VCDSA members are active and retired sworn law enforcement personnel of both the Ventura County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation. Members also include Deputy Sheriff Trainees, Provisional Deputy Sheriffs, and Reserve Deputies.
Currently, membership numbers about 750 active duty and 350 retired members. A great majority of our members are Deputy Sheriffs, Senior Deputies, Sergeants and District Attorney Investigators. Management level members include the Sheriff, the Chief and Deputy Chief D.A. Investigators, and the Assistant Sheriffs, Commanders and Captains.
Ventura County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue and Aviation Unit
VCDSA members participate in search and rescue operations in Ventura County. The highly trained members of the Air Unit also participate in medical emergency transports, patrol, pursuits, and firefighting support
Air Unit and Search and Rescue Team members participate in search and rescue operations in Ventura County. The highly trained members of the Air Unit also participate in medical emergency transports, patrol operations, pursuits, and firefighting support.
The Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) team is organized by members of the Department who participate in SAR as a collateral assignment. The SAR team counts among its members many civilian volunteers who bring with them much-needed expertise, including advanced medical skills, and climbing and backcountry knowledge. When called upon, these deputies and their civilian volunteers put aside their daily lives and put their training and skills to work to aid those who are missing or lost.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Aviation Unit provides a wide variety of functions, and the impressive skills of Sheriff's Pilots are drawn upon continuously as they maneuver their distinctive aircraft virtually everywhere, in all conceivable conditions, when help is needed. Many stranded or injured hikers have been safely rescued from Ventura County's rugged backcountry and flood-swollen streams. Water-drop helicopters can deliver water payloads to inaccessible fires, and can also swiftly deploy fire hand-crews to flash spots.
District Attorney Investigators
Among the members of VCDSA are more than forty District Attorney Investigators employed by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. The assignments of these highly trained investigators include Major Crimes, Sexual Assault/Family Protection, Gangs/Firearms, Major Fraud, Government Fraud, Intelligence, and Child Abduction. The primary role of the D.A. Investigators is to assist Deputy District Attorneys in investigating and preparing criminal cases for trial. This often includes locating key witnesses and securing witness statements, developing additional physical evidence, executing search warrants, finding experts, locating informants, and conducting all other follow-up investigations necessary to ensure proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, D.A. Investigators obtain and develop evidence of new criminal offenses resulting in direct criminal filings and Grand Jury indictments, and they assist other local law enforcement agencies with officer involved shootings, crime scene analysis, gang sweeps, probation searches and wiretaps.
K9 Alf and Senior Deputy De La Huerta are pictured in front of their patrol car. The K9 program is funded through donations from local residents. Find out more at www.9k4k9.org
Few people realize it, but the K9 “deputies” in use by the Sheriff's Department, and much of their specialized equipment, are paid for entirely through the donations of private individuals and civic-minded business organizations. These unique dogs, which cost thousands of dollars each, are bred and trained for police work. The deputy sheriffs who work as K9 handlers undergo rigorous ongoing training with their K9 partners. The dogs not only assist with patrol operations on a daily basis, but their search and seizure skills are vital to detection and interdiction of narcotics, explosives, and other contraband. K9 teams make hundreds of arrests annually and their efforts lead to the seizure of large quantities of illegal drugs and contraband.
The highly visible presence of these trained peace officers helps to deter crime and their maneuverability in congested areas, and stealthy approach, adds significantly to their effectiveness
VCDSA members patrol all of the unincorporated areas of Ventura County as well as the cities of Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Ojai, Fillmore and Camarillo. Our goal is to keep residents safe and free from the fear of crime. The patrol operations of the Sheriff's Department are not confined to black and white patrol cars. Several communities policed by deputies make good use of bike patrol units to bring a more personal level of law enforcement service right to the parking lots, sidewalks, and shopping areas where it may be needed most.
Traffic Safety Emergency Response and Enforcement
Skilled motorcycle officers employed by the Sheriff's Department are a key component of police work.
Traffic safety enforcement is a critical aspect of policing. Traffic violations are the single leading cause of traffic accidents and injuries. The skilled motorcycle officers employed by the Sheriff's Department in Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and elsewhere in the county are equipped to enforce traffic laws and also provide an extra margin of safety in response to emergency calls. These “motor” units are becoming more and more valuable assets as growing traffic congestion often prevents cars from reaching an incident scene.
