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Sheriff’s Department

Missing Persons Day helps families, friends make connections

sheriffFamily and friends impacted by the mysterious disappearance of a loved one should plan to attend Missing Persons Day on Saturday, June 20.

Sheriff-Coroner investigators hope to help families of missing persons make connections that could bring a missing person home and give people a chance to meet up with local law enforcement agencies dedicated to finding missing persons.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Inland Regional Center, 1365 S. Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino.

Missing Persons Day will allow people to file missing persons reports, and have a semi-private area to talk with missing persons professionals. Forensic professionals will be performing identification cheek swabs and helping people put together child identification kits.

If you are searching for a loved one please bring photos of the missing person; two of the missing person’s closely related family members from the mother’s side for the collection of identification cheek swabs; and X-rays, dental or medical records, or other identifying documents. Families and friends are also welcome to wear memorial T-shirts and bring posters to commemorate their missing loved ones.

For more information, visit or click here for details.

Government Works: Inmate Fire Crew Program

Final Government Works Stamp

On Tuesday, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) produced a YouTube video about the San Bernardino County Inmate Fire Crew program because it received a 2014 CSAC Challenge Award last year and is considered a best practice in the state. The County Sheriff and County Fire departments work together to identify and train inmates to assist County Fire in fighting wildfires.

The Inmate Fire Crew video is available for viewing here. A blog posting about the Inmate Fire Crew Program can also be read here.

The Inmate Fire crews are available to respond to all types of emergencies, including wildfires, floods, search and rescue, and earthquakes.  The crews are also busy with conservation and community service work projects, including brush abatement and wood chipping. Each inmate must pass a four-week training course that consists of classroom work.  Inmates must also complete rigorous physical fitness training. Job placement for graduates in the landscaping and construction industries is also helping to reduce recidivism.

This program is an example of how Government Works.

Support law enforcement with the Ontario Reign on Feb. 22

ontario reignJoin the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the Ontario Reign as they host the first ever law enforcement appreciation hockey night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena on Sunday, Feb. 22.

The hockey game begins at 3 p.m. and ticket proceeds will go toward Southern California Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).

For tickets, visit and look for Law Enforcement Night. Use the promotion code ENFORCE to purchase your tickets.

For more information, contact Marc Summers at or Mike Jones at

View the promotional flier here.


Sheriff’s group lowers registration fee for Cars and Stars Car Show

CASCarShowFlyer update 2015The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is having its first Cars and Stars Car Show to benefit the Sheriff’s Employee Assistance Team and the Debbie Chisholm Memorial Foundation, which grants wishes to catastrophically ill children in the Inland Empire.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 4 at the Auto Club Speedway, 9300 Cherry Avenue, Fontana.

There will be prizes, food trucks, a 50/50 drawing, a kids zone, trophies and a silent auction for a chance to win two tickets to tour Jay Leno’s garage.

The entry fee is now only $25 for those who pre-register their vehicles before March 20. Registration on the day of the show will increase to $35. Registration includes a T-shirt and goodie bag. Admission is free for spectators!

For questions about registration, contact or Heidi Payne at

For more information or sponsor and vendor opportunities, contact Marc Summers at or Mike Jones at

Click here for more details.

Law enforcement night coming to the Ontario Reign

ontario reignThe San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with the Ontario Reign for the first ever law enforcement night on February 22 benefiting the Southern California Concerns of Police Survivors.

There will be static display of various law enforcement vehicles around the arena as well as in game special intermission tributes.

To get tickets, visit the Ontario Reign website and under Promotions and look for law enforcement night on February 22. Use promo code ENFORCE to purchase tickets.

Sheriff announces arrest in McStay family homicides

McStay arrestOn Wednesday, November 5, 2014, investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detail arrested Charles “Chase” Merritt for the murders of Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joseph M. McStay. 

Over the past 12 months, investigators have conducted an extensive investigation which included the service of 60 search warrants and over 200 interviews. Investigators received about 250 tips and followed up on every one; including e-mails, Crime Stoppers, We-Tip, America’s Most Wanted, National Center for Missing/Exploited Children and anonymous telephone calls. 

Homicide investigators worked with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and Special Agent Kevin Boles with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. 

Chase Merritt, 57, of Homeland, was arrested without incident and transported to the West Valley Detention Center. He was booked for murder and is being held without bail. The District Attorney’s Office filed four counts of murder against Merritt. 

