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Drone operators have been asked repeatedly not to fly their aircraft during wildfires. But at crucial moments in each of the wildfires that have broken out in San Bernardino County so far this year, fire-fighting air tankers had to be diverted away from their targets because of the presence of small airborne hobby drones.
The Board of Supervisors decided asking is no longer enough and this week created a $75,000 reward fund for the arrest and conviction of anyone who flew any remote control-operated aircraft and interfered with fire-fighting aircraft during the recent Lake, Mill 2, and North fires.
“Because fire-fighting planes could not be used, those fires spread faster and further,” Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos said during a news conference today.
“In the most recent fire, the North Fire, we saw cars and trucks burning on the freeway, we saw homes burn, and we saw families running for their lives,” Chairman Ramos said. “We want to know who was flying drones, and we want them punished. Someone knows who they are, and there is $75,000 waiting for them.”
Sheriff John McMahon said his department will actively pursue drone operators in addition to its other vital duties during wildfires. And District Attorney Mike Ramos warned drone operators that they could and would be prosecuted for murder if their drones led to the death of a fire-fighting flight crew or anyone on the ground.
Those with information on anyone who flew drones during those fires are urged to call WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME. Callers can remain anonymous.
Up to $25,000 is available for each of the three fires. The District Attorney will ultimately determine who qualifies for the reward money and for how much.
Low-flying air tankers cannot share the sky with drones because the small aircraft can be sucked into jet engines, causing the engines to fail and the planes to crash.
Interfering with fire-fighting operations is a criminal offense, and District Attorney Ramos said there are several criminal statutes prosecutors can employ to bring drone operators to justice. State and federal lawmakers are in the process of creating new laws aimed specifically at those who fly drones during wildfires.
Larry Walker was sworn in today as the County’s Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector. Walker has served in this office since December, 1998, following his election in June 1998. He was re-elected in 2002 and 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Walker also served as County Recorder and County Clerk from 1998 to 2011. Prior to that, Walker was elected to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 1986, 1990 and 1994, and served as Chair of the Board from 1991 to 1993. Walker has also served as elected Mayor of Chino from 1980 to 1986, and as a City Council member from 1978 to 1980.
Bob Dutton was sworn in today as the County’s Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk.
Dutton won his first election to the Rancho Cucamonga City Council in 1998 and was re-elected in 2000.
In 2002, Dutton was elected to the State Assembly. In 2004, he successfully ran for the State Senate where he represented portions of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
Michael A. Ramos was sworn in today as the County’s District Attorney. Ramos’ government service began in 1980, where he started as a group counselor with the Probation Department and then later became a Probation Officer. He started his career with the District Attorney’s Office in June 1989 as a Deputy District Attorney.
In addition to his work in general prosecution and the narcotics unit, he served with the Major Crimes Unit for four years, until 2002, when he was first elected District Attorney for San Bernardino County.
Ramos was honored Saturday afternoon at the Anaheim Hilton at the Opening Session of the CNOA 50th Annual Training Institute.
According to CNOA, the award was established to identify, recognize, and honor prosecutors throughout California who are committed to the strong enforcement of narcotic laws. This person should be selected on basis of a long-standing record of contributions, or for his or her extraordinary efforts as a prosecutor.
The award was presented by Executive Director Joe Stewart who alluded to the fact that during the early ’90s, San Bernardino County was acknowledged as the “meth lab capitol” of California, and Mr. Ramos spent many of his formative years as a prosecutor learning how to try and convict narcotics traffickers and methamphetamine manufacturers.
“These experiences stuck with him during his three terms as the elected District Attorney and have influenced his current efforts to support narcotics investigators and do his part to help fight the war on drugs in San Bernardino County,” Stewart said.
Stewart also acknowledged Ramos’ efforts to combat local and transnational criminal street gangs involved in the illegal drug trade, his ongoing commitment to prevention and intervention programs and his recently-formed Crimes Against Peace Officers Prosecution Unit.
For Ramos, it was an honor to receive CNOA’s Prosecutor of the Year Award during the 50th Anniversary conference
“Everything we do in and out of the courtroom is based on teamwork and a shared vision of seeking justice on behalf of victims and making sure our communities our safe,” Ramos said. “This award is not only a testament to the hard work of my staff, but a reflection of the very investigations that make a successful prosecution possible in the first place. Thank you to CNOA and its members for this distinguished honor and for the work that they do fighting drug use and enforcing narcotic laws.”
The California Narcotic Officers’ Association is a non-profit, corporation dedicated to providing high quality training for law enforcement professionals. Since 1964, CNOA has grown to become the largest non-profit Training Association in California, with over 7,000 members.
The announcement was made Tuesday by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Pacific Southwest Chapter at a nomination party held at the Mad House Comedy Club in San Diego.
The film was nominated in the Documentary category for excellence in the creation of a formal, structured television presentation with dramatic impact of an event, condition or situation of current, cultural and/or historical significance.
“When I was younger I spent a year and a half overseas in the Philippines, and I saw first-hand the tragedy of human trafficking and the toll that it took on young girls who could be purchased for ten dollars an hour,” said Christopher Lee, who directed and edited the documentary. “Those stories have always stayed with me, and now there are new stories, sadly taking shape in our own backyard. My hope all along was that this film would somehow inspire communities, law enforcement and government officials to push even harder in the battle against human trafficking.”
The film is a 45-minute documentary that delves into the problem of sexual exploitation in the nation’s largest county. From boastful pimps preying on young women to one woman’s quest to open a home for female victims, the film highlights a unique coalition of government agencies and how they are reaching deep into the community to eradicate human trafficking.
“I am so proud of the work of my public affairs officer, Chris Lee, and all those who helped create this film,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “From the undercover filming of the Player’s and Pimp Ball in Hollywood to the survivors who shared their stories, this was a team effort all the way. Ultimately, this is just another outlet to help shine a brighter light on those victimized by the terrible crime of human trafficking.”
View the film here.
District Attorney Michael Ramos joined a crowd of hundreds of victims of crime and community leaders today in the San Bernardino County Government Center Rotunda to commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Sponsored by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, the event took place from 12-1 p.m., and started with an invocation by Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino.
Community organizations dedicated to providing resources and programs for victims were on hand outside the county building to share information with the public.
Following the presentation of the Colors by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, Sheriff John McMahon led the crowd of approximately 400 in the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos joined three former California governors in Los Angeles Thursday to announce the start of a signature-gathering campaign aimed at getting a death penalty reform initiative on the November ballot. “I refuse to back down in this fight as we move to bring about common sense reforms to our state’s broken death penalty system,” Ramos said as former Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis looked on. “We must continue to fight for the families who lost their loved ones at the hands of California’s most violent criminals. For them, the pain never ends.”
As citizens from our county join football fans from all across the country to gather and watch the Super Bowl XLVIII football game, on Sunday, February 2, 2014, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office would like to remind everybody to drink responsibly and designate a sober driver.
Whether you are watching the game at a sports bar or hosting a party, please take the necessary steps to make sure this weekend is a safe one for everybody on the road. If you see a drunk driver on the road, please pull over and call 911.
- Last year, during Super Bowl weekend, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office filed 187 DUI-related cases across the county.
- Of this amount, 6 involved serious injury.
- In 2013, 7,337 DUI-related cases were filed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
- Of this amount, 269 cases involved death or serious injury.
- According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2012, across the nation, alcohol-impaired driving crashes took 10,322 lives and Californians witnessed 802 deaths in DUI crashes.
Here is a special message from the District Attorney: http://ow.ly/t9kJN