Mounted Enforcement Unit
The Ventura County Sheriff's Mounted Enforcement Unit (MEU) is consistently recognized as one of the finest in the state. The Mounted Unit is a collateral assignment within the Department, which means that deputies who work full-time in other law enforcement functions utilize their own horses to provide a very visible, effective, and unique public safety service. These highly trained deputies and their horses are often called upon to assist in crowd control functions, including mutual aid for other regional agencies, and also participate in search and rescue operations, and as noble adjuncts to the Sheriff's Honor Guard.
Detention Services and Court Services
VCDSA represents the men and women who are trained to walk the toughest beat in the county, inside the county's jails. These law enforcement officers work in an area that houses many violent offenders such as murderers, gang members, and sexual predators. VCDSA members include deputies, senior deputies, and sergeants who are responsible for providing security, enforcing laws, and housing inmates in the county jail system under the Detention Services Division. As a result of recent overcrowding and realignment, jails are operating over capacity and more dangerous inmates are now being housed at the county level instead of state prison.
VCDSA members work as bailiffs and court security ensuring the safety and smooth operation of the Ventura County Superior Court system. Also, within the Court Services Division falls the Sheriff's Department Transportation Unit which is responsible for transporting inmates to the courts, throughout Ventura County and across the State of California.
Because of their unique skills, two members of this elite unit who are military reservists have been called to prolonged military duty in the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.
VCDSA members also participate in the Sheriff's Department Special Services program which include Major Crimes Investigations, Narcotics Investigations, Intelligence & Vice Investigations, Hostage Negotiations Team, SWAT, and Bomb Squad. The highly skilled members of the Sheriff's Bomb Squad are trained to detect, disarm, and neutralize all types of explosive devices. The Squad's technologically advanced equipment includes explosive “sniffing” devices and a remote controlled robot; however, the risk to personnel can never be completely eliminated. These deputies are called to assist all county agencies when suspicious packages and possible bombs are detected.
The members of the special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team are committed to maintaining the highest level of skill in every aspect of critical incident interdiction so that, when called upon, they can perform their demanding missions with minimal risk to civilians and fellow officers. Because of the nature of their operations, these dedicated public servants are always ready to place themselves in harm's way countywide to protect others.
Sheriff's Training Center
Agencies from throughout the region send their new recruits to the Sheriff's Training Center
The Ventura County Criminal Justice Training Center provides recruit training and general law enforcement training to thousands of men and woman every year. The Academy operates in conjunction with the Ventura County Community College District to provide Basic Training in accordance with the guidelines set by the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). The Training Center also provides ongoing in-service courses in over a hundred topics, such as firearms, defensive tactics, officer safety, investigations, communications and leadership. The Sheriff's Training Center is known and respected throughout California for the high quality of its instruction and the high quality of the officers who pass through its doors.
Community Education and Violence Prevention
Here, students participate in one of several DARE courses taught by members of the Sheriff's Department.
It is never too early for safety education and training. The Sheriff's Department participates in safety instruction in the county's classrooms and its parks and playgrounds. Deputies working as K9 handlers routinely visit county schools to introduce their K9 partners and reinforce the importance of public safety and the law. School Resource Officers in several school districts also provide an extra measure of on-campus safety and security and are a valuable presence for school administration officials and students alike.
Ventura County Peace Officers' Memorial
Across the nation, Peace Officers' Memorial Week is honored every year in the month of May, and a simple ceremony is held in Ventura County to remember our fallen law enforcement brothers and sisters.
In 1998, through private donations and diligent effort, the Peace Officers Association of Ventura County erected the Ventura County Peace Officers' Memorial at the West entrance to the County Government Center, adjacent to Thille Street. The beautiful granite monument stands in recognition of those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice while working to protect the public. Among the 28 names on the monument are male and female officers from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, Oxnard Police Department, Ventura Police Department, Simi Valley Police Department, Santa Paula Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, Ventura College Campus Police, Harbor Patrol and the U.S Naval Station Police department at Pt. Mugu.