The Detective Bureau is responsible for all criminal investigations of crime that occurs in San Jacinto County. This Bureau is headed by the Detective Commander and consists of the Investigations Division, Crime Victims Services, Crime Scene and Evidence Section, Sex Offender Registration Unit, Background Investigations Section, and the Public Integrity Section.
The Investigations Division is where all in-county crime is investigated. This division, manned by 5 Detectives, handles Person Crimes, Property Crimes, Crimes against Children and Women, and any other criminal investigation where a specific focus is required.
Person Crimes is the section responsible for Homicide Investigation, Suicide Investigations, Assaults, Domestic Violence, Robbery and other crimes against persons. Contrary to what the TV shows will have us believe, not all person crimes are able to be solved in 40 minutes. The biggest issue facing a person crimes detective is actually people! Not everyone sees the same thing in the same way. Language, education, and other cultural barriers sometimes hamper investigations. A person crimes detective must develop leads from speaking to live people, reading what the dead have to say - such as in an autopsy, and put together all of this information into an evidentiary type report. In some person crimes, the only witnesses are the deceased and the one who did it. Forensic evidence is another tool used by the person crimes detective. Such evidence usually requires a lengthy time to process. While person crime is not a routine type of case in San Jacinto County, it is a very time and resource consuming process. The Sheriff's Office has 1 detective assigned to handle person crimes in our county.
Property Crime is the section responsible for investigating Burglaries and Thefts of property, Identification Theft, Auto Theft, and any crime involving a non-person victim. While people are the complainants of property crime, the thing taken or abused is a non-person.
As with most areas of the country, Property Crime is the #1 issue in San Jacinto County. The Uniformed Patrol Division is generally the first investigative unit involved in such a crime. The patrol deputy responds to your home, your work, or where ever the offense occurred. The patrol deputy collects evidence, processes the scene for fingerprints and/or DNA, takes statements and/or photographs, and completes the report. The report is forwarded to the Property Crime section of the Investigations Division. As is with most property crime, evidence is not always available. Therefore, most property crime sits in an "inactive" state until such time other information comes forward.
The best help our citizens can do is to take good inventory of your property. Logging serial numbers, make and model, and "Owner Applied Numbers", or OAN, is the best way to keep track or identify your belongings. The OAN is not mysterious! The owner simply uses and engraving tool to mark their driver's license or ID number onto the property. By documenting your property, the opportunity for recovery, and even arrest of the suspect, increases greatly! Once the report is received, the detective will enter the property into the state and national database. Any officer who runs that serial number or OAN through the database will identify the agency who is looking for it. Another tool the citizen can use is a camera. Take photographs of property, especially 'one of a kind' things and items with high value.
It does not hurt to call the Sheriff's Office periodically to check on the status of your case. You may have information the detective may be looking for, or vice-versa. One of the investigative processes is for the detective assigned to your case to make contact with you periodically to see if additional information has come to bear.
In San Jacinto County, there are only 2 detectives assigned to investigate property crime.
Crimes against Women and Children
Crimes against women and children constitute a major offense. These include child abuse, injury to children, sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes that injure a child or woman. Your Sheriff's Office has an investigator who is specialized in such investigations and has access to all of the tools used to combat such vicious crimes. While only 1 detective is assigned, because so many of the crimes involve persons known to each other, we have had a very high success rate for solving these crimes and bringing the suspects to justice.
Crime Victim Services
Crime Victim Services is largely a liaison duty of the Bureau Commander. The services provided predominantly involve getting a crime victim the information needed for filing a Crime Victim Compensation Act claim with the correct entity. Most of these CVCA claims are handled through the District Attorney's Office. Our office has correct information for delivery to crime victims seeking this assistance.
Crime Scene Investigation and Evidence Section
While the Sheriff's Office does not have a Crime Scene Unit or a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI), our agency does have personnel who are very well trained in identifying and processing such evidence. San Jacinto County partners with the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Units for major criminal investigations in our county. Crime Scenes that are smaller in size and complexity are usually handled by the Texas Rangers as partners with us. Larger or more complex scenes are handled by the DPS Crime Scene Unit, or the Montgomery County Crime Lab, for us.
Once evidence is discovered and collected it is logged and turned over to our Evidence Technician. Our Evidence Technician logs and stores the evidence for further investigation or court. Evidence that requires processing is packaged appropriately and delivered to the appropriate laboratory for processing. Once processing is complete, the evidence is returned for trial or safekeeping. The Evidence Technician is responsible for documenting all actions and processes involving the evidence. At the complete end of any case, evidence that is deemed hazardous or will not be needed by any other source, is ordered by the court to be destroyed. Personal items which held evidentiary value may be ordered by the court to be returned to an individual or the agency. In any case, no evidence is ever removed, altered or destroyed without an order from the court with jurisdiction over the case. Destruction orders are handled outside of the public view and are supervised by a Sheriff's Office supervisor.
