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Sheriff’s Department

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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State association praises West Nile Virus Aerial Surveillance Program

mosquitoThe California Association of Counties is promoting the County’s West Nile Virus Aerial Surveillance Program as one of the most innovative in the state.

CSAC writes: “Through a collaboration between the Sheriff’s Aviation Division and Mosquito Vector Control Program, San Bernardino County has implemented a state-of-the-art program using aerial surveillance to minimize mosquito breeding sources and reduce public health risks.”

West Nile Virus Aerial Surveillance Collaboration is a joint venture between Environmental Health’s Mosquito Vector Control Program and the Aviation Division of the Sheriff’s Department. The program utilizes aerial surveillance to identify and reduce mosquito breeding by targeting unmaintained swimming pools in residential neighborhoods. Addresses of green pools identified during surveillance were given to mosquito vector control to track down the owner responsible for maintaining the pools to reduce mosquito breeding. It is estimated that the Mosquito Vector Control Program potentially prevented the production of 990 million mosquitoes per week, greatly reducing the potential prevalence of West Nile Virus.

The annual CSAC awards are considered a highly competitive recognition program that honors the best and most innovative among California’s 58 counties. The County received five CSAC Challenge Awards in November 2013, including the award for the West Nile Aerial Surveillance Program.

To watch a video of the program, click here.

To read a blog about the program, click here.

Mountain lion attack occurs in North Fontana, residents warned

Mountain LionThe Rancho Cucamonga Police Department would like to alert area residents of a recent vicious mountain lion attack in a residential area of north Fontana.  The incident occurred approximately one-quarter of a mile from the city of Rancho Cucamonga.  Residents are being warned to avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active- dawn, dusk, and at night.

Today at approximately 3:30 a.m., officers from the Fontana Police Department responded to the 4100 block of Fox Borough Drive for a report of a mountain lion attack against a 100 pound German Shepherd in a backyard located in the northern part of a Hunter’s Ridge neighborhood. The owner heard the dog in distress and went outside to find a large mountain lion standing over his deceased pet displaying a very aggressive behavior toward the resident.  When officers arrived they found the mountain lion in the front yard. Officers shot at the mountain lion and scared it into the canyon. The mountain lion kept returning and coming towards the officers in front of the residence a total of four times before disappearing into the canyon.  There is no evidence that the lion was ever struck by any rounds.

The Rancho Cucamonga Police Department has deemed the mountain lion an imminent threat to public safety.

Mountain lions are nocturnal animals.  Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant, keep pets inside and call 9-1-1 if you spot the mountain lion in your neighborhood.


Challenge yourself at the Sheriff’s 10K Trail Run on March 16

sheriffrunWant to challenge yourself, have a good time and stay in shape? Sign up for the Sheriff’s 10K Trail Run,  a grueling off-pavement trail run along foot paths and fire roads surrounding the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Training Center. The 6.2 mile course includes challenging hills with moderate to steep inclines. Categories are divided by age and gender (12 years and older).
The event is on Sunday, March 16 at 8 a.m.
Proceeds benefit volunteers of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and Star in Motion, a nonprofit organization. Star in Motion fosters positive relationships between the public safety community and the public and supports the health and well-being of the public safety community.
For registration and fee information, visit

Law enforcement needs your help

sbsoSee the attached press release and photos regarding a shooting that occurred in the Victorville Walmart parking lot on October 22, 2013. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone with information about the suspects involved to contact the Victorville Station, Detective Campas at (760)241-2911 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760)956-5001. Victorville Walmart Parking Lot Shooting October 2013

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