The Special Enforcement Division provides specialized community services and department operational support through the following units: Civil Services Unit, Fugitive Apprehension & Surveillance Team (FAST), Covert Investigations Unit (CIU), Intelligence Unit, Air Support Unit, and Mutual Aid Coordinator. The Special Enforcement Division Administration also provides oversight of Sheriff’s Office Special Teams, including the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT), Crowd Control Unit (CCU), Canine Unit, Bomb Squad, Underwater Search Unit (Dive Team), Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT), Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) and Sheriff’s Off-Road Enforcement (SORE) team.
Civil Services Unit
The Special Enforcement Division’s Civil Unit is responsible for service of civil process which may include restraining orders, evictions, civil bench warrants, keepers and till taps, and both personal property and real property levies as outlined in the California Constitution and the California Code of Civil Procedures. The Civil Services Unit also conducts levies on wages and bank accounts. Civil Unit employees are comprised of both professional civilian staff and sworn peace officers who work and train together to coordinate an efficient civil process for the County of Santa Clara.
The Sheriff is the levying officer and the Civil Unit employees are agents of the Sheriff designated to enforce a writ, which is an order from the court directing a certain action. Civil Unit employees are required to enforce writs based on written instructions. The levying officer and agents act as a neutral third party and may not provide legal advice to any person.
An eviction by the Sheriff is the final step of a process that includes an unlawful detainer judgment for possession of property. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office performs evictions after a judgment for possession is obtained and a valid writ of possession, written instructions (see below), and proper fees are delivered to the Sheriff's Civil Division.
The updated Santa Clara County Sheriff eviction instruction sheet can be obtained via the following link:
Information on the civil court process may be obtained via the following link offered by the Superior Court of California and the County of Santa Clara:
Additional information on eviction cases in California may be obtained via the following link offered by the Judicial Branch of California:
Eviction cases in California | California Courts | Self Help Guide
Fugitive Apprehension and Surveillance Team (FAST)
FAST is the department’s undercover enforcement unit primarily tasked with the apprehension of wanted serious and violent felons using covert surveillance techniques and tactics. FAST is also dedicated to pursuing the seizure of firearms from prohibited persons and responsible for handling fugitive and extradition matters.
Covert Investigations Unit (CIU)
The mission of CIU is to dismantle and disrupt drug traffickers operating within Santa Clara County. CIU detectives conduct a variety of major vendor narcotics investigations and are assigned specialties within the unit to maintain knowledge of current best practices and legal updates associated to the various controlled substances. An additional point of emphasis for CIU is the thorough investigation of all overdose deaths in Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction. The Sheriff’s Office understands that it is important to vigorously investigate and arrest illicit drug dealers and manufacturers acting outside of the law and affecting the quality of life in the community.
Regional Mutual Aid Coordinator
The Mutual Aid Regional Coordinator position is staffed with a Sergeant who is responsible for receiving and disseminating aid requests from across the state to the other law enforcement agencies in the region. Although it is not a primary function, the Mutual Aid Coordinator has been instrumental in securing homeland security grants for the Sheriff’s Office for much needed equipment. Additionally, the Mutual Aid Coordinator also oversees Search and Rescue (SAR) and the Air Support Units. SAR is comprised of volunteers that will respond to aid requests both internally and as mutual aid.
Air Support Unit
The primary objective of the Air Support Unit (ASU) is to provide aerial support for Sheriff’s Office ground units and other law enforcement agencies in Santa Clara County for public and officer safety matters. The Sheriff’s Office flies a Eurocopter EC120 and is identified as Star 1. Some of the common missions for Star 1 include the apprehension of fleeing suspects, searching for at-risk missing individuals, and vehicle pursuits. The primary staff consists of a Tactical Flight Observer (TFO) deputy and a professional pilot. The Sheriff’s Office also employs an extra help backup pilot and several alternate TFO’s to ensure air operations are available when needed for public safety.
The Intelligence Unit is comprised of a Sergeant and a Deputy that are assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) respectively with the goal of helping safeguard the Santa Clara County community by conducting terrorism investigations, sharing criminal intelligence and threat assessment information with regional partners, and by processing and assessing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) submitted by local law enforcement and the public.
The Special Enforcement Division also oversees all of the Sheriff’s Office specialized teams comprised of highly trained deputies who are responsible for conducting a variety of critical missions. Members of these specialized teams serve in a collateral duty capacity in addition to their permanent assignments. The Sheriff’s Office is proud to continue serving the residents of Santa Clara County by maintaining the following teams for service:
Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (S.E.R.T.)
The Sheriff's Emergency Response Team resolves critical incidents, serves high-risk warrants, and apprehends violent offenders that are beyond the general response capabilities of patrol operations or that warrant a coordinated tactical team approach. SERT members complete numerous hours of highly specialized weapons and tactics trainings in order to be prepared to respond to a variety of emergencies. SERT members also provide advanced training to other members of the department and provide special security operations.
The Bomb Squad responds to all requests for the evaluation and destruction of explosive devices, military ordnances, fireworks, or post-blast investigations within Santa Clara County. The Sheriff’s Office bomb technicians are also qualified to collect and dispose of other hazardous materials. Members of the Bomb Squad take hundreds of hours of training and must pass both written and practical tests to become certified bomb technicians through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT)
The Crisis Negotiation Team consists of deputies who are highly skilled and trained in the art of establishing and maintaining communications during crisis situations. CNT negotiators continually hone their skills by attending training seminars and participating in scenario training. The majority of events that CNT respond to involve barricaded suspects, hostage takers, and crisis response where individuals pose a danger to themselves or others. CNT negotiators are deployed on every SERT call-out as a de-escalation option for applicable situations.
Canine Unit (K9)
The Canine Unit handlers and their partners are trained in apprehension, drug detection, explosive detection, phone detection, and article searches. Canine handlers work out of all three Patrol Divisions as well as the Special Enforcement Division and the Custody Bureau. The canine unit regularly assist with criminal investigations, specialized enforcement details, and custody operations.
Underwater Search Unit (USU)
The Underwater Search Unit consists of deputies who are highly skilled and trained in the underwater search for evidence, water related victim recovery, and removal of nuisance items within the 139 rivers and slews, 313 small reservoirs, and 21 large reservoirs located within Santa Clara County.
Sheriff's Off-Road Enforcement (SORE)
The Sheriff's Off-Road Enforcement team’s primary mission is to provide this county’s off-highway and rural areas with law enforcement service. In addition, the team is used for special event security, search and rescue, and traffic enforcement.
Search and Rescue (SAR)
The Search and Rescue (SAR) team's mission is to provide highly trained search and rescue resources to local, County, State and Federal Government Agencies in times of emergency. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team is completely comprised of volunteers who train twice a month and work with specialized equipment and are mostly utilized in rural county areas to assist in finding missing persons, human remains, or to locate evidence in criminal cases.
Crowd Control Unit (CCU)
The Crowd Control Unit's mission is to provide a rapid response to civil unrest in planned or unplanned events. It is the responsibility of the Crowd Control Unit to provide safety and security to those exercising their First Amendment Right as well as those that reside and work in the community.