District helicopter, mounted patrol and police boat on a lake

Operations Division

The Operations Division serves to protect the lives and property of visitors and employees as well as to protect the Park District's vast natural resources and wildlife, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

The Operations Division patrols all 73 Regional Parks covering over 125,000 acres in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. These patrols are accomplished by police officers, professional staff, and volunteers using a variety of methods including vehicles, ATVs, horses, boats, helicopters, and walking. 

Lieutenant Terrence Joseph Cotcher supervises Patrol teams Wednesday to Saturday and Investigations. He manages the VA contracts and serves as the San Francisco Water/EBMUD Watershed Contract Liaison. He also serves as the Watch Commander Monday to Thursday. Contact info: 510- 690-6528, tcotcher@ebparks.org

Lieutenant Giorgio Chevez supervises Patrol teams Sunday to Wednesday, the Special Enforcement Unit, and the Air Support Unit.  He serves as the Watch Commander Tuesday to Friday. Contact info: 510-690-6526, gchevez@ebparks.org

Air Support Unit

The District's Police Department operates two turbine-powered helicopters that provide seven-days-a-week police patrol coverage. The Air Support Unit operates with a Chief Pilot/Police Sergeant, Police Officer/Helicopter Pilots, Tactical Flight Officers (TFOs), and an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist. Helicopter crews work in concert with District Police patrol officers to ensure the safety of all park visitors. In addition, District Police helicopters may assist any allied police agency requesting mutual aid. District Police aircraft are equipped with multiple police band radios, high-powered binoculars, thermal-imaging equipment, and a 30-million candlepower Nightsun® spotlight for night operations.

During the prolonged hot, dry months of the summer and fall, the Helicopter Unit teams up with the District Fire Department to provide Heli-Tac and water bucket responses to fires. Bambi Bucket® equipment is carried on all routine patrol flights, enabling a rapid response to fires. If a fire should erupt, the Bambi Bucket is quickly attached to the helicopter for direct attack. Ponds, streams, and lakes are ready water sources for providing rapid delivery of water on active fires via the Bambi Bucket. During times of extreme fire hazards, Park District Fire Fighters act as Heli-Tac crewmembers and are transported swiftly to fires. Once deployed at the fire scene, Heli-Tac crews act in concert with the water-dropping helicopter in an effort to extinguish fires quickly.

When not fighting crime, fires, or saving lives, the District helicopters provide other valuable services as well. Protection of natural resources, wildlife surveys, global positioning satellite mapping flights, photographic missions, vegetation management surveys, and land surveys are examples of just a few of the additional services provided. It is the unique perspective afforded by aerial over-flights that make the District Police helicopters such a valuable tool.

Helicopter on grassland

Investigations Unit

The Investigations Unit is part of the Operations Division and is staffed with one sergeant and four detectives. This unit is responsible for conducting follow-up investigations on all crimes that occur within East Bay Regional Park District police jurisdiction. Investigations work closely with the Alameda and Contra Costa County District Attorney's Offices to obtain criminal filings and to pursue the prosecution of suspects who have been arrested. The detectives in this unit also work closely with their counterparts in other law enforcement agencies to ensure coordination of criminal investigations. One officer is also assigned to a task force for a 3-year rotation to assist in narcotics investigations.

The Investigations Unit maintains a tip line that citizens can call to provide information confidentially about crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the District Police. The tip line telephone number is (510) 690-6521.

Special Enforcement Unit

Under the command of the Operations Division, the Special Enforcement Unit applies enforcement efforts on significant policing issues that occur in District parklands. This unit utilizes a variety of methods and tools to carry out its mission, including the use of off-road vehicles and motorcycles, bicycles and foot patrol. Officers often change their patrol routines to provide the best enforcement options needed to address the identified problems.

Members of the Special Enforcement Unit work as a team to provide added investigative support for the Investigations Unit in high-profile criminal cases. Additionally, officers are assigned to public special events within the District where they provide security and crime prevention functions.

EBRPD Police Officers on ATV

Marine Patrol Unit

The Marine Patrol Unit provides a unique and important service for the District and those visitors who enjoy water-related recreation. Using police-equipped watercraft, officers patrol the District's lakes and waterways ensuring that environmental, boating safety, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife matters are addressed. Since boating safety is of prime concern to the District, the Marine Patrol Unit conducts proactive enforcement efforts on the District's high-use waterways.

See also: California Department of Boating and Waterways and United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

Police boat on water

Mounted Patrol Unit

This unique and popular unit conducts its patrol on horseback. To enhance the effectiveness of the Police Department's mission, equestrian officers provide a specialized means of enforcement in all areas of the Park District. The use of horses provides Officers a special conduit to engage the public and build relationships utilizing a gentle yet powerful animal.

The unit utilizes horses that are well-trained to patrol the various regions of the Park District. In addition to patrol duties, the Mounted Unit participates in community activities and outreach events. These include wellness walks, National Night Out events, Regional Parks Foundation membership events, recruitment events, and other social events where the Mounted Unit can make a positive impact on the public.

Two Mounted Patrol Officers

Watershed Contract

The East Bay Regional Park District Police Department affords police services to the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) under a Police Services Agreement. As part of this agreement, EBMUD provides a substation at San Pablo Reservoir and a fleet of fully equipped police vehicles including four-wheel drive utility vehicles and off-road motorcycles. EBMUD also provides patrol boats at each of its reservoirs. Because EBMUD's mission is to supply East Bay residents with clear, clean drinking water, the emphasis of the police officers assigned to patrol EBMUD areas is on protecting the watershed and reservoirs as well as on protecting the public. 

Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol

The East Bay Regional Park District Police Department's Volunteer Coordinator supervises the District's Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol, whose many members enjoy riding and hiking District trails and interacting with the public. The Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol comprises five patrol groups: the Volunteer Mounted Patrol, the Volunteer Bicycle Patrol, the Volunteer Hiking Patrol, the Companion Dog Patrol, and the Volunteer Marine Safety Unit.

The purpose of the Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol is to assist the East Bay Regional Park District and its Public Safety Department in the safe, effective management of parklands. Members receive training in all facets of park user safety and are charged with a duty to Observe, Educate, Report...and Enjoy. The Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol promotes safe and courteous park and trail use by District visitors. Patrol members provide visitors with educational information, and they forward to park and public safety personnel their observations of facility safety or law enforcement issues. Many patrol members are equipped with District two-way radios or personal cellular phones. Patrol members seek to maintain positive relationships among trail user groups and to project a professional image of the District.

For more information about this program and to request membership information, please the Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol website.

VTSP volunteers


Sign up for Monthly e-Newsletter Updates