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The San Bernardino County Grand Jury’s 2016-17 report on the Apple Valley Unified School District Police Department has been recognized by the California Grand Jury Association as the best grand jury investigative report in the state.
The Grand Jury Reporting Award recognizes grand jury reports that bring matters of vital importance to public attention and lead to positive changes within their communities. Seven reports were nominated this year. In addition to evaluating the report’s quality – including clarity, thoroughness and substantiated facts – the Grand Jury Association considers agency responses and media coverage as measures of a report’s effectiveness.
The grand jury found that from January 2014 through December 2016, the Apple Valley Unified School District Police Department ordered more than 700 vehicles towed from public roadways. This number was proportionately higher than that in adjacent school districts during the same time period. All were towed by just one company. An examination of the issued citations revealed that most vehicles were not stopped for hazardous moving violations, but rather for equipment or registration violations that were outside of the department’s authority. During the same period, there was a decline in student-related interactions and on-campus activity by the police.
After the grand jury began its inquiry, the department changed is tow methodology to involve additional companies. The grand jury recommended that illegally obtained funds be returned, restitution be made where appropriate, owners be notified of their rights when subject to tow, the limits of the police authority be made clear and police duties and responsibilities be prioritized.
“The background was particularly thorough – written well, carefully attributed,” one reviewer stated. “The narrative was presented engagingly. Clearly the investigation’s findings resonated … because several policies and procedures were changed. The report also received extensive media coverage, further bringing to light the workings of a local government entity.”
The award was presented on Oct. 1 at the 37th California Grand Jury Association annual conference. Grand Jury Assistant Norma Grosjean, Superior Court administrator Sharon Bragg and 2016-17 grand jury member Ron Zurek accepted the award on behalf of the grand jury.
The Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino is pleased to announce the launch of its new San Bernardino County Grand Jury website.
In addition to the specific information about the Grand Jury, the website was redesigned as a tool for the public to have a greater understanding of and access to the application process, filing complaints and viewing reports. New features include a Grand Jury calendar, updated news bulletins and electronic mailing list.
The website will be updated regularly with news regarding recruitment, the final report, events, Grand Jury presentations, and other information regarding important dates. The Grand Jury’s mission is to ensure the public is informed of concerning investigations about county and city government functions. Visitors are encouraged to explore the new website and subscribe to the Grand Jury’s mailing list.
Grand Jury recruitment is still open and accepting applications from qualified residents. Interested individuals can now apply online here. The deadline to submit an application is April 6.
If you have any questions, please contact the Grand Jury Assistant at (909) 387-9120.
Applications for the 2018-2019 San Bernardino County Civil Grand Jury are now being accepted. Successful applicants will serve as Grand Jurors for the fiscal year period beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019.
The Civil Grand Jury is charged by the California Penal Code to investigate all aspects of county governance, including cities and special districts, and also potentially hear information on certain criminal investigations. All communications to the Grand Jury are confidential and every signed citizen complaint is responded to after investigated. Service as a Grand Juror involves an average of three to five full working days per week, which is compensated at $25 per day, plus meals and appropriate mileage. The regular Grand Jury meeting place is located in the City of San Bernardino.
To be eligible for selection, a person must be at least 18 years of age, a United States citizen, and a resident of California and the County of San Bernardino for at least one year prior to appointment. Other requirements include: sufficient knowledge of the English language, possession of natural faculties, of ordinary intelligence, sound judgment, and good character. By law, elected public officials are not eligible.
Interested citizens can download the application on-line here. Applications can also be obtained by calling (909) 387-9120 or in-person located at 172 West Third Street, Second Floor, San Bernardino, CA. The application deadline is April 6, 2018. Click here for details.
The San Bernardino County Civil Grand Jury has produced a brief power-point presentation to educate the public on its responsibilities and duties concerning local and county governments. Members of the current Grand Jury are available to present the program.
The presentation includes:
- Overview of the responsibilities of the Civil Grand Jury
- How to file a Citizen Complaint
- How to apply for the Civil Grand Jury
Members of the Grand Jury are also available to staff a booth at civic events.
If your organization would be interested in scheduling a presentation or having a Civil Grand Jury booth at an event, please contact Norma Grosjean, Grand Jury Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (909) 387-9120.