Support Division Commander
Commander Ritz is currently responsible for managing the Support Division of the Police Department. Those responsibilities include the Detective Bureau, Narcotics Suppression Unit, Gang Suppression Team Crime Lab, Property Evidence Operations, Emergency Communications Center as well as the Police Records Bureau.
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THE OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
This Lieutenant's position is under the Support Commander and is charged with supervising the Records Bureau, Dispatch, Property/Evidence Room and investigating all formal Internal Personnel Complaints. A written formal complaint submitted by any citizen against a Police Department employee or event that is determined by Administration warranting investigation, is assigned to this Lieutenant. The complaint is thoroughly investigated, documented and the results are forwarded to the Chief of Police for final review and disposition. Complaints can not be accepted via e-mail/Internet mediums. Complaint forms may be obtained from a Supervisor at the Santa Maria Police Department, 222 E. Cook St., Santa Maria.
The Investigations Bureau serves as the major investigative arm of the Police Department. Accordingly, this bureau is tasked with providing the department's follow-up investigative response to felony offenses. This response is primarily aimed at developing prosecutable cases, identifying perpetrators and apprehending criminal offenders. The deployment of investigative resources is generally based on the type of event to be investigated, the specific expertise required and the incident's priority. Concurrently, the Investigations Bureau also collects, identifies, categorizes and secures physical evidence in preparation for subsequent prosecutorial action. It includes the General Investigation Section, the Special Investigations Unit, the Scientific Investigations Unit, the Evidence and Property Control Section and the Records Unit.
SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT
The specialized teams which comprise this unit have been organized to focus on the interdiction of illicit drugs; reduction of gang related offenses and apprehension of criminal gang and narcotic offenders.
Narcotics Suppression Team (NST)
The Narcotics Suppression Team concentrates on narcotic traffickers who bring illicit drugs into our neighborhoods and the active narcotic addicts who victimize our residents and businesses to support their addiction. Their strategy is intentionally designed to identify, target, apprehend and prosecute offenders who use and/or traffic in illicit drugs. Tactics utilized by this team include deployment of undercover officers and the use of cooperative informants to gain information in support of criminal prosecution for drug sales and/or use.
Gang Suppression Team (GST)
The Gang Suppression Team is responsible for the investigation of all gang-related offenses, and the tracking of identified gang members and their associates. The detectives also work closely with the School Resource Officer and patrol officers.
SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS SECTION
This unit is charged with the responsibility of conducting in-depth scientific investigations at major crime scenes and the processing of evidence in the department's crime lab. Work includes latent fingerprint collection and identification, photography, use of laser technology, tool mark comparisons and evidence collection for subsequent identification and prosecution of criminal suspects.
The crime laboratory is responsible for providing technical support to both the line officers and detectives of the Police Department. These services include processing of crime scenes for physical evidence, searching for and comparison of latent fingerprints, crime scene photography, photo lab services including updating the digital mug system, trace metal and gun shot residue recovery, along with some limited ballistic work.
In addition, this unit is responsible for liaison with state and federal crime labs and identification bureaus in other local agencies.
EVIDENCE AND PROPERTY CONTROL SECTION
The Property and Evidence Section is responsible for receiving, cataloging, documenting and storing evidence and recovered property.
Upon completion of court proceedings, arrangements are made for the proper disposition of evidence. This evidence is returned to the rightful owner or otherwise legally disposed of.
The Records Bureau, a vital component of the Police Department, provides assistance to the public. Hours are: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Records' personnel are the initial contact with our residents. They assist residents in obtaining information, direct them to available resources within the department and refer them to the appropriate city agencies and services. This includes providing fingerprinting services, furnishing copies of crime and traffic reports, processing permits to carry concealed weapons and conducting computer searches. In addition, Records registers sex, narcotic and arson offenders residing within the City of Santa Maria.
Working hand-in-hand with the District Attorney's Office, Superior Court, Department of Justice, and other law enforcement agencies, Records oversees dissemination of confidential information for appropriate disposition of cases and statistical purposes.