2010.

Encinitas Station Senior Volunteer and Station SVP Program Coordinator, Laurence Reisner received the County of San Diego Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011, for his dedication and hard work.

Poway Station & 4S-Ranch Substation

The City of Poway experienced an increase in vehicle burglaries at the Blue Sky Preserve. These thefts began with a reported incident on November 27, 2010, and over the next three months thirteen incidents were reported. Using intelligence-led policing tactics, detectives were able to establish a pattern of criminal activity. They conducted several surveillance operations and ultimately observed a subject force entry into two vehicles parked at the preserve.

Operation Tip the Scales
Targets Searched 39
Meth Packets Distributed 32
Total Arrests 40
Felony Arrests 13
Misdemeanor Arrests 15
Warrant Arrests 12
Field Interviews 21
Vehicle Stops 12
Citations (Drug Related) 2
Treatment Conversations 32
Detectives on the surveillance and patrol units moved in to apprehend the subject, however, he refused to stop and initiated a pursuit that extended more than two and one half miles. During the course of this pursuit, the subject committed numerous traffic offenses in his attempt to avoid capture. He eventually collided with a vehicle stopped at a traffic control signal in the City of San Diego and was apprehended after a short foot pursuit. The subject received a four-year prison sentence at trial.

Operation Tip the Scale is a collaborative effort between more than a dozen agencies, including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Child Welfare Services/Drug Endangered Children (CWS/DEC), San Diego County Department of Alcohol Drug Services, the McAlister Institute, County Mental Health Systems, County Probation, California Department of Corrections/Parole, and the Methamphetamine Strike Force.

This was the eighth countywide operation and was conducted with the Poway Sheriff Station’s COPPs Unit coordinating the special detail. Our station managed the efforts of more than 100 law enforcement professionals, along with religious-based counselors and community resources during the operation.

Ramona Substation

Hiking safety presentation

With the U.S. Forest Service’s April opening of the upgraded trail to Cedar Creek Falls, came an unexpected influx of people, animals, parking issues, and very expensive rescues. Unprepared hikers and thrill seekers attempted to tackle the rather strenuous trail and impacted the community and neighborhood almost immediately. There were many alcohol-related accidents, dehydration, and jumps from the falls that caused significant injuries. The social media also played a huge role in the number of visitors that were attracted to the area.

The U.S. Forest Service had not expected this upswing in activity, and did not have enough staffing to monitor or enforce safety on the trail or at the falls. The Ramona Sheriff’s Station, along with the Julian Station, and ASTREA, were called to assist with the subsequent enforcement issues and rescues. When a 16-year-old accidentally fell to his death at the falls, the U.S. Forest Service closed the trail temporarily. The Sheriff’s Department began an educational program for the public and also commenced patrols along the entrance to the falls to prevent hikers from venturing on the trail. More than one thousand hours of deputy time was allotted to the trailheads to prevent further injuries or deaths. The first closure lasted until November 15, 2011, and the U.S. Forest Service has decided to extend the closure until the Spring of 2012. With this extension, the Sheriff’s Department terminated the patrols due to financial considerations.

Santee Station

The City of Santee contracts with the Sheriff’s Department to provide three special purpose deputies to work as community policing deputies. These deputies are tasked with using analysis-driven law enforcement to respond to neighborhood issues that may be better resolved by the community policing unit, rather than patrol deputies in that area who are often too busy to dedicate more time to long-term issues. Community Policing Deputies are highly trained in areas involving crime prevention, criminal investigations, narcotic investigations, alcohol and drug abuse issues, to name a few.

Community Policing Deputies work in partnership with the community, other law enforcement agencies, code enforcement, and social service agencies, in an effort to make the community a safer and better place to live. This approach is not new, but is being utilized with the latest technology that allows us to take a closer look at certain issues which gives law enforcement the opportunity to have a more lasting effect on crime in the communities where we work.

Some of the issues that the Santee/Lakeside Deputies have been involved with this year include:

  • A significant increase in copper wire theft has been occurring in both the Santee and Lakeside areas. After several lengthy investigations, one suspect was arrested. A prison sentence for more than twenty seven cases of copper wire theft has been handed down. A second suspect was also arrested and sent to prison for four more cases.
  • After the City of Santee was informed there was an increase in juveniles being served alcoholic beverages at private parties in the community, a new Social Host Ordinance was enacted, which financially penalized the responsible party who oversaw the service of alcohol at these parties. Recently deputies worked with the Santee City Attorney's Office to recoup a large fine from two separate suspects involved in the service of alcohol to juveniles.
  • In March, the Santee School Resource Officers assisted the California Highway Patrol and Santana High School with the successful “Every 15 Minutes program.” Unique in its design and powerful in its impact, “Every 15 Minutes” is an educational experience that reminds us all of the dangers associated with driving while impaired, using a mobile phone and texting.

