Emergency Services Bureau

The Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Bureau is comprised of sworn specialized units and volunteer forces to respond to emergency law enforcement activities, search and rescue missions, evidence searches, and requests for mutual aid. The members of these units are highly trained and posses a variety of technical skills. All units are available to respond to mutual aid requests throughout the County and the State of California on a twenty-four hour basis. The goal of all Emergency Services Bureau Units is to swiftly and safely respond to requests for assistance, support, and coordinate the needed services in a manner that promotes the safety and security of the community.


Sheriff’s Specialized Units are staffed with highly trained personnel prepared to respond to a variety of critical incidents and traumatic events. These units operate in a high risk environment and are dedicated to providing a safe resolution to incidents that threaten the safety and security of the community. All units participate in continual rigorous training programs that provide them with the skills and expertise to address the most difficult situations. Sheriff’s Specialized Units are available on a twenty-four hour basis to respond to any location within the County, Region, or State.


The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. Team is comprised of sergeants and deputies from the Sheriff’s Office and three operators from the Belmont Police Department. Our mission is to provide specialized support in situations posing a threat to the life and safety of the citizens of San Mateo County. Many of these situations involve law enforcement tactical operations in a high-risk environment.


The Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) is an on-call unit requiring quick response to situations where SWAT/CNU is needed.  Members of the unit possess good communication skills and have the ability to work under stressful conditions in a team environment.  Prior to appointment, members attend a basic forty hour course in hostage negotiations where practical applications as well as the psychology behind hostage taking are taught.  In addition CNU members are C.I.T. trained which helps when dealing with those with mental illnesses.  The unit is activated throughout the county and remains on scene until a successful conclusion is reached.


The San Mateo County Terrorism Counter Assault Team (TCAT) was formed by the San Mateo County Sheriff and Police Chief’s Association as a result of terrorist acts against the United States of America on September 11, 2001. The TCAT Team is a specialized emergency responder team that consists of tactical operators from established SWAT resources within this county. The team is capable of responding to, and operating in, a weapon of mass destruction environment as an immediate intervention team until federal resources can respond.


The Tactical Response Unit is comprised of Deputy Sheriff's and Sergeants who, together with other like units, come together during periods of Civil Unrest to protect life and property against criminal activity. The Tactical Response Unit trains with other agencies in the county and region to form a mobile field force that is deployed for preplanned events and for unplanned incidents that require a tactical crowd control response.

SHERIFF'S BOMB SQUAD (Explosives Ordinance Unit)

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad is a six person unit, which is comprised of four certified bomb technicians and two explosive canine detection teams. These specially trained and equipped Bomb Technicians respond to: bombings, attempted bombings, actual or suspected improvised explosive device(s), incendiary device(s), military or civilian explosive(s), military ordnance, hoax device(s), fireworks, pyrotechnics or illegal ammunition, shock sensitive hazardous chemical(s), suspicious package(s), or any other explosive related incident. The Bomb Squad also conducts explosive canine detection sweeps, makes presentations and provides support to other units within the Sheriff’s Office, as well as all in county public safety agencies. The Bomb Squad works directly for the Sheriff for in-county responses, as well as all allied police agencies, applicable authorities and special districts, and any sanctioned mutual aid deployments on a 24 hour per day / 7 days per week basis, ensuring a minimum of two Bomb Technicians on call at all times. All Bomb Technicians have successfully completed the two hundred forty (240) hour Basic Course, provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Hazardous Devices School, United States Army - Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville , Alabama. This course provides basic knowledge and certifies the applicant as a Bomb Technician through the FBI Bomb Data Center.


The San Mateo county Sheriff's Office Honor Guard / Ceremonial Unit is made up of twenty deputy sheriffs and correctional officers from every division in the Sheriff's Office. The Honor Guard / Ceremonial Unit posts the National Colors at over twenty different events countywide each year. Additionally the Honor Guard / Ceremonial Unit attends and renders honors at several funerals and memorial services each year. In 2010 the Honor Guard / Ceremonial Unit conducted over 150 hours of flag postings and funeral details. The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard / Ceremonial Unit participates every year in the San Mateo County Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony, The State of California Peace Officer Memorial and in 2010 sent two member to the National Peace Officers Memorial in Washington DC.


The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Off-Road Motorcycle Unit provides support for patrol functions, search and rescue, emergency and disaster support, as well as special events, which may include special enforcement, as directed by the Sheriff. These lightweight motorcycles can go where most vehicles cannot. They are excellent for use in crowd control, special events, and dignitary protection. They can be ridden slowly, which makes them a perfect tool to use at festivals. In addition, they can be used off road, climbing hills on narrow trails in search of lost persons or off road enforcement. Deputies chosen for this unit must demonstrate an exceptional ability to ride off road, from slow speed maneuvering to high-speed moto-cross type riding.


