Specialized units are an important part of the Field Operations Bureau. The teams are responsible for community outreach and enforcement efforts.
The Special Enforcement Teams are managed by the Division Commander and include a Directed Enforcement Team for each side of the City, the Civic Center Patrol and the Downtown Liaison Unit.
Over the last few years, Santa Ana’s Downtown has become a vital, fast-growing mixed use of business and entertainment venues. There has been a growth in real estate with the development of Downtown lofts near the Artists Village. Santa Ana’s Mounted Unit works in the Downtown area to provide a visible and more personable interaction with the community.
Other specialized units include Air Support Team, Canine Unit and DUI Enforcement Team out of the Traffic Division. The Police Plan Check office is located in City Hall and is responsible for Crime Prevention programs, special events throughout the City, and working with the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control(ABC).
Canine utilizes police service dogs to supplement front line policing functions. Police canines are used to find and apprehend violent suspects, providing officers an additional non-lethal resource. “Rosie”, the Bloodhound can be used to track the scent of missing persons or suspects. “Shadow”, was the first full-time Therapeutic K-9 in Orange County. In additional to providing emotional support to members of the department, she has also been utilized for the interview of juvenile victims of violent crimes and community engagement events.
Two of the five teams are also trained in the detection of narcotics. This training enables them to assist patrol and narcotics officers, as well as outside law enforcement agencies, in locating illegal drugs.
The canine unit trains their dogs at a variety of locations throughout the City of Santa Ana, including the Wheeler Canine Training Center at Santiago Park. This facility has given the canine officers a facility unlike any other in Southern California.
The canine unit is always in need of a building to use to simulate real life searches for the dogs. Local business owners often open their shops and warehouses for this purpose. The canine officers are extremely grateful for this continuing partnership with the business community.
The Santa Ana Police Department partners with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in providing Airborne Law Enforcement to the city of Santa Ana. The department provides one full-time pilot to the air support unit. The helicopter, named “Duke” responds to thousands of calls for service each year in Santa Ana, providing ground officers with valuable tactical information. Each year the helicopter crews assist with hundreds of arrests, pursuits and crimes in progress. Many suspects would not be captured without the assistance of the helicopter. “Duke” is equipped with the latest technology, such as, HD infrared and video cameras, moving maps, DVD recorders and high powered lighting equipment.
The Santa Ana Police Department Mounted Unit Enforcement Detail was created in 1990 as a volunteer unit. It is now comprised of 11 sworn members and one civilian volunteer. The officers attend the 40 Hour Mounted Enforcement School, provide their own horse, and trains together once a month.
The Mounted Unit may be deployed whenever large groups have gathered for special events for crowd management. The unit is also a valuable resource for high-profile crime suppression in targeted areas, such as city parks and large shopping centers.