Lemon Grove Station

On November 19, 2011, deputies, in conjunction with citizens and Lemon Grove City Staff, conducted a community event identified as "Operation Clean Streets." The event encompassed multiple facets designed to prevent and deter crime, raise community awareness and physically clean areas of the City of Lemon Grove. A Sheriff's Crime Prevention Specialist coordinated this event between the city volunteer groups, community businesses, Lemon Grove City staff and the Sheriff's Department. Law Enforcement Operations were coordinated out of the Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Station and involved more than 100 Sheriff’s Law Enforcement personnel.

Some highlights:

  1. A ‘Community Cleanup’ was organized between for a pre-designated section of Broadway in the City of Lemon Grove between 0700 and 1300 hours. More than 200 citizen volunteers including children, Boy Scouts, and church leaders assisted with the cleanup and beautification along the main thoroughfare.
  2. A prescription Drug Take Back drop off point was established for disposal of unwanted medications.
  3. Lemon Grove Sheriff’s personnel conducted high profile traffic enforcement.
  4. Sheriff’s Court Services personnel conducted a warrant enforcement detail throughout the Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Command. This detail was very successful and netted 38 total arrests including 4 felonies, clearing 46 total warrants.
  5. Lemon Grove Sheriff’s Gang Suppression Unit conducted a trolley detail focusing on gang enforcement within the city and immediate Rancho San Diego groundbreakingsurrounding transportation hubs. This detail was also extremely successful netting 14 arrests including 5 felonies. Deputies conducted dozens of contacts and the majority of the contacts were with known gang members. Deputies safely confiscated numerous narcotics and several weapons during this detail.

Future Rancho San Diego Station

On November 18, 2011, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sheriff’s Rancho San Diego Station was held. The new station will serve as headquarters for the Lemon Grove Command. Construction on the new station is scheduled to start early 2012, and will tentatively open during the summer of 2013. The station will be 27,000 square feet located on five acres. It is located near the intersection of Campo Rd. and Jamacha Boulevard and will serve the communities of Rancho San Diego, Spring Valley, La Presa, Jamul, Casa de Oro, Mt. Helix, and the unincorporated areas of La Mesa and El Cajon.

San Marcos

In 2011, the San Marcos Station launched a new Gang Enforcement Team (GET). GET deputies are designated as the high visibility/high enforcement faction of the COPPS unit, and will work closely with the San Marcos Narcotics-Gang Detail.

Narcotics Task Force (NTF)

The Narcotics Task Force (NTF) just closed a major two-year drug investigation into an international money laundering operation by the Sinaloa Drug Cartel that spanned five countries and resulted in a seizure of over $6 million in cash.

Border Crime Suppression Team

In 2011, the Border Crime Suppression Team (BCST) increased their highway interdiction and directed patrol efforts. These operations proved to be very successful as BCST members became experts in identifying load vehicles. During a highway interdiction in December of 2011, BCST members identified a suspicious vehicle based on indicators learned through specialized training and their experience. A subsequent vehicle stop was conducted and 68 lbs. of cocaine was discovered in the spare tire of the vehicle.

Fallbrook Substation

Start Smart Classes for Military Personnel were commenced in 2011. Fallbrook personnel have provided traffic safety training on two separate occasions to more than one thousand Marines at Camp Pendleton. The training was held in an attempt to educate military personnel about the dangers of engaging in risky behavior, including speeding, talking on the phone, texting, and driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Studies have shown that an inordinate amount of young Marines were dying in both motorcycle and car crashes that were directly related to speeding, drinking, and using electronic devices while driving.

Vista Station

The COPPS Unit has continued their work under a three-year grant to combat prostitution and human trafficking. The Sheriff's Department was designated as the lead agency and resulted in the formation of the North County Regional Prostitution Human Trafficking Task Force (NCRPHTTF), a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional entity, geared specifically to address those quality of life issues. With the formation of that task force, they have accomplished the following in 2011:

Human Trafficking
Investigations Initiated (including one large scale RICO case): 59
Number of suspects arrested (State/Federal/Local): 139
Number of search warrants (State and Federal): 28
Number of victims identified: 59

Crime Lab

Sheriff’s Crime Lab

A New Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) for San Diego County was initiated in 2011. The AFIS System is a computer system that holds the fingerprint records of some 1.5 million arrestees. It is tied to the California Department of Justice fingerprint database which contains the fingerprint records of nearly 9 million people. The Sheriff’s Department and the six largest police departments in the county use the database to achieve positive identification of arrestees. In addition, when a good quality latent fingerprint is developed and recovered from a crime scene, the latent print is uploaded into the AFIS system to be searched against the local San Diego County database, the California Department of Justice database, and if necessary, against the FBI’s fingerprint database of some 60 million people.

A decision was made in 2008, to replace the 10-year-old AFIS system. A $2.7 million contract was awarded to Cogent Systems after a competitive process, and on December 7, 2011, the new Cogent AFIS system “went live.” Latent fingerprint examiners from crime labs around the county have already seen “hits” on crime scene prints that did not hit in the previous system. When prints of an arrestee are loaded into the system, the person is identified within approximately 20 seconds (assuming the person’s prints are on file.) When a latent fingerprint from a crime scene is searched, the results come back within a few minutes.

Phase 2 of this project will be launched in the summer of 2012, with hand-held devices available as a pilot project to approximately 40 deputies. The mobile ID units will use cellular transmission to communicate with the AFIS system, to achieve quick identification of subjects in the field.

The successful launch of a new AFIS system in San Diego County was a 2011 top priority for the Crime Laboratory, Records, Detentions, and Contracts and Purchasing.

Expanding the Crime Lab's DNA capability to include Y-STR analysis was the top priority for the Crime Laboratory in 2011. After months of work validating the technique for use in our laboratory, by early December, 2011, three DNA analysts were approved to start conducting this new type of DNA analysis. The “Y” in Y-STR stands for the Y chromosome, which occurs only in males. This type of analysis ignores any female DNA in the biological evidence mixture, and looks only at the Y chromosome DNA present in the evidence. This has particular application in cases where there is a mixture of male and female biological material, but the male component is overwhelmed by the amount of female DNA present. An example would be the examination of a female victim’s fingernail scrapings for male DNA.

The results of Y-STR analysis are not as definitive as with the lab’s normal DNA profiling, which can identify a biological material to a specific individual (unless that person has an identical twin.) The results of Y-STR analysis are usually reported in statistics such as “this Y-STR type is found in one in two thousand males.” While this doesn’t absolutely identify the individual, it is strong associative evidence.

The other value in Y-STR analysis is that it gives us information about the male genetic line of the contributor. Since Y chromosomes are passed father to son, there is no change due to genetic contribution from the mother. The fact that Y-STRs are the same along paternal lines means that we can now start the process of familial searching on some cases here in San Diego County that have otherwise grown cold. Y-STR analysis is a necessary first step to familial searching. Familial searching is done in those cases where the evidence DNA profile has not resulted in a match with anyone in the database – so our attention is turned to whether the suspect might have a father, son or brother in the database. If sufficient correspondence is seen in the DNA types between the evidence and someone in the database (suggesting a familial link), including the same Y-STR profile, then followup detective work involving male family members may solve the case.

A new unincorporated COPPS team

In July of 2011, the Board of Supervisors funded nine positions due to an increase in the population in the unincorporated areas. The department committed a sergeant and eight deputies to use intelligence-led policing concepts to reduce crime in the unincorporated areas. The team, known as Sheriff’s Analysis Driven Law Enforcement (S.A.D.L.E.), works closely with the Crime Analysis Unit to identify areas which are experiencing increasing crime. With the partnership and support of the affected area command, A.D.L.E. applies community-oriented and intelligence-led policing strategies to reduce crime. As the strategies are applied, an analysis is frequently conducted to ensure the crime rate is dropping. If not, alternate strategies are implemented and additional analysis is conducted. This continual analysis quickly provides the ability to selectively and effectively use resources.

Communications Center

SAFE Team

A staggering total of 257,548 emergency/911 calls for service in 2011 came into our Communications Center in Kearny Mesa. A total of 343,437 non-emergency calls were also received. The state average answering time recommendation for 911 calls is within 10 seconds. The Sheriff’s Communications Center has consistently maintained a 5-second average answering time for 911 calls and a 25-second average answering time for non-emergency calls. The Communications Center experienced a 6% increase in 911 calls in 2011.

SAFE

The SAFE Task Force performed a record 3000 sex offender registrant compliance checks in 2011.

Traffic Coordinator

Patrol Speed Mapping gives a snapshot of high-speed driving by Sheriff’s marked units throughout the county. It specifically tracks units that travel more than 90mph and over 80% of the posted speed limit. Since its inception, the department has seen a significant reduction in high speed driving incidents, and collisions involving Sheriff’s personnel have dropped over the same period. Posters are prominently displayed at all facilities stating, “Drive Like Your Life Depends on It.”