The Special Operations Section is staffed by deputies who have advanced skill levels in specific fields of law enforcement. Deputies trained in many of the Special Operations functions maintain an on-call status, responding to critical incidents as a collateral duty to their primary assignments.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has two deputies who are appointed as State of South Carolina constables and authorized to conduct and enforce statutory and regulatory laws concerning the possession, sale, manufacture and transportation of alcoholic beverages.
These deputies conduct regular inspections of locations licensed or permitted to sell alcoholic beverages: restaurants, bars, special events, etc. In addition, deputies assigned to the ABC Unit conduct investigations into the illegal possession, sale, manufacture, transportation or consumption of beer, wine or liquor.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office’s Aviation Unit was established in 2014.
It consists of two OH-58 Bell helicopters acquired through the 1033 federal surplus program.
The Aviation Unit gives deputies an aerial vantage point for a variety of law enforcement operations, such as manhunts for fugitives; missing adults and children; missing boaters; as well as for parades and community rallies.
The Aviation Unit is available to respond 24/7 to assist law enforcement agencies within Beaufort County and, through mutual aid agreement, throughout South Carolina.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has personnel assigned as crime analysts, who gather and provide intelligence to aid in ongoing criminal investigations.
Sheriff’s Office crime analysts are trained to access and collate information through criminal history checks; background checks; firearms traces; familial associations; Department of Motor Vehicles and other government databases; social media and other available online resources.
Research by crime analysts often helps to identify or thwart potential threats to public safety; to uncover criminal and suspicious activities; and to locate wanted persons, runaway juveniles, missing persons, stolen vehicles and other stolen property.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has crisis negotiators trained in the use of specialized communication techniques to resolve critical, high-risk situations.
These negotiators respond to barricaded subjects, hostage-takers or persons threatening suicide in an effort to establish a dialogue, de-escalate and resolve situations without violence, injury or loss of life.
Deputies assigned to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office’s Crisis Negotiation Team are on-call and prepared to respond to critical incidents around the clock.
Because much of Beaufort County is surrounded by water, the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team is trained to conduct underwater search and recovery operations. Primarily, the Dive Team is called on to recover evidence in criminal cases and to search for missing boaters or swimmers.
In addition, the Dive Team responds in support of the SWAT Team during waterborne operations and, if requested, supports neighboring agencies in water searches and evidence recovery.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Environmental Crimes Unit is responsible for investigating cases involving illegal dumping, littering violations, unlawful use of business dumpsters, unsecured loads and illegal dump sites. This unit also conducts patrol of the properties owned by Beaufort County Open Land Trust. The Environmental Crimes Unit works directly with Beaufort County Public Works, Solid Waste and Recycling. They work closely with the Bluffton Police Department, Beaufort Police Department, Port Royal Police Department, South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, United States Coast Guard and the Department of Natural Resources.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Unit consists of deputy sheriffs who detect and render safe various explosives and incendiary devices.
Members of the Explosive Ordnance Unit are highly trained in the detection and configuration of improvised explosive devices (IEDs); military ordnance; commercial explosives; chemical, biological and radiological devices; and pyrotechnics.
Deputy sheriffs assigned to the unit hold certifications as bomb technicians through the FBI; hold HazMat-technician level and SCUBA diver certifications; and have successfully completed an extensive Hazardous Device course proctored by the United States Army at its Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
The unit rapidly responds to investigate reports of suspicious packages and bomb threats in Beaufort County and its neighboring jurisdictions.
The Marine Patrol Unit enforces State and local laws on the waterways and beaches in Beaufort County.
The unit is available for the calls for service 24/7. The unit supports all units within the Sheriff’s Office and assists in-county jurisdictions along with federal and state agencies.
The Marine Patrol Unit is also part of a Multi-Agency Maritime Response Group which assists in a Regional Response for Homeland Security missions along the Eastern Coast of South Carolina.
The Marine Patrol Unit patrols Daufuskie Island on a regular basis. The Marine Patrol has a vital role in patrolling the waterways of Beaufort County and allows a means of reaching many inhabited islands within Beaufort County for law enforcement and rescue missions.
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Units and Bloodhound Tracking Team act in support of patrol, investigative, and other public safety operations.
Patrol K-9 Units are assigned to Sheriff’s Office handlers who are assigned to shifts throughout Beaufort County. They are deployed as needed to assist local, state, and federal agencies for backup to enhance officer safety; tracking of fleeing subjects; evidence search and recovery; building searches; and illegal drugs searches.
The Bloodhound Tracking Team is a specialized tactical team consisting of multiple dogs and handlers. The team is on call 24/7 to assist the Sheriff’s Office and other agencies with fleeing felons; searches for lost or missing children; searches for patients with memory related issues; and community relations.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team members are trained to respond to high-risk situations, including barricaded subjects, hostage incidents, fugitive manhunts, warrant service, civil disturbances, terrorists and weapons of mass destruction incidents, and waterborne operations.
SWAT Team members approach operations in a manner to reduce the chances of increased violence. This includes the implementation of less-lethal weapons, robots and other specialized equipment to apprehend armed or dangerous subjects.
The Beaufort County Violent Crimes Task Force is responsible for the investigation of gun violence, gangs and illegal drugs throughout Beaufort County.
Sheriff’s Office personnel coordinate their efforts with federal, state and municipal law enforcement partners to more effectively address these types of crimes and activities that commonly traverse jurisdictions.
Many subjects involved in gang violence, drug trafficking, murders and other violent activities have been identified and arrested through Violent Crimes Task Force investigations.