SJPD Special Operations Division

Captain Jason Dwyer
Special Operations Commander
San Jose Police Department


The Special Operations Division is comprised of a number of highly proactive units which support both the Bureau of Field Operations and the Bureau of Investigations.  Officers working in these units are specially trained in the following areas:

  • Tactical responses to critical incidents
  • Traffic enforcement planning and control
  • Overt and covert gang and narcotics investigations
  • Large preplanned demonstrations and events
  • Helicopter and fixed wing air support
  • Dignitary protection
  • Bomb sweeps and investigations
  • Canine deployment
  • Horse mounted patrol
  • Direct support to both bureaus in the apprehension of career criminals and violent offenders.

All assignments under the Special Operations Division are considered unique and fall outside the realm of normal patrol duties.  Each requires a high degree of team camaraderie and discipline.  All officers working in the Special Operations Division receive specialized training and develop a high level of proficiency and expertise for their particular assignment. 



SJPD "Air3" - Airbus H125The primary purpose of the Air Support Unit (ASU) is to provide aerial services for other Units within the San Jose Police Department. In addition, the ASU will provide services for other Departments within the County of Santa Clara. The ASU’s main objectives are to:

  • Provide aerial support for police ground units on matters relating to public and officer safety.  An emphasis will be placed on pursuits, apprehension of fleeing suspects and searches for missing persons who are "at risk"

  • Schedule and perform various public relations appearances and demonstrations.

SJPD helicopter - view over pilots shoulder from the back seat, at sunset.


The ASU flies an Airbus H125. The staff consists of one sergeant, two officer pilots and two officer tactical observers. The ASU is part of the Special Operations Division, Bureau of Field Operations.




BOMB SQUAD Top of page

Bomb Squad PhotoThe San Jose Police Bomb Squad is the largest squad in the South Bay. All squad members are certified Bomb Technicians and are graduates of the Hazardous Devices School (HDS).   The Bomb Squad is classified as a “tier one” squad, by the FBI. Which means it is capable of responding to Bomb technician inspecting a suspicious packagemultiple calls at the same time and possesses the manpower and equipment to handle major incidences involving explosives or weapons of mass destruction. Squad members are available 24/7 and are assigned to being on-call every six weeks, in a two person team configuration. The squad trains a minimum of twice a month for ten hours or sixty hours per quarter. Every three years all members must return to HDS and successfully pass a one week intense recertification course sponsored by the United States Government. The Department’s squad has the very latest in equipment and response vehicles allowing the Bomb Squad to be truly state of the art.

Each member is certified in explosives demolition, hazardous materials, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  The main job of the Bomb Squad is to render safe explosives, improvised explosive devices (IED), respond to suspicious packages, investigate explosive related incidences, perform explosive breaching, handle unexploded ordnance (UXO), process post blast scenes and handle large amounts of dangerous fireworks.

CANINE UNIT Top of page

Canine Officers and partnersThe Canine Unit consists of two teams of officers with five dogs on each team and two supervisors.   Officers assigned to the Canine Unit purchase their own dogs and are allowed to work with the animal for seven years.  The mission of the Canine Unit is to deploy specially trained officers and canines to support the Bureau of Field Operations.  They accomplish this by performing the following duties:

  K-9 on command
  • Searching for fleeing felons
  • Conducting building searches
  • Providing direct assistance to patrol officers on a variety of different calls for service, and
  • Providing demonstrations to various community organizations

K9 Officer - readyWhen unassigned to specific events, canine units also perform direct patrol duties by initiating field contacts with subjects engaged in suspicious activity and making arrests when criminal violations occur.





The Honor Guard and Ceremonial Unit have the responsibility of conducting flag raising ceremonies and honor guard details at special events. The special events include Police Department sponsored functions, parades and officer funerals. The Honor Guard and Ceremonial Unit is a collateral assignment and it consists of 20 officers, 2 sergeants and 1 lieutenant.

Honor Guard



MERGE UNIT Top of page

Picture of MERGE officers after gassing a building The Mobile Emergency Response Group and Equipment (MERGE) Unit is how the San Jose Police Department refers to its “SWAT” team. MERGE consists of two ten person teams and two supervisors.  The MERGE Unit is responsible for supporting the Bureau of Field Operations by providing special skills and equipment to address critical incidents involving threats to life.  In addition, the MERGE Unit assists the Secret Service with dignitary protection and provides direct support to patrol personnel in the apprehension of violent criminals.  MERGE has also adopted responsibility for apprehending career criminals and violent offenders through the cooperative efforts of the Bureau of Investigations and other outside agencies. To accomplish these missions, officers work both in a covert capacity (plainclothes and “cold” cars) and the more traditional MERGE method of operation (uniforms and unmarked police vehicles).  All officers are highly trained in a variety of different weaponry and work closely in a team setting.


Metro Unit InsigniaMETRO UNIT Top of page

The Metro Unit is comprised of specially trained Bureau of Field Operation’s personnel who are primarily responsible for establishing a rapid response program that may be implemented within any part of the City.  The Unit coordinates with the Bureau of Investigations and Bureau of Field Operations Captains to identify areas within the city that are affected by gang-related violence and aggressively enforces all associated crimes.  Metro Unit personnel coordinate with the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force and other community and school organizations, bringing together their combined expertise to intervene, prevent and educate those involved in adult and youth gang situations in San Jose. The Metro Unit gives special attention to illegal narcotic law enforcement, with focus on the street-level user and dealer, and utilizes both overt and covert operations on a daily basis to achieve the established objectives.


Motor Officer pointing a Lidar speed gunTRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT UNIT (TEU) Top of page

Visit the Traffic Enforcement Unit Web Section

The San Jose Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit is part of the Special Operations Division within the Bureau of Field Operations. The primary duty of the Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) is the enforcement of traffic laws in order to reduce traffic collisions, their resulting injuries, and to facilitate the safe and expedient flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. These efforts result in safer roadways and streets, fewer fatalities, injuries, and reduces property damage. The Unit concentrates its enforcement efforts in the areas with the highest collision rates within the city of San José. These efforts have proven to be effective in reducing the numbers of collisions in the City.



In 1994, the San Jose Police Department created the Violent Crimes Enforcement Team (VCET). The establishment of VCET was a result of collaboration from stakeholders of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force (MGPTF) and the San Jose Police Department (SJPD). Its mission was to work collaboratively with the MGPTF to reduce youth violence, utilizing a three-pronged strategy of Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression. From the onset, VCET was fully embraced by members of the SJPD and the community. VCET was not only effective with its suppression efforts, but also was held in high regard for its prevention and intervention work with the MGPTF and the community.

Due to budget cuts, the Department eliminated VCET and consolidated gang enforcement into the Metro Unit in 2010. With the resurgence of gang violence in 2013, and in an effort to suppress the impacts, then Police Chief Larry Esquivel re-established a gang enforcement unit and renamed it GSU (Gang Suppression Unit). Members of GSU and many other Department members expressed a strong desire to bring back the original VCET name and replace the GSU designation. VCET had great historical value to the members of the Department and due to its history, a much more recognizable name amongst the community in our gang enforcement efforts. In May, 2016 Chief Garcia re-named the Gang Suppression Unit to VCET.


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OUR MISSION: Create safe places to live, work, and learn through community partnerships. The Department maintains
a commitment to the following values: Integrity, Courage, Excellence, Service, Diversity, Innovation, and Respect.