The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office was founded in 1850, making it one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the State of California. There have been twenty seven persons serving in the capacity of Sheriff since 1850. Sheriff Laurie Smith is currently the twenty-eighth person elected to serve as Sheriff of Santa Clara County. Sheriff Smith has served as the Sheriff since January 1999.
The Sheriff's Office is divided into 3 major bureaus: Enforcement, Custody/Services, and Administrative Services. Two Assistant Sheriff's oversea the three bureaus.
Currently, the Sheriff's Office has 1,725 employees. Of those employees, 1,299 of them are sworn law enforcement officers. These positions are broken down as follows:
- 1 Sheriff
- 1 Undersheriff/Chief of Corrections
- 2 Assistant Sheriffs
- 14 Captains
- 24 Lieutenants
- 117 Sergeants
- 1,142 Deputies
- 395 Enforcement Deputies
- 747 Correctional Deputies
In addition to the full-time badge staff, the Sheriff's Office has 65 Reserve Deputy Sheriffs. To support the entire operation, the Department employs 426 non-sworn, civilian staff.
There are several specialized units and teams within the Sheriff's Office. These include Canine Unit, Search & Rescue, Dive Team, Traffic/Motorcycles, Off-Road Enforcement Team, Hostage Negotiation Team, SERT (Sheriff's Emergency Response Team), Crowd Control Unit, SORE (Sheriff's Off-Road Enforcement Team), Narcotics Task Force, ERT (Emergency Response Teams), Jail Intelligence Unit, SAFE (Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement) Task Force, REACT (Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team) Task Force, CASU (Custodial Alternative Supervision Unit), Parks Boat Patrol, Intelligence/Vice Unit and Bomb Squad.