Bureau Organization

The Montgomery County Detective Bureau is supervised by Chief Mark Bernstiel. County detectives are responsible for investigating and preparing various types criminal cases for prosecution, as well as assisting local law enforcement personnel. County detectives work closely with crime intelligence analysts and Assistant District Attorneys to ensure the most effective investigation and prosecution.

The Forensic Services Unit is primarily responsible for investigating homicide crime scenes , but also provides many other investigative services for law enforcement agencies throughout the County.  Unit personnel respond to all Homicides by Vehicle, provide extensive technical expertise and perform extensive accident reconstruction work.  The Unit employs both a firearms expert to analyze toolmark ballistics cases, and a fingerprint expert to examine latent prints in conjunction with an A.F.I.S. (automated fingerprint identification system) terminal linked to the Pennsylvania State Police.


The Homicide Unit assists all local and state police jurisdictions with investigations concerning murder, manslaughter, homicide by vehicle, suspicious death, suicide and police-involved shooting.  Unit personnel  also assist with locating fugitives charged with homicide-related offenses

Only highly trained and experienced detectives are assigned to the Unit each averaging twenty-three years of law enforcement experience each.

The Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) represents the drug enforcement arm of the District Attorney's Office, and works in coordination with the Narcotics Unit to investigate major narcotics trafficking operations within Montgomery County, and provide extensive assistance to local police departments with the investigations of drug crimes, including the District Attorney's Municipal Drug Task Force and Pennsylvania State Police  NET detectives receive training for electronic surveillance equipment, and incorporate sophisticated technology as investigative tools.  Detectives are also trained in photography, video and physical surveillance techniques.

The Special Investigations Unit (S.I.U.) conducts unique and complex investigations throughout Montgomery County, directing its efforts toward violent and multifarious criminal activity.  In addition to other law-enforcement and public agencies, the Unit works with non-traditional community based partners to address quality of life crimes.

Investigative efforts include joint task force initiatives, covert surveillance operations, court ordered electronic surveillance, and grand jury testimony.

Unit investigations include arson, insurance fraud, public/official corruption, gang activity, hate groups and organized crime.  The Unit provides intelligence and strategic crime analysis to other Detective Bureau Units, and Investigative to the District Attorney’s Special Prosecutions Unit, including Project Safe Neighborhoods.

The Special Services Unit provides the support necessary for the Detective Bureau to properly and successfully investigate criminal offenses.   The Unit provides firearms training and maintains all police-related equipment, including electronic surveillance equipment, firearms and ammunition.  Unit Detectives also assist Assistant District Attorneys with logistical matters, subpoena service and witness/victim assistance.

Bureau of Criminal Identification 
The Bureau of Criminal Identification (“BCI”) manages all investigative files for the Detectives’ Bureau, and administratively processes arrests conducted by the Bureau and other police agencies when needed. The Bureau houses a secure defendant holding area, CLEAN/NCIC terminals, as well as Livescan and Photo Imaging Systems that are linked to the Pennsylvania State Police Fingerprint (AFIS) and Photograph (CPIN) databases.

Evidence Control & Storage Unit

The Evidence Control and Storage Unit processes, stores and maintains all evidence collected and seized by the Detective Bureau.  The Unit also stores court exhibits and evidence from other law enforcement agencies when used during criminal prosecutions in Montgomery County.

File Folder Preparation Unit
The File Folder Preparation Unit prepares and processes approximately 10,000 criminal files annually for prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office.  Duties include obtaining complete criminal history background information, previous case dispositions, witness information, Bills of Information, sentencing sheets, community service sheets, victim compensation forms and motor vehicle operator's history records.

Private Complaint Unit
The Private Criminal Complaint Unit receives and reviews complaints submitted by County residents concerning all types of issues.  These complaints include everything from neighbor disagreements to problems with public agencies, but are often civil in nature and not appropriate for criminal prosecution.

Detectives assigned to the Private Complaint Unit carefully evaluate each submission for possible criminal prosecution.  Complaints deemed appropriate for prosecution are forwarded to an Assistant District Attorney for further review and approval.  The District Attorney’s Office created Private Criminal Complaint Process as a reference guide to assist the public.