May 5, 2020-San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM

Present:   Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Rachelle Bussell, Chris Carrillo, Ken Coate, LaDonna DiCamillo, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Milford Harrison, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Bansree Parikh, Keven Porter, Catherine Pritchett, Brian Reider, Thomas Rice, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Phillip Southard, Sol Teh, Pete Van Helden, David Van Voorhis, Kim Wilcox and Ray Wolfe.


Announcements:  1) Upcoming Tuesday ZOOM meetings include U.S. Congressman Pete Aguilar (5/12) and California Senator Connie Leyva (5/19).  On Thursday, May 28, our ZOOM Meeting will feature California Assemblyman James Ramos.  We will not have a meeting Tuesday May 26, 2020. 2)  Immediately following our speaker the group will discuss AB 2737.


M/S/P: Minutes from April 28, 2020.


Louis Goodwin, Chair presiding.


San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon discussed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and law enforcement in San Bernardino County.

Across the County, officials and leaders are all coordinating and working well together.  They are keeping notes on what has worked, what hasn’t and the thoughts behind specific decisions.  Chaotic situations are common for the Sheriff’s Department, but the pandemic is new for everyone and this log will better prepare them for the “next time”.  The Sheriff’s Department has had 11 employees test positive for the virus of which 7 are back at work.

Due to the confinement and people in close quarters it is not a surprise that domestic violence has slightly risen (5%) since the shutdown.

Crime has declined as shops are closed and traffic has been greatly reduced.  There is speculation that the Zero Bail initiative (book & release) and Prop 47, which changed misdemeanor theft from $400 to $950, have played a part in the reduction of reporting of these crimes both here and across the state.  There is a good deal of frustration by business owners when the penalty, even a repeated offense for theft of under $950.00, is merely the issuance of a ticket.  Without meaningful consequences, businