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Specialized Units

Investigations and Intelligence Unit

Harbor Police Detectives conduct follow-up investigations on arrests and crime reports. They work closely with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and member cities attorney's offices. This unit also works with other federal, state, local and other municipal investigators.

The Investigations and Intelligence Unit is also responsible for conducting background investigations on all potential employees and police recruits. They also work special details and obtain arrest and search warrants, as well as gather criminal intelligence. This unit has two Detective Sergeants, a Detective Corporal, plus one Detective.

Bay Control Officer

There is a unique assignment on the Harbor Police Department: Bay Control Officer. This sworn staff member is reponsible for managing issues related to abandoned boats, sunken vessels or other hazards, storage and impound of vessels, and specific maritime related crimes. The Bay Control Officer also works closely with the Port District's Attorney's Office.

In addition, the Bay Control Officer is an official maritime liaison with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. This position also works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Bay Control Officer has a partnership with the public, the media, the Port of San Diego, and the San Diego Port Tenants Association.

Homeland Security Unit

The Homeland Security Unit was put in place after the terrible events of September 11, 2001. They work to have the Harbor Police Department meet readiness and general security issues that relate to the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and also work with District partners to keep sensitive locations safe and keep commerce flowing. They also manage grant funding for all the Department of Homeland Security initiatives.

Harbor Police Training Unit

The Department's Training Unit is repsonsible for coordinating all in-house and outside agency training. The Training Unit also helps to develop new courses and to stay on top of the newest and evolving training trends. They additionally work with all of the specialized units and task force officers.

A Training Sergeant and a Training Officer handle law enforcement and firefighting/rescue training. Also assigned to this unit is a vital civilian position that is responsible for the planning, travel, expenses and maintaining required records and statistics.

Force Training Unit

The Force Training Unit oversees mutiple force disciplines. This includes the Weapons Training Unit, Defensive Tactics, TASER Training and Integrated Force training. The Weapons Training Unit instructs officers in firearms, while the other units focus on other force optionss, such as individual defensive tactics and less than lethal weapons. All disciplines are brought together through "Integrated Force Training," which trains officers in critical decision-making situations and tactics.

The Harbor Police Department's Force Training Unit has been utilized by other agencies due to their vast knowledge and skill sets. They have worked with developing curriculum for the San Diego Regional Public Safety Academy and coordinated new courses and training for California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).

Mobile Field Force

The Harbor Police Department's Mobile Field Force was created to assist other agencies in San Diego County for civil disobedience or other emergencies that may arise. Members of this unit are given extra training for dealing with civil unrest and provided with special equipment to meet the needs of the situations they may face.

The Harbor Police's Mobile Field Force Unit can also be used to supplement other agencies' teams and can respond anywhere in San Diego County. The Harbor Police Department can activate this asset when it feels it necessary and it can also be activated by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for a county-wide response.

Specialized Task Forces

Narcotics Task Force

The San Diego Harbor Police Department is a partner in the Regional Narcotics Task Force (NTF). Their specific mission is to intercept narcotics and money being smuggled through San Diego's transit centers. Harbor Police officers who are part of this task force are federally cross-sworn, thus giving them State and Federal Government law enforcement authority. The Harbor Police Department is an integral part of this team.

Marine Task Force

The Marine Task Force (MTF) is a Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement based task force. Harbor Police officers assigned to this task force work as a broad and vast team to counter and combat human smuggling as well as drugs, guns, and money that make their way across the United States and Mexican maritime border. Harbor Police  personnel that are assigned to (MTF) are also federally cross-sworn.

Joint Terrorism Task Force

The Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) is a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) based and operated task force. Since the ever changing events of September 11, 2001, several Joint Terrorism Task Forces have been formed across the United States and its territories. These task forces are responsible for conducting assessments, investigations, and field interviews of potential and known terrorist threats within the San Diego Region. The San Diego Harbor Police Department is an active participant with this task force. Harbor Police Officers who are assigned this duty are cross-sworn as federal officers, thus allowing them to enforce all state and federal laws for crimes that have a nexus to both domestic and international terrorism.

Specialized Department Operations

Terrorism Liaison Officer

The San Diego Harbor Police Department has several officers who are Terrorism Liaison Officers. A Terrorism Liaison Officer; (TLO) is any peace officer, firefighter, investigator, federal agent, military investigations personnel, or anyone working closely with the Homeland Security community, who has been properly certified by the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center (RTTAC). Their mission is to serve as a conduit of information between members of the public safety community, public/private sectors and the U.S. Government, in the fight against terrorism.

Operation Stonegarden

The Harbor Police partners with Customs and Border Protection Officers, as well as other federal, state and local agencies, in conducting anti-smuggling patrols along the San Diego County coastline. Patrols include all bays, waterways, beaches, and corresponding U.S. Border areas. This federally grant-funded operation has assisted in numerous successful interdictions of maritime human and narcotic smuggling.


The Harbor Police Department has a Chaplain Program and their goal is to assist employees or individuals to cope with traumatic situations and stress that is encountered while serving the community. Our Chaplain Program provides necessary, critical, and spiritual support at serious incidents where emotional or vocational stress may be present. The Chaplains have specialized training from California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) to supplement their religious education and experience.

Communications Division


The San Diego Harbor Police Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our professional Public Safety Dispatchers go through numerous hours of required training which is mandated by the State, and additional in-house training that is specific to the role of the Harbor Police. The Communications Division has one civilian Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor, five Lead Public Safety Dispatchers, and eight Public Safety Dispatchers. There is also a Lieutenant in-charge of managing the Division.

In 2002, a Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) was developed after the events of September 11, 2001. This center became a model for others to follow nationally and across the globe. In this center, Harbor Police Dispatchers work side-by-side with the United States Coast Guard, United States Navy, California National Guard, and Customs and Border Protection personnel. This system helps to facilitate information sharing, plus provides a fast and timely response to potential incidents to the Department's area of operations.

In addition to this center, the Harbor Police Communications Division also has two other work sites. If situations warrant, there is a backup communications center at a different location and a Mobile Communications Van which can respond to disaster scenes or major incidents.

The Department's Dispatchers handle all types of law enforcement calls, as well as fire emergencies, medical emergencies, environmental issues and maritime service requests. Typically there will be at least two dispatchers for each shift, but more frequently, there are three.

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