Recognizing an increase in rural agricultural criminal activity, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department in 1998 created one of eight existing Agricultural Crime Task Forces in the Central Valley. Madera County’s Ag Crimes Unit is staffed with two full-time Sheriff’s Detectives, who are responsible for investigating all agricultural-based crimes. The Unit not only investigates vandalism cases as well as machine, metal, fuel and chemical thefts, it continues to forge working relationships with the farming and ranching communities through both personal contact and local Farm Bureau Membership.
In addition to providing investigative services related primarily to theft and property damage, the Madera County Sheriff's Department Agricultural Crime Unit also works on designing fresh and innovative crime prevention techniques.
The Madera County Sheriff's Department, in cooperation with the Madera County Farm Bureau, re-established the Owner Applied Numbering (O.A.N.) System. This service makes possible for permanent identification numbers to be stamped on all property – that includes large equipment to the smallest tool. A unique serial number can be branded on steel, plastic, leather and even rubber.