The Vice & Special Operations Unit (VSO) is mostly a "proactive" unit meaning, most of their investigations are initiated without a request. The Vice & Special Operations Unit is most commonly referred to as the "Narcotics Unit" as it is tasked with investigating the distribution, sale, transport, manufacturing, and use of illegal narcotics.
In addition to SBI's in-house resources, two specific aspects of VSO Unit's mission is carried out through using a force multiplier of collaborating with local agencies in the fight against illegal narcotics. SBI Narcotics administers the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/ Suppression Program for the State of Alabama. Commonly referred to as "Erad," it is comprised of SBI Narcotics, ALEA Aviation, the Alabama National Guard Counter-Drug Program along with local law enforcement agencies assisting in their respective jurisdictions. SBI additionally, partnering with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, administers the Alabama Drug Enforcement Task Force (ADETF). The ADETF is comprised of ALEA and 47 local agencies, each having investigators sworn as state agents under ALEA/SBI.
Seven Regional Control Boards and one Statewide Executive Board ensure balance and continuity in the ADETF. The ADETF’s primary focus is to assist local communities with narcotics enforcement with resources not commonly available in these areas, along with targeting middle to upper-level drug trafficking organizations. Several agents within the VSO Unit also serve on numerous federal task force groups in the pursuit of illegal narcotic traffickers and wanted fugitives.
The VSO Unit also plays a significant role in the fight against the increasing crime of human trafficking. Additional to conducting investigations, this unit provides investigative assistance to other units and law enforcement agencies such as electronic/technical surveillance, and basic cell phone exploitation.