Skip to main content

Special Investigations Division

Home > Departments > Sheriffs Police > Special Investigations Division

Special Investigations

The Special Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Police is comprised of specialized units that investigate specific types of crimes. Officers in these units often receive additional training relative to their assignments, arming them with tools that enable them to initiate and conduct productive investigations into gang, drug and vice related criminal activities.

Bomb Squad

The Sheriff’s Police Bomb Squad is the only full-time explosives detection and recovery unit available to suburban and Federal agencies, responding to calls from Cook, DeKalb, Grundy, Kankakee, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. All members of the Bomb Squad have been deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service, enabling them to cross geographical borders to assist agencies outside their primary jurisdiction when requested.

Members of the Bomb Squad complete eight weeks of intense training at the United States Army’s Hazardous Devices School in Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Technicians are mandated to re-certify every three years to maintain their credentials.

Fugitive Warrants Unit

The Sheriff’s Police Fugitive Warrants Unit is responsible for all criminal warrants lodged in Cook County. This is a daunting task with an average of 40,000 active warrants at any one time.

Fugitive Warrants investigators are specially trained in extradition law and receive specialized training, exceeding Homeland Security standards, to fly while armed in order to perform their duties. Many investigators are members of the U.S. Marshal’s Great Lakes Regional Task Force, and as such have been issued Special Deputy U.S. Marshal credentials, enabling them to cross state lines in pursuit of fugitives.

More than 3,559 wanted subjects were apprehended in 2011.

Gang Unit

The Sheriff’s Police Gang Unit consists of six teams, five of which deploy geographically by court district and a sixth that works closely with the Criminal Intelligence Unit at the Cook County Jail. In addition to investigating gang activity throughout Cook County, officers from the unit are also involved with several Federal task forces and participate annually in the U.S. Marshal’s Service’s “Operation Falcon” warrant sweep.

During 2009, the Gang Unit executed more than 260 search warrants, made more than 4,400 arrests, confiscated nearly 400 guns and seized more than $2.4 million dollars (street value) in various illegal drugs.

Helicopter Joint Task Force


The Helicopter Joint Task Force provides air support for a variety of investigative purposes, including missing persons, search and rescue, offender apprehension, police pursuits, and Homeland Security surveillance.

Shared with the Chicago Police Department, the Helicopter Unit consists of two helicopters that will deploy, as requested, all over Cook County. The task force is made up of 11 officers from the Sheriff’s Police and Chicago Police departments, each of whom have specialized training in aerial policing tactics

Hostage Barricade and Terrorist


The Sheriff’s Police Hostage Barricade and Terrorist (HBT) Team consists of specially trained tactical officers who serve on a voluntary, call-out basis. HBT averages 60-65 activations a year for various situations including active shooters, barricaded subjects, hostage scenarios, high risk warrants and dignitary protection. Requests for HBT assistance come from the Sheriff’s Police, local suburban law enforcement and Federal

Members of HBT must successfully complete a certified Basic SWAT School before participating in Team activations. In addition to their regular assignments, members of HBT train together one complete week a year and 16 additional hours a month. They also receive approximately 100 hours a year in specialized outside training, in addition to the above. The Sheriff’s Police HBT is compliant with the National Tactical Officers’ Association’s standards.

HBT has participated in various national competitions over the last several years and have received numerous awards from outside agencies including the Illinois Tactical Officers Association and the Illinois Crime Commission.

K9 Unit

Formed in November, 1997, the Sheriff’s Police K-9 Unit originally consisted of 8 officer-German Shepherd teams. The last original German Shepherd retired from service in 2004.

This Unit now consists of 8 officer- Belgian Malinois teams. Since 2004, 200 new police dogs have been trained and 1,250 police dogs have been recertified by the unit’s Master Trainer, who was named 2009 Master Trainer of the Year by the North American Police Work Dog Association. Another officer is a dual handler: in addition to his Belgian Malinois, he also works with the department’s only Bloodhound, Melanie, who in her two years of service has successfully tracked and found five missing individuals.

The K-9 Unit responds to hundreds of requests for assistance each year from the Sheriff’s Police and local, Federal and State agencies. Canine teams are utilized in locating narcotics, finding missing persons, search and rescue missions and locating fugitives.

Special Operations Unit


The Sheriff’s Police’s Special Operation Unit is comprised of:
Special Investigation Unit
Child Exploitation Unit
Vice /Human Trafficking Unit
Gun Team
Department of Revenue Initiative
Detached Services

The Special Investigations Unit conducts confidential investigation, investigates counterfeit and trademark violations, fraud, and organized theft and crime rings

The Special Investigations Unit has seized more than $8 million worth of counterfeit merchandise.

The Child Exploitation Unit conducts proactive undercover investigations to locate and arrest individuals attempting to sexual abuse children utilizing digital media. The unit also conducts reactive child sexual abuse, child exploitation, and child pornography investigations

Since its inception in 1998 the unit has a 100 percent conviction rate on Internet related child exploitation investigations.

The Vice/Human Trafficking Unit conducts investigation into prostitution, including street solicitations and Internet prostitution, pimping, human trafficking and juvenile prostitution.

The Vice/Human Trafficking Unit was responsible for the investigation, arrest and successful prosecution of the first guilty plea for Human Trafficking and the first Human Trafficking trial conviction in the State of Illinois.

The Gun Team assists in the Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) compliance and conducts investigations involving straw purchasers and gunrunning

In 2013, the Gun Team recovered more than 270 FOID cards from individuals who had their FOID cards revoked. These revocations were for various reasons ranging from psychological problems to active orders of protection. The team recovered and or seized more than 280 guns from individuals illegally possessing firearms, illegally selling firearms, or from individuals who were in a revoked FOID status.

Department of Revenue Initiative investigators are assigned to work closely with the Cook County Department of Revenue. The Unit assures that all commercial locations selling tobacco products are in compliance with the Cook County Tax Revenue statutes.

Detached Services is comprised of investigators assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and The Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL).

Search

Recent Press Releases