Special Operations Bureau patch

The Special Operations Bureau (SOB) provides the Los Angeles Police Department specialized tactical resources in support of daily field activities, unusual occurrences, and during serious disturbances and elevated threat conditions.

SOB also provides line supervision over all of the department's gang enforcement and gang strategies.


Chief Howard

The commanding officer of the Special Operations Bureau is Deputy Chief Fritz Howard and his second-in-command is Commander Ann McGinnis.


Commander McGinnis

In the Major Crimes Universe, it was mentioned that SOB is located in the C. Erwin Piper Technical Center, Piper Tech for short, in downtown Los Angeles, and this is where Deputy Chief Howard's office is located.

In real life, Piper Tech is the home base for the Air Support Division, storing all of the department's helicopters, and the Detective Bureau's Technical Investigation Division, which is responsible for crime scene fingerprints, shoe and tire impressions, photography of crime scenes as well as polygraph examinations. Piper Tech also houses the City's archives and a garage where the city fixes and maintains all official vehicles.

Divisions, Sections, and Platoons of the Special Operations Bureau Edit

Special Investigation Section Edit

  • In the real LAPD, the Special Investigation Section is under the command of the Robbery-Homicide Division rather than SOB and their job differs slightly from the work depicted in the series.

The Special Investigation Section (SIS) is the LAPD's elite tactical surveillance unit. The primary mission of SIS is to determine if the suspects under surveillance are connected to the crimes under investigation, and, if needed, to locate and arrest the suspects. SIS also handles all of the LAPD's kidnap-ransom exchanges and provides undercover security details on subjects if protection is required. SIS also has detectives working undercover in criminal organizations.

Although SIS is assigned to the Special Operations Bureau, its resources are available to any division seeking surveillance on active criminals or crimes.

Known Personnel Edit

Air Support Division Edit


ASD logo

The Air Support Division (ASD) is the airborne unit for the LAPD. It is the largest municipal airborne unit in the United States, consisting of 88 sworn personnel and 19 helicopters.

ASD's missions fall into two operational areas, Air Support to Regular Operations (ASTRO) and Special Flights Section (SFS). ASTRO makes up for approximately 80% of the division’s total flight time, responding to calls and giving information to the officers on the ground. The Special Flights Section provides surveillance and support for detectives and undercover operations.

  • During The Closer and Major Crimes, a real life LAPD Officer, Sergeant Steve Roussell, is featured in his role as a ASD Tactical Flight Officer. He also consults with the production team on all aspects of filming which require the use of LAPD helicopters.

Metropolitan Division Edit


Metro Division logo

The primary responsibility of the Metro Division is to provide support to the Department’s community-based policing efforts by deploying additional crime suppression resources throughout the City. These assignments include uniformed crime suppression details, as well as responding to high-risk barricaded situations, stakeouts, security details, warrant service, and assisting investigators in solving major crimes.

A, B, C, and G Platoons: Crime Suppression Edit


Metro Division patch

A, B, C, and G platoons are usually tasked with crime suppression as well as selective enforcement details in high frequency crime areas and targeting repeat offenders and criminal predators. They often serve high risk search warrants as well and during protection details and high profile events within the city, they deploy heavily armed tactical units for added security.

D Platoon: SWAT Edit


SWAT team patch

D Platoon is the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team of the LAPD. They provide the department with 24-hour coverage necessary for immediate response to barricaded suspects, snipers, crisis and hostage negotiations, potential suicide-related situations, and other high-risk incidents.

E Platoon: Mounted Unit Edit

E Platoon serves as the LAPD's mounted police unit and the reserve unit of the Special Operations Bureau. The platoon currently has 32 horses which deploy to the City streets or during special events to add to the Department’s professional image.

H Platoon: Municipal Executives Protection Detail Edit

H Platoon is responsible for the security teams that protect the Mayor, Chief of Police and City Attorney as well as other dignitaries if needed.

Canine (K-9) Platoon Edit


K-9 Platoon patch

The K-9 Platoon deploys highly trained dog handlers and their canine partners to conduct searches and apprehend felony suspects throughout the Los Angeles area.

M Platoon: Command, Administration, and Support Edit

The M platoon serves as the command and administrative section and also provides the support function for the division. In addition to the administrative duties, they coordinate Metro's many tactical firearms training programs and ensures compliance with state-mandated training. Additionally, this platoon is in charge of the armory that maintains all of Metro’s equipment. This includes the specialized vehicles, weapons, ammunition and other specialized tools used by the division.

Underwater Dive Unit Edit

The Underwater Dive Unit is responsible for investigating underwater crime scenes, search and rescue of property and evidence, and body recovery.

Special Operations Support Division Edit

Gang Support Section (GSS) Edit

Mission of the Gang Support Section is:

  • Identify and cause the arrest of active, violence-prone career criminal gang members
  • Provide oversight and coordination of area Gang Impact Teams (GIT), and
  • Develop and maintain an automated system to identify and track career criminals

GSS is comprised of the Asian Crime Unit, the Gang Field Unit, the Administrative Unit and the LA CLEAR Coordinator.

