Tasked with tracking down prison escapees, fugitives and parolees, SSU agents must be prepared to operate in any tactical environment to apprehend these repeat offenders. Veritas Officium Aequitas—SSU’s unofficial motto of Truth, Duty, Justice—sums up their past, present and future role as CDCR’s investigative bureau.

Although the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) may be the primary recruiting ground for the elite SSU (Special Service Unit), its members are neither detention specialists nor parole officers. The SSU is all about investigating and apprehending violent offenders, most of whom are graduates of the CDCR’s institutions and/or programs.

Solid training equates to safe and successful missions. With such a small number of SSU agents in California, the on-call SSU must remain vigilant and tactically proficient as individual operators and as a unit.

One of the biggest misconceptions, even among law enforcement, is that SSU is a highly specialized parole unit, which they are not. SSU serves as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ‘s investigative bureau. They are the police agency within the CDCR. CDCR is one of the largest agencies in California and navigating around that huge organization can be rather confusing to the outsider.

The SSU was formed at the request of the Governor of California, to establish a liaison between the CDCR and other law enforcement agencies. With a large percentage of the crime being committed by repeat offenders, SSU is the compass and liaison that bridges the gap between the world of corrections and law enforcement agencies, state and federal.

Up Next


Tasked with tracking down prison escapees, fugitives and parolees, SSU agents must be prepared…