Chase Merritt was a business associate of Joseph McStay. 

The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma. Based on the entire investigation and the evidence obtained, investigators believe the murders occurred at the family home in Fallbrook. Investigators are not disclosing the motive for the murders.

Watch the press conference here:

County honored with state, national awards in 2014

Members of the County Sheriff and Fire departments accept their award from CSAC.

Members of the County Sheriff and Fire departments accept their award from CSAC.

Teaching homeowners to prevent fires around their homes, training inmates to fight wildfires and working to end human trafficking are three innovative County programs honored today by the California State Association of Counties.

California State Association of Counties Associate Legislative Representative Cara Martinson appeared at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting to deliver the three 2014 CSAC Challenge Awards to the Land Use Services Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the County Fire Department, and the District Attorney’s Office.

“These awards demonstrate our County’s commitment to developing new and innovative approaches to enhancing public safety,” San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Janice Rutherford said.

The CSAC Challenge Awards are part of a highly competitive recognition program that honors the best and most innovative among California’s 58 counties.

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Groundbreaking held for new Sheriff’s Crime Lab building

crimelabSan Bernardino County officials and law enforcement partners broke ground today for the new Sheriff’s Crime Lab building at 200 South Lena Road in San Bernardino.

In June 2007, the Board of Supervisors allocated $25 million for the construction of a new crime lab. Several studies were done, along with a needs assessment. Between 2009 and 2012 the department evaluated several options, from remodeling the existing building to building a new one. In 2013, the department selected LPA Inc. to design the new 20,000 square foot laboratory annex. The new building will cost $17 million and will be located west of the current 35,000 square foot crime lab building. 

In September 2014, AMG & Associates Inc. was awarded the contract for the new construction. 

The following units will be moving into the new crime lab: 

  • Controlled Substance Unit: One supervisor and up to 10 criminalists; three more than current staff. 
  • Crime Scene Investigation: One supervisor and up to six crime scene investigators and clerical employees; five more than the current staff.
  • Firearms/Toolmarks Unit: One supervisor, up to five criminalists and two techs; two more than prior. 
  • Forensic Alcohol Unit: One supervisor and three criminalists; adding one additional criminalist. 

The new building will house a narcotics lab, indoor vehicle processing area, indoor shooting tank, indoor 40-yard shooting range and a combined breath and blood alcohol testing lab. 

Ladies, are you interested in becoming a deputy sheriff?

sheriffThe 2nd Annual Women Warrior Fitness Invitational is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, 2014, at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Academy grounds.  This event was created in an effort to get more women into sworn law enforcement positions with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.  The Women Warrior Fitness Invitational allows interested women the opportunity to test their physical abilities in a non-threatening environment.  The participants are also given the opportunity to speak with women currently in sworn law enforcement positions.  Absolutely no men, spectators, or children.  Non-participants are not allowed and will be turned away.  For more information, click here.

Board unanimously adopts synthetic drug ordinance

sheriffThe San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance today designed by the Sheriff’s Department to combat synthetic drugs by using a multi-pronged approach to eradicate sales of these illicit substances, which have long eluded comprehensive enforcement.

Sheriff John McMahon presented a synthetic drug ordinance to the Board of Supervisors that included criminal, administrative and civil penalties for those who sell synthetic drugs – more commonly known as “spice” or “bath salts.” Dozens of community members attended the meeting to support the ordinance and thanked the department for bringing it forward.

Spice is a mixture of herbs sprayed with the synthetic chemicals that is usually smoked. Bath salts are synthetic chemicals in a powder or crystal form that are usually snorted or injected. These highly addictive, synthetic drugs are marketed as potpourri, decorative sand, shoe deodorizers or glass cleaner; however they have nothing in common with the products they are advertised to be. They are packaged using bright colors and cartoon characters in an obvious ploy to attract children.

The ordinance targets synthetic drugs beyond the traditional realm of lab testing and further allows for enforcement based on the marketing, price, sales location, warning labels and similarity to street drugs. For example, synthetic drugs are often labeled as “window cleaner” but are sold in a smoke shop; do not resemble traditional window cleaning products; cost significantly more for a small portion of product; and are labeled with “not for purchase by minors.” The proposed ordinance finds a combination of the above-listed facts evidence the product is illicit. Furthermore, the ordinance creates penalties that include fines, misdemeanor charges and the possible loss of a business license.

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