In addition to field operations on career criminals, GSS also maintains LAPD’s Outlaw Motorcycle Gang files and interacts daily with other agencies monitoring these organizations.

GSS is also responsible for updating the citywide gang database, monitoring and disseminating gang-related criminal statistics, developing an active parolee database, and serving as an liaison to the California Youth Authority and Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Traffic Coordination Section (TCS) Edit

The Traffic Coordination Section provides support and administrative services related to traffic issues. TCS is comprised of the Traffic Analytical Unit, and the Multi-Discipline Collision Investigation Team.

The Traffic Analytical Unit is responsible for conducting traffic related research, analyzing traffic legislation and court decisions as well as proposing additions and amendments to the California Vehicle Code.

The Multi-Discipline Collision Investigation Team (MCIT) is responsible for maintaining the department's Traffic Manual, completing traffic collision reconstructions, providing expert testimonies in court, and being available to investigate traffic collisions and traffic-related crimes that meet MCIT criteria.

Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau Edit


CTSOB logo

In the real LAPD, the Special Operations Bureau was merged with the Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CTCIB) in 2010, creating the new Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau (CTSOB) which was then assigned to the newly created Office of Special Operations.


Chief Frank

The commanding officer of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau is Deputy Chief Horace Frank.

Deputy Chief Frank is assisted by two assistant commanding officers, Commanders Prokop and Zarcone.

Special Operations Edit


Commander Prokop

Commander Edward Prokop assists the Chief in matters related to the original Special Operations Bureau, meaning the Air Support Division, Metropolitan Division, and the Emergency Operations Division.

The Emergency Operations Division (EOD) replaced the Special Operations Support Division (SOSD). The Traffic Coordination Section of SOSD remains in EOD but the Gang Support Section was moved to the Detective Bureau's Gang Operations Support Division. The Gang Operations Support Division later merged with the Narcotics Division to create the Gang and Narcotics Division.

EOD also houses the Contract Services Section, meaning it is responsible for developing, implementing, updating, and supporting Response Information Folders and processing special event permits, required by City Administrative Code.

The Emergency Operations Division also includes the Emergency Management Section, housing components of the pre-merge Emergency Services Division of CTCIB. EOD is responsible for maintaining liaison with the Emergency Operations Organization regarding the Department Operations Center (DOC); assisting department entities in preparations for maintenance operations during natural disasters and other unusual occurrences; developing, coordinating, and delivering incident management training, drills, and exercises to department personnel; coordinating organization and deployment plans for major unusual occurrences; and evaluating procedures, tactics, and techniques to be employed during unusual occurrences.

Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Edit


Commander Zarcone

Commander Peter Zarcone assists the Chief in matters related to the original Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, meaning the real life Major Crimes Division, and the Emergency Services Division.

The Emergency Services Division (ESD) currently only houses the Explosives Unit (Bomb Squad), LAX Bomb Detection K-9 Unit, and the Hazardous Materials Unit (HAZMAT), meaning the original Hazardous Devices Section of pre-merge ESD. Other ESD components were merged to the Emergency Operations Division.

CTSOB in the Major Crimes Universe Edit

In the Major Crimes Universe, the merge that created the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau has not happened as the former Chief of Police, Tommy Delk, was once the Deputy Chief of the fictional Counter-Terrorism Division before his promotion to Chief of Police.

Also, the fictional Criminal Intelligence Division presumably has some of the investigative responsibilities that the real life Major Crimes Division has, tying the division to the Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau.

It is possible that the separate Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Divisions are the Major Crimes Universe's equivalents of the Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, handling different parts of its investigative and operational responsibilities, as the CTCIB does not exist, and has never existed, in the Major Crimes Universe.

Proposed SOB Spin-Off Edit

During Major Crimes, Seasons 3 and 4, there was a possibility that SOB was going to be getting it's own show. While SOB was not officially piloted, the characters that would have appeared in the spin-off were introduced in the Season 3 episode “Two Options”.

Some of the old (and new) cast the new show would have featured would have been Jon Tenney as SOB commanding officer Deputy Chief Fritz Howard, Laurie Holden as SOB assistant commanding officer Commander Ann McGinnis, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner as SIS officer-in-charge Lt. Chuck Cooper. Hampton Fluker and Brock Harris, who were introduced in “Two Options”, would have also returned as SWAT officers Jamey Perez and Chad Stuart, respectively.

The spin-off had been proposed under Michael Wright, the President of TNT & TBS and Chief Creative Officer of Turner Broadcasting, but after Kevin Reilly was appointed to replace him, he did not want another procedural show and the show was scrapped.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD): Organizational chart [PDF]
Ranks of the Los Angeles Police DepartmentAwards of the Los Angeles Police Department
Professional Standards Bureau
Office of Operations:
Major Crimes DivisionDetective BureauSpecial Operations BureauCounter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence DivisionRACR Division

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