This is a highly skilled group of Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Officers that specializes in Cliff Rescue on the San Mateo County Coast that includes Devils Slide. Members are required to complete a 100 hour technical rope rescue course. The Deputies work and train side by side with the Volunteer Cliff Rescue team.  All members are on call and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.


The Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit is a collaborative effort that works with the volunteer Dive and Marine unit. They assist with training, maintenance and rescues as needed. The unit is responsible for rescues in the bay and on the Coast of San Mateo County that runs from Pacifica to Santa Cruz.


The Sheriff's Office Law Liaison (OESL) are specially trained Sheriffs Sergeants and Deputies that provide support and guidance to the Sheriff's Office or other Law Enforcement agencies in the county.  They help coordinate ICS practices during terrorists or natural disasters, preplanned events such as the Pumpkin Festival, the North Fair Oaks Festival and Dream Machines.  They can serve in the roles of operations, Planning or logistics.  The OESL also coordinates search and rescue missions as well as mutual aid requests. The position is an ancillary duty to their regular assignment.  The OESL is on-call approximately once every six weeks for a week at a time.  The OESL can be contacted through Sheriff's Dispatch 24hrs a day.





The Sheriff’s Volunteer Forces are comprised of several volunteer units with specialized skills. The units are deployed to a number of different types of search and rescue situations, such as looking for lost or missing people or evidence in major criminal cases. The units also participate in community events and fairs, in both unincorporated and incorporated areas of San Mateo County. As part of the mutual aid system, the Sheriff’s Volunteer Forces are available twenty-four hours a day for deployment anywhere in the State. Many of the unit members are certified in emergency medical response and assist the Sheriff's Office with providing services to the citizens of San Mateo County.


Rescue personnel trained in medical and inland search and rescue techniques. Members provide support for tactical situations and planned major events. All needed training is provided during unit meetings and field training exercises.


The Mounted SAR Unit is comprised of horse and rider teams certified in 25 skill areas. Members must have their own horse and trailer. Riders and horses complete standardized training in search techniques and operating within difficult environments.


Bay Area Mountain Rescue Units are comprised of members that train for and practice a wide variety of skills used in wilderness search and rescue operations and technical rescues. Members must be strong backpackers and have some mountain climbing training and equipment. The Unit also provides search and rescue training.


This is a highly skilled group of Sheriff’s Office Volunteers that specializes in Cliff Rescue, Diving and Marine operations. Members attend a 100 hour technical rope rescue course, training in surfaced supplied diving with an emphasis on low visibility and hazardous conditions. The volunteers operate and maintain the Sheriff’s three boats: a 27 foot Farallon, 18 foot rapid deployment rescue boat, 12 foot inflatable boat for use on the bay and inland waters and 2 PWC’s for rapid response and surf rescue.  They are often called to patrol and or search the San Mateo County Coastline, Bay and inland water ways. As part of the mutual aid system, the team has been requested / deployed all over the state for their expertise in the use of side scan sonar.


Members are civilians who volunteer their time to provide air support on search and rescue operations and various other air related law enforcement missions. These dedicated volunteers not only pilot the Sheriff’s plane, but also maintain it to meet or exceed all associated standards. Members must be licensed pilots, preferably with their own plane or access to the use of a plane.


The Communications Unit is comprised of 30 Amateur Radio operators who provide Communications and Logistical support during many different types of operations. Some of these include Disasters, Search & Rescue Events, Community Events (Festivals & Fairs), Trainings and Public Preparedness (Weekly Ham Radio Net & SMC Alert). 


Reserve deputies are individuals who volunteer their time to augment the Sheriff's deputies with patrol and jail assignments. Members also respond to support a variety of emergency situations. Interested individuals must have the appropriate certifications prior to applying. Like full-time deputies, reserve deputies are professionally trained and duly sworn law enforcement personnel. In most cases, reserves are assigned to the same duties as full-time deputies. Since reserve deputies have the same powers of arrest as full-time deputies they are required by law to meet the same hiring, background, medical and field training standards.


Individuals donate their time and skills to assist with many administrative and/or technical duties required throughout the Sheriff’s Office and the County.

EXPLORER POST 810 (Law Enforcement)

This post is comprised of young adult volunteers between the ages of 14 and 20 that volunteer their time to train and work with sheriff's deputies. Their activities include law enforcement training, patrol car ride-a-longs, jail duties and traffic control details.

EXPLORER POST 830 (Search and Rescue)

A group of young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 who are trained in basic wilderness search and rescue as well as evidence searching for major criminal cases. Other activities include disaster preparedness, first aid and basic camping.


This group is comprised a group a dedicated volunteers committed to helping their communities. This Unit helps the Sheriff's Office with delivering a variety of administrative and support functions in the community.