The Sheriff's Office employs 1 Evidence Technician.
Sex Offender Registration Section
Some persons who are convicted of certain sexual related crimes are required, by law, to register with law enforcement in the county which they reside. For those convicted sex offenders who reside in San Jacinto County, this is handled by the Sex Offender Registration Unit. The information collected by our Sex Offender Registrar (SOR) is broadcast publicly via the Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender site. Sex Offenders are scheduled to come into the office and update their information routinely. Offenders who fail to do so are prosecuted for that failure.
The Sheriff's Office employs 1 person to handle this task. A Deputy Sheriff stands by for security purposes during this registration process.
Background Investigation Section
Any person who files an application for employment with the Sheriff's Office is required, by law, to undergo a full background investigation. The Detective Bureau, while directly responsible for these investigations, utilizes several resources - including Reserve Detective Staff - to accomplish this task. Background investigations may also require actual contact with persons who make recommendations, viewing employment records, polygraph examination, drug tests, and other tools to help determine whether or not an applicant is viable as an employee. The Sheriff prides himself in that each and every person hired to serve our citizens has been vetted to the best possible outcome.
Public Integrity Section
Our mission and moral fiber require that each and every one of our personnel operate with the highest level of integrity at all times - both on and off duty. Our personnel are held to the higher standard at all times.
It used to be said 'complaints are part of police work'. The nature of police work, itself, tends to lend itself to complaints from persons who do not understand the job of a peace officer. Other issues include those who would feel 'entitled' or have a desire to persuade law enforcement to overlook a wrong-doing. Conversely, persons who wear the badge are human beings, and as such, are susceptible to flaws just as other humans are. While your Sheriff makes the best effort to prevent the hiring of individuals who would intentionally harm others, the purpose of our Professional Standards Unit is to provide training and advice to our personnel to help them overcome any tendencies to flaw when dealing with our citizens. If a peace officer fails to connect with the basic mission of our profession, routinely violates policy, or violates the law or civil rights of a person, the case is referred to the Public Integrity Section. As part of the Professional Standards Unit, the Public Integrity Section is the investigative arm of the Sheriff for handling complaints against his employees.
Good and honorable peace officers tend to do the right thing for the right reason at the right time. An internal investigation is a routine part of discovering the facts about an incident between the public and law enforcement. Many years of examination into these things reveals that most complaints against peace officers are simply due to the lack of communication - on either's part. In the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office, the complaint process begins with speaking to the Deputy's supervisor. Our supervisors are available by phone or in person to discuss any issue with our citizens. If such a conversation reveals a necessity for a more involved investigation, the complaining person is then referred to the Public Integrity Section.
The Sheriff has appointed the Chief Deputy to receive and resolve any and all official complaints against our personnel, or the Sheriff's Office in general, and report those finding directly to the Sheriff. The San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office employs 2 Detective Bureau personnel who are certified by the State of Texas as specifically and specially trained in the handling of Internal Affairs Investigations. While the Sheriff prefers to resolve all internal investigations through our own professionally trained investigators, occasionally an outside investigative group is required to assist us in resolving an issue. In such a case, the Sheriff's Office cooperates completely with the Texas Rangers for such needs.
Complaints against peace officers are required, by law, to be in writing and sworn to by the person filing the complaint. A complaint shall not be filed by persons who are not directly involved in an incident. Any witnesses must submit to interview and statements for the investigation. Complaints may be filed for any violation of law, any abuse or mishandling by peace officers, or any perceived situation where a person feels that a peace officer has violated a right or law which directly affects the person. As part of the investigation, recordings and video are reviewed, witnesses are interviewed, physical evidence is analyzed, or a certified polygrapher or other investigative resources and tools may be utilized to assist in the investigation. The purpose of these very important investigations is to reveal the truth and determine if a peace officer has violated the trust and mission of your Sheriff's Office.
The Detective Commander is responsible for conducting all Internal Investigations, and reports directly to the Chief Deputy. These type of investigations are of the highest level of confidentiality. Confidential investigations ensure that witnesses and complaining persons involved are protected from foul or harm because of the investigation. Once complete, these investigations can be revealed only to the result of the investigation - Founded; Unfounded; Founded but Justified; Not Investigable; or Withdrawn. Unless filed as a criminal case, no information into the investigation is publicly available for release. However, in all cases, the complainant shall be welcome to interview regarding the findings of the investigation.