The Fresno County Sheriff's Office Homicide unit consists of eight hand-picked deputy sheriffs, a sergeant, and a lieutenant. The unit is responsible for the investigation of all homicides and violent crimes against persons, including kidnapping, stalking, assaults with deadly weapons, terrorist threats, weapons violations, jail escapes, jail deaths, jail assaults, missing persons, and all officer-involved shootings. Detectives also assist other agencies with homicide or violent crimes investigations, when requested.
The detectives are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Generally, every homicide will involve at least three of the detectives, and occasionally the whole team. When not contacting victims, witnesses, or suspects, the detectives are preparing cases for court.
The unit also is responsible for the investigation of more than 260 cold cases. A "cold case" is an unsolved homicide case that has not been closed. Some of those cases date back to more than 35 years ago.
Sergeant Joe Smith