Operations Bureau

The Operations Bureau provides services to the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County and consists of Patrol, Investigations, Coroner, and Community Policing.

Chief Deputy Jacob Ainsworth


The Patrol Division's mandate is to provide continuous first responder 9-1-1 service, non-emergency service, and general law enforcement in the unincorporated areas of the County. A Sheriff's Sergeant is assigned to each shift. The Sergeant directs the activities of the shift and coordinates enforcement assignments in response to calls for service. Deputies drive the distinctive green and white Sheriff's Office patrol cars and wear a khaki shirt and green pants. The Sheriff's Office receives nearly 110,000 calls for service each year, the majority of which receive the attention of the Patrol Division.


The Investigation Division's mandate is to perform thorough and accurate investigations of matters that by their nature are not routinely handled by the Patrol Division. Detectives are assigned to investigate serious and complex crimes requiring technical skills, abilities, resources and very often specialized training. The Division is structured utilizing a specialization concept in which criminal cases are assigned by established categories to the appropriately staffed and trained section for follow-up investigation. The Investigation Division is composed of six sections: Coroner, Crime Scene Investigation, Robbery/Homicide/Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault/Child Abuse, and Crimes Against Property/High Tech.

Lieutenant Ian Patrick

Community Policing

Community Policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime - Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice.

The Sheriff's Office is committed to community policing as an integral part of its overall law enforcement efforts. Community Policing operates four Service Centers situated in North Coast, Boulder Creek, San Lorenzo Valley, Live Oak/Soquel, Aptos, and South County.

Lieutenant Nick Baldrige

Fentanyl Crisis Response Team

In response to the sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, Sheriff Hart created the Fentanyl Crisis Response Team in March of 2024. This team is made up of a Lieutenant, a Sergeant, five detectives and a drug detection K9. The team's primary goal is to reduce the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in the county.

The team is collaborating with our local and federal justice partners and aims to apprehend drug dealers responsible for distributing Fentanyl, thus holding them accountable for the lives lost. This approach not only seeks justice, but also serves as a deterrent to those who engage in the illegal distribution of this deadly substance.

The Sheriff’s Office is also partnering with our local schools, treatment providers, religious organizations and community as a whole to take a comprehensive approach to addressing this crisis. Education, prevention, and support services are crucial components in mitigating the impact of Fentanyl on individuals and families.

Lieutenant Billy Burnett