San Diego County Sheriff's Department

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San Diego County Sheriff's Department
Common name San Diego Sheriff's Department
Abbreviation SDSO
Patch of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.png
Patch of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department
San Diego County Sheriff Department Badge.svg
Logo of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department
Flag of San Diego County, California.png
Flag of San Diego County, California
Agency overview
Formed 1850
Employees Approx. 4,000
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County (US) of San Diego in the state of California, U.S.
Size 4,526 square miles (11,700 km2)
Population 2,974,859
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 9621 Ridgehaven Court
San Diego, CA 92123
Agency executive William D. Gore, Sheriff
Stations 18
Jails 8
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO), is the primary and largest law enforcement agency in San Diego County, California, and one of the largest sheriff’s departments in the United States: with over 4,000 employees, an annual budget of over $600 million, and a service area over 4,500 square miles extending to a 60-mile international border. The department, established in 1850, has over 4,000 sworn deputies and additional civilian support personnel servicing an area of nearly 4,526 mi².

The SDSO provides general law enforcement and public safety services to all unincorporated areas of the county (traffic enforcement, accidents, and other traffic related issues are handled by the California Highway Patrol).

Nine incorporated cities within the county (Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach, and Vista) contract with the department for municipal law enforcement and public safety services. Within these cities, traffic enforcement is also provided.

The department operates and provides detention facilities (jails), court services, and specialized regional services (such as air support, search and rescue, SWAT, etc.) to all of the county and the nine contract cities.

The Wireless Services Division is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the San Diego County-Imperial County Regional Communications System (RCS).

The sheriff is elected by the voters of San Diego County. The current sheriff is William Gore, who was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 2009 when Bill Kolender resigned,[1] and then was elected to a full term in June 2010.[2]


Office of the Sheriff[edit]

  • Public Affairs
  • Intergovernmental Legislative Affairs
  • Legal Affairs
  • Senior Executive Assistant

Service bureaus[edit]

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is organized into five service bureaus: Law Enforcement Services, Detention Facility Services, Court Services, Human Resource Services, and Management Services. Each bureau is managed by an Assistant Sheriff except the Management Services Bureau, which is headed by an Executive Director.

Law Enforcement Services Bureau[edit]

  • Central Investigations Division
    • Central Operations Detail
      • Computer And Technology Crime High-tech Response Team (CATCH)
      • Elder Abuse
      • Financial Crimes
      • Homicide Detail
    • Family Protection Detail
      • Domestic Violence
      • Sex Offender Management Unit
      • Child Abuse Unit
  • Communications Division
    • Communications Center
  • Emergency Services Division
    • Arson/Explosives
    • ASTREA (air support unit)
    • Reserves
    • Search and Rescue
    • Special Enforcement Detail (SED)/SWAT
  • Special Investigations Division
    • Intelligence
    • Narcotics
    • Public Inspections
    • Street Gang/Narcotics
Patrol stations, substations and field offices[edit]

Court Services Bureau[edit]

Detention Services Bureau[edit]

  • Central Detention Facility (CDF)
    • No longer run by SDSO.
  • San Diego Central Jail (SDCJ)
  • Descanso Detention Facility (DDF) - Decommissioned.
  • George Bailey Detention Facility (GBDF)
  • East Mesa Reentry Facility (EMRF)
  • Las Colinas Women's Detention Facility (LCDF)
  • South Bay Detention Facility (SBDF)
  • Vista Detention Facility (VDF)
  • Facility 8 (FAC8)

Human Resource Services Bureau[edit]

  • Personnel Division
    • Background Investigations Unit
    • Career Path Assessment Unit
    • Recruiting Unit
  • Professional Standards Division
    • Internal Affairs Unit
    • Risk Management Unit
  • Training Division
    • Detentions and Court Services Academy
    • In-Service Training Unit
    • Regional Basic Academy
    • Weapons Training Unit (Range)

Management Services Bureau[edit]

  • Data Services Division
  • Wireless Services Division
  • Contracts Division
  • Fiscal Services


Salmon-colored 1966 Dodge Polara
Green-and-white Ford LTD Crown Victoria, in 1991.

Over the years, the sheriff's office's marked vehicles have sported unusual paint schemes. Originally in a traditional black and white, they transitioned to a pink-salmon color in the 1960s. From 1971 to 1991 the vehicles were painted kelly green-and-white which were the campaign colors of Sheriff John F. Duffy. When he retired the fleet was returned to the black-and-white color scheme and has remained so ever since. The department has also had a few all-white cars over the years, but these were for Traffic Enforcement and Volunteer Patrols only.[citation needed]


Deputies killed in line of duty[edit]

  1. Andrew Kriss, May 25, 1864, gunfire[3]
  2. Will Ward, November 27, 1899, assault[4]
  3. Thomas A. Fay, May 17, 1919, gunfire[5]
  4. Donn G. Witt, September 25, 1983, illness[6]
  5. Kelly Ann Bazer, January 13, 1986, gunfire[7]
  6. Lonny Gene Brewer, December 5, 1987, gunfire[8]
  7. Theodore L. Beckmann Jr., February 8, 1989, vehicular assault[9]
  8. Patrick Steven Coyle, February 16, 1997, aircraft accident[10]
  9. Ken Collier, February 28, 2010, vehicle pursuit[11]

Rank Structure[edit]

Title Insignia
US-O10 insignia.svg
US-O9 insignia.svg
Assistant Sheriff
US-O8 insignia.svg
US-O7 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
Deputy Sheriff


The San Diego Sheriff department was formed in 1850, and since then it has served a diverse county consisting of many constituents with competing interests. San Diego Sheriff's department was a co-appellant in the very famous Supreme Court of the United States and Ninth Circuit cases Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352 (1983),[12][13] which held unconstitutional laws that allow law enforcement to demand that “loiterers” and “wanderers” provide identification; this continues to affects other departments nationwide.[14][15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fudge, Tom (April 21, 2010). "San Diego Voters To Choose New County Sheriff". KPBS News. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gubernatorial Primary Election, Tuesday, June 8, 2010" (PDF). San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Kriss, Officer Down Memorial Page
  4. ^ Ward, Officer Down Memorial Page
  5. ^ Fay,Officer Down Memorial Page
  6. ^ Witt, Officer Down Memorial Page
  7. ^ Bazer, Officer Down Memorial Page
  8. ^ Brewer, Officer Down Memorial Page
  9. ^ Beckmann, Officer Down Memorial Page
  10. ^ Coyle, Officer Down Memorial Page
  11. ^ Collier, Officer Down Memorial Page
  12. ^ "Kolender v. Lawson". United States Reports (Supreme Court of the United States) 461: 352. May 2, 1983. 
  13. ^ "Lawson v. Kolender". United States Federal Reports (United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit) 2 (658): 1362. Oct 15, 1981. 
  14. ^ "Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy". The New York Times. August 12, 2013. 
  15. ^ "L.A. County Sheriff's Department violated rights of blacks, Justice Department says". Los Angeles Times. June 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Investigation of Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Stations in Antelope Valley" (PDF). US Department of Justice. June 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]