Chief of Detectives : James W. Essig
In March 2016, the Detective Bureau was restructured, establishing a unified command for all investigatory operations to further reduce crime in New York City. Under the reorganization, detective borough chiefs oversee investigations conducted by the precinct detective squads, as well as narcotics boroughs, vice modules, and gang squads, providing full integration of investigative efforts in each of the eight borough commands. The bureau's specialized divisions, not assigned to the borough commands, are also commanded by chiefs.
The Detective Bureau is responsible for the prevention, detection, and investigation of crime, and its work often complements the work of police officers assigned to the precincts. Detective work is highly specialized, usually encompassing the examination and evaluation of evidence to apprehend suspects and to build solid cases against them. The bureau ensures that each one of its commands conducts solid, high-quality investigations in a timely manner and that each investigation is handled efficiently, with dedication and professionalism.
Some of the commands, divisions, and specialized units are described below.
Borough Investigative Chiefs
Borough Investigative Chiefs oversee a coordinated investigatory effort that operates parallel to each patrol borough—Manhattan South, Manhattan North, Bronx, Brooklyn South, Brooklyn North, Queens South, Queens North, and Staten Island.
- Gang Squad detectives collaborate with other members of law enforcement, community groups, and schools. The squads closely monitor social media to identify members of gangs and crews, and dismantle these organized criminal groups through actionable intelligence, targeted enforcement, and coordinated federal and local prosecutions. Detectives also investigate gang activity, methods of recruitment, and gang-motivated crime.
- Homicide Squads investigate homicides and serious Assault 1 cases that involve firearms, work with precinct detectives, and contribute additional resources to solve cases.
- Narcotics Borough detectives conduct enforcement to dismantle narcotics organizations operating within each borough, often coordinating with other investigatory units and officers on patrol.
- Overdose Squads investigate fatal and non-fatal overdoses and work with precinct detective squads to identify and arrest those responsible.
- Precinct Detective Squads are located in each precinct where detectives work closely with patrol officers and Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) to investigate, solve, and prevent crimes.
Special Victims Division
Special Victims Division (SVD) investigates sex crimes and cases of alleged child abuse. The SVD works in partnership with victim advocates and other city agencies, such as the Administration for Children's Services.
Forensic Investigations Division
Forensic Investigations Division investigators and civilian criminalists perform work in the police laboratory, located in Queens. The division performs chemical and/or physical analyses of evidentiary materials, such as: hair, fibers, bodily fluids, fingerprints, gunshot residue, fire accelerants, questioned documents, controlled substances, soil, metals, polymers, glass, and other types of forensic trace evidence required in scientific criminal investigations.
Special Investigations Division
- Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad (ACIS) has taken over enforcement responsibilities from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This team of investigators is deployed to incidents where there is a suspicion of animal abuse or neglect. Because of the unit's unique skillset, the NYPD's ACIS team has responded to assist multiple outside agencies in a collaborative effort to protect the welfare of pets and other animals.
- Arson & Explosion Squad members determine the cause of fires and explosions and whether any criminality is involved. The Arson & Explosion Squad has citywide jurisdiction over selected arson crimes and any incidents involving the use, possession, or sale of explosives. It is also the central repository of this type of intelligence for the city and maintains liaison with the NYC Fire Department and Bureau of Fire Investigation, as well as other concerned local, state, and federal agencies.
- Cold Case Squad reexamines cases, usually homicides, which have gone "cold" when detectives seem to have exhausted investigative leads. There is no delineated time frame for cold cases. Members of this squad may be charged with investigating homicides that occurred decades ago.
- Computer Crimes Squad detectives perform forensic examinations of digital and multimedia devices to develop evidence related to crimes. They are the designated lead agency and coordinator for the New York City Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force which is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. A large percentage of their cases relate to online child sexual exploitation and child pornography. They also conduct investigations involving cyber security incidents and events.
- Hate Crime Task Force investigates crimes determined to have been motivated by bias concerning the victim's race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
- Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) members are trained to peacefully resolve potentially volatile situations through negotiation. HNT detectives are dispatched to critical events and other crises involving hostages or, in many cases, emotionally disturbed persons who pose a grave threat to themselves or others.
- Major Case Squad detectives are highly experienced and work closely with federal law enforcement investigators to address a specific roster of serious crimes, such as kidnappings, bank robberies, and hijackings.
- Missing Persons Squad investigators are charged with finding missing persons. Cases may focus on a person missing under suspicious circumstances, or a case can be prompted by an active Amber or Silver Alert.
Criminal Enterprise Division
- Auto Crime Division identifies, investigates, and arrests individuals or groups responsible for the organized or repeated theft of vehicles. In an effort to reduce auto theft in New York City, the division conducts long-term investigations and performs extensive analyses of citywide patterns and trends. Team members also investigate fraudulent complaints of vehicle thefts and monitor operations of second-hand auto and auto parts dealers, junk yards, dismantlers, re-builders, and scrap processors. They are also called upon to assist other NYPD commands in examining and identifying stolen vehicles and forged vehicle documents, as well as recovery of stolen vehicles and parts.
- Criminal Enterprise Investigative Section conducts long-term investigations of criminal enterprises in conjunction with federal, state, and local partners in order to secure the best possible prosecutions and recover illegally gained profits through forfeiture proceedings. The division targets large-scale criminal enterprises, including traditional organized crime, large-scale smuggling, money laundering, health care fraud, and insurance fraud.
- The NYPD is also a key member of two multi-jurisdictional units: the Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Strike Force.
Fugitive Enforcement Division
Fugitive Enforcement Division (FED) houses several subunits, such as the Warrant Section and the Violent Felony Apprehension Squad. Often working jointly with the U.S. Marshals Service and other entities, members assigned to FED are tasked with apprehending individuals wanted for every level of crime.
Real Time Crime Center
Real Time Crime Center is a centralized, technology-driven support center which uses state-of-the-art technology, such as facial recognition and link-analysis software, to provide instant, vital information to detectives and other officers at the scene of a crime.
- The Social Media Analysis & Research Team (S.M.A.R.T) analyzes social media for chatter, videos and relative information in regards to active investigations. The SMART Unit also identifies patterns and trends on social media such as bullying, gang activity, and types of crimes and translates the information into useable intelligence for patrol officers in the field. SMART also collects and memorializes this information as evidence in police investigations. The unit also offers presentations to agencies and the public on the dangers and uses of social media.
Central Robbery Division
Central Robbery Division identifies and investigates robbery patterns that cross precinct and borough boundaries throughout the city. The Central Robbery Division also has case responsibility for specific robbery investigations such as cell phone stores, pharmacies, check cashing locations, home invasions, and social media type robberies. The Division is also partnered in a task force with the ATF that identifies violent robbery crews and prosecutes them federally within the Eastern and Southern Districts. The Division is also responsible for investigating all crimes occurring within the transit system.
District Attorneys Squad
District Attorneys Squad serves as an investigative liaison between each of the city's five district attorneys and the detective bureau.
Grand Larceny Division
Grand Larceny Division uses a comprehensive investigative and analytical approach to address citywide grand larcenies, identity theft, financial crimes, cybercrimes, and other property-related offenses.
Gun Violence Suppression Division
Gun Violence Suppression Division identifies individuals and organizations responsible for the trafficking and sale of illegal firearms in New York City and dismantles them. The division utilizes a number of avenues, including undercover police officers and confidential informants, to reduce the number of guns on the streets. It also organizes Violence Reduction Task Forces to target violent groups using firearms throughout the city.
Vice Enforcement Division
Vice Enforcement Division identifies persons or organizations that are involved in human trafficking, prostitution, and internet crimes against children, focusing on victim-based crimes.