Within the Criminal Investigation Division there is a variety of investigative and support operations. These include the following sections or units:
- Persons Crimes
- General Investigations
- Child Abuse/Sex Crimes
- Sex Offender Registration
- Intelligence/Fugitive Task Force
- Auto Theft
- Courthouse Security
- Crisis Intervention Team
The unit is responsible for the investigation of all homicides and suspicious or unexplained deaths. The unit is also tasked with the investigation of assaults and other violent felonies, including, but not limited to, armed robberies, and kidnappings. Additionally, investigations are conducted into allegations of domestic violence against victims 15 years of age or older, but less than 65 years of age.
Criminal Investigators perform a variety of law enforcement duties. Visiting crime scenes, processing and protecting evidence, interviewing witnesses and suspects, and documenting cases make up a large part of their duties. Investigators use the latest technology to investigate criminal cases. Additionally, they obtain warrants on their cases, prepare the cases for court, and testify in courtroom proceedings. This section is responsible for property crimes and the offenses of credit card abuse, identity theft, forgery and various internet-related financial offenses. A great deal of time is spent investigating property crimes. With these cases it is normal for the Investigator to check several local pawn shops in an attempt to recover stolen property.
The Special Crimes Unit conducts criminal investigations into allegations of physical abuse and neglect of children 14 years of age or younger and sexual abuse of children under 17 years of age, sexual assaults of adult victims, and allegations of abuse and neglect of persons 65 years of age or older and disabled persons.
Our Special Crimes Unit participates in a Child Protection Team (CPT) comprised of representatives from Bastrop Police Dept., Elgin Police Dept., Smithville Police Dept., District Attorney’s Office, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Children’s Advocacy Center, juvenile probation, Family Crisis Center, and medical professionals. The CPT reviews all open cases of child abuse with the Advocacy Center serving as the "hub" for all involved agencies. This variety of professionals allows the CPT to investigate each case from different perspectives and to work closer with the partner agencies. As a result of this approach, all agencies in the CPT can better service the child victims and their family members, while working to prosecute the offenders.
It is a criminal offense to suspect child abuse and not report it to either DFPS or law enforcement. If you have any suspicions that child abuse may be occurring, please call DFPS or law enforcement immediately. The Texas Family Code provides protection from civil and criminal action for persons who in good faith report the abuse or neglect of a child. If you witness or suspect an act of abuse taking place and someone is in danger, please call 9-1-1 and ask for help. You may remain anonymous when reporting child abuse and/or neglect. Your phone call may save a child’s life. Not calling may cost a child their life.
Texas DFPS Abuse Hotline: (800) 252-5400
Sex Offender Registration
The Sheriff’s Office Sex Offender Registration has 1 Investigator assigned to register and monitor approximately 298 offenders residing in Bastrop County. Each sex offender is required to register with the County at various intervals. Each year, the Sheriff's Office participates with Operation Lights Out on Halloween night. This operation focuses on offenders who are currently on parole or probation to ensure that offenders do not have their porch light on or display any decorations that would attract trick or treaters. During other times, teams of investigators knock on doors to perform random compliance checks.
The Vice Unit is comprised of 3 investigators, one of which is assigned to the US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Drug Task Force. Bastrop County is within the South Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The Vice Unit’s primary mission is to identify and apprehend narcotic traffickers and users by conducting criminal investigations, stakeouts, undercover operations, interdiction, and surveillance. The Vice Unit coordinates investigations with Federal, State, and local agencies. In addition, the Vice Unit conducts investigations related to public decency crimes, crimes related to quality of life issues for specific geographic regions, or any other assigned special operation or investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office has 1 Investigator assigned to the regional Sheriff’s Combined Auto Theft Task Force. The Investigator’s job is to investigate criminal activity related to auto theft primarily, but not limited to assigned geographical area, perform salvage inspections, VTR-68A inspections of motor vehicles and trailers (Title and registration inspections) dealer inspections, Bait vehicle/trailer operations, locate “chop” shops, perform covert and overt interdiction assignments, investigate insurance fraud and arson cases related to auto theft, assist other task force agents in their assigned areas.
The Sheriff’s Combined Auto Theft Task Force (SCATTF) presently encompasses 17 counties in Central Texas. This is will be our 18th year to participate in the program and its mission is to reduce auto burglary and theft related crimes. This will be accomplished through the collaborative efforts of the Task Force, the support of the local community officials and leaders, business partners and the public. SCATTF is funded by the Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA).
Crisis Intervention Team
The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a group who is specifically trained to respond to persons in mental crisis. CIT officers are licensed peace officers, with a minimum of two years’ experience. All CIT officers are required to complete the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) mental health certification course and may be cross-trained in crisis negotiation.
The Crisis Intervention Team has two primary purposes:
- Responding to emergency calls involving mental health consumers in a mental crisis; and
- Diverting consumers from the criminal justice system and connecting them with mental health services
The CIT is a collaborative program between the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and Bluebonnet Trails Community Services. Bluebonnet Trails Community Services is designated by the State of Texas as the local mental health and mental retardation authority and provides funding for the officer salaries. Through inter-local agreement with each county sheriff CIT officers have jurisdiction in each of the three (3) counties.
Crisis Hotline: 1-800-841-1255
Bluebonnet Trails Community Services: www.bbtrails.org