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Badge of a New York City Police Department detective
Badge of a New York City Police Department detective

The Detective Bureau is one of 20 bureaus that constitute the New York City Police Department and is headed by the three star Chief of Detectives.

The Detective Bureau's responsibilities include the prevention, detection and investigation of crime.


Each of the eight Detective Boroughs oversees all the precinct squad as well as the homicide squad, gang squad and narcotics squad located within its command. Members of the Detective Bureau work closely with their counterparts in the Patrol Bureau to provide immediate investigations of crimes. Patrol Borough Staten Island is unique among the patrol boroughs of NYPD in that it serves as both a Patrol Borough command and as a quasi-Detective Borough command. The Assistant Chief of the Staten Island Patrol Borough supervises a unit of detectives, which oversees local detective squads in that borough's four precincts.

The Special Victims Division, created in 2003, oversees all the borough Special Victims Squads. The Special Victims Division is part of the Detective Bureau and primarily investigates sex crimes, including:

  • Any child under 13 years of age that is the victim of any sex crime or attempted sex crime by any person.
  • Any child under 11 years of age who is the victim of abuse by a parent or person legally responsible for the care of the child.
  • Any victim of rape or attempted rape
  • Any victim of a criminal sexual act or an attempted criminal sexual act
  • Victims of aggravated sexual abuse
  • Victims of sexual abuse in the first degree

Additional sub-units of the Special Victims Division are listed below:

  • Sex Offenders Monitoring Unit (SOMU): Monitors all state designated sex offenders to ensure they are in compliance.
  • Special Victims Liaison Unit (SVLU): Provides educational lectures to community and advocacy groups, schools and medical institutions concerning public as well as personal safety.
  • DNA tracking unit (DNATU): Tracks and coordinates all scientific evidence relating to investigations involving sexual assault.

A fictional version of the Special Victims Division called the Special Victims Unit appears in the television program Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

The Major Case Squad – one of the eight squads, task forces and teams in the Special Investigation Division – is located at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. It handles the following cases:

  • Kidnappings as directed by the Chief of Detectives
  • Burglary or attempted burglary of a bank or bank safe
  • Bank robbery or attempted bank robbery by an unarmed perpetrator
  • Burglary of a truck with contents worth more than $100,000
  • Larceny of a truck with contents worth more than $100,000
  • Truck hijacking
  • All robberies in warehouse depots or similar locations where the object of the crime is a truck or its contents
  • All commercial burglaries in which the value of the property stolen exceeds $100,000

The television program Law & Order: Criminal Intent features a fictional version of the Major Case Squad, which spends a majority of its time on high-profile murders—an area that the real Major Case Squad does not deal with.

The Crime Scene Unit (CSU) is a part of the NYPD Detective Bureau's Forensic Investigations Division, responsible for forensic investigations of all homicides and sexual assaults, as well as other crimes as deemed necessary by an investigating supervisor. Members of the Crime Scene Unit assist the precinct detectives in the processing of a crime scene as well as determining the proper routing of evidence between the Medical Examiner's office, the NYPD Police Lab and the NYPD Property Clerk.

The Crime Scene Unit is composed of NYPD detectives (or occasionally police officers that are awaiting their promotion to detective), not civilian technicians like crime scene units in other parts of the United States. Generally these detectives come from an Evidence Collection Team which is operated at the borough level.

The Crime Scene Unit covers all of the boroughs of New York City, but is staffed with less than 1% of the total number of detectives in the NYPD. These detectives are dedicated to doing what is necessary to ensure that the precinct detectives and the District Attorney have as much evidence to identify the perpetrator of the crime and convict them at trial.

The Crime Scene Unit has at its disposal many tools to process a crime scene including the materials needed to develop fingerprints, cast footwear and tire impressions, follow the trajectory of bullets fired through windows and the chemicals necessary to observe blood under special lighting conditions that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. The unit is also trained to process a crime scene in a hazardous environment, for example following a nuclear, biological or chemical attack.

Fictional versions of the Crime Scene Unit appears frequently in many television series and movies set in New York City, most notably the first 4 series in the Law & Order franchise as well as in CSI: New York.

The Central Robbery Division deploys five Borough Robbery Squads (Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island) manned by seasoned detectives to investigate serious robbery cases. Such cases include borough and citywide robbery patterns and all home invasion robberies. This division is the lead investigative unit for all planned or anticipated robberies within New York City and has a Joint Robbery Task Force in which members work in tandem with the ATF, FBI and U.S. Marshals.

The division is led by a Deputy Chief (one star) and has two Captains as Zone Commanders. Each individual squad is staffed with a Lieutenant as the Commanding Officer and Sergeants to run teams of Detectives. Each of the detectives assigned are from vast investigative backgrounds such as Precinct Detective Squads, Narcotics, Street Crime Units, Firearm Investigative Squads and Fugitive Enforcement Squads. This well rounded expertise assists in the long term prosecution of criminals and their apprehension.


Overall command is, as said above, the Chief of Detectives [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|3 Gold Stars.svg|h23|w75]]

Units within the Detective Bureau include the:

  • Detective Borough Commands Detective Borough Brooklyn—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Detective Borough Bronx—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Detective Borough Manhattan South—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Detective Borough Manhattan North- Deputy Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|1 Gold Star.svg|h26|w27]] Detective Borough Queens—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Central Investigation and Resource Division—Inspector [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|Colonel Gold-vector.svg|h27|w54]] Homicide Analysis Unit Photographic Services Hostage Negotiation Team Crime Stoppers Unit Training Unit Forensic Investigation Division—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Bomb Squad Police Laboratory Ballistics Unit Crime Scene Unit—Deputy Inspector [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|US-O4 insignia.svg|h31|w30]] Latent Print Unit DNA Liaison Unit Fugitive Enforcement Division—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Cold Case Squad Juvenile Crime Squad Warrant Section Violent Felony Apprehension Squad Special Investigation Division—Assistant Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|2 Gold Stars.svg|h25|w54]] Major Case Squad Missing Persons Squad Arson and Explosion Squad Surveillance and Apprehension Squad Joint Terrorism Task Force Joint Bank Robbery Task Force Joint Robbery Apprehension Team Hate Crimes Task Force Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad Special Victims Division—Deputy Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|1 Gold Star.svg|h26|w27]] Special Victims Liaison Team Sex Offender Monitoring Unit DNA Tracking Unit Borough Special Victims Squads Transit Special Victims Squads Cold Case Special Victims Squad Central Robbery Division- Deputy Chief [[INLINE_IMAGE|//|// 1.5x, // 2x|1 Gold Star.svg|h26|w27]] Borough Robbery Squads Transit Borough Robbery Squads Surveillance Teams Joint Robbery Task Force (NYPD, ATF, FBI, USM) Grand Larceny Division- Deputy Chief Borough Grand Larceny Squads BLAST- Burglary Larceny Apprehension Surveillance Teams Financial Crimes Task Force Special Frauds Squad Other units Borough Homicide squads Borough Gang Squads Borough Overdose Squads Criminal Enterprise Division Vice Enforcement Division Narcotics Borough District Attorney's Squad Gun Violence Suppression Division

Popular culture

Over the years, NYPD Detectives have been fictionalized in television police procedurals such as Law & Order and three subsequent spin-offs, NYPD Blue, CSI: NY, Blue Bloods and many others.

See also

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