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The Special Victims Detail is comprised of nine investigators, two office specialists and one sergeant. Five investigators are assigned to investigate reports of sexual assaults against adults and minors. Investigators are also assigned to the Sex Offender Notification and Registration Team (S.O.N.A.R.), the FBI’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team (S.A.F.E.) and elder abuse. The investigators assigned to Special Victims are responsible for the in-depth follow-up investigation of any criminal allegation which is sexual in nature. The investigators are also tasked with investigating all Child Abuse Registry (CAR) reports forwarded to Social Services. These cases include rape, sexual assault or battery, sexual abuse and molestation of children.
In addition to the above responsibilities, the investigations of all reports of indecent exposure that occur within the Sheriff’s Department jurisdiction are assigned to this detail. The consistent review and tracking of indecent exposure reports has resulted in the identification of commonalties between incidents whether they occur in Sheriff’s jurisdiction or in the jurisdiction of another law enforcement agency. Where appropriate, identified suspects or crime trends can result in covert and overt surveillance and community notifications.
The emotional aspect of sexual assault incidents makes it essential that the investigative response include a holistic approach to the citizens who have been impacted by these crimes. Therefore, investigators working on cases in this discipline assist victims and witnesses with referrals to counseling and community based services to aid in their recovery, ability to negotiate the judicial system, and to prevent future victimization. This approach has improved the level of service to the citizens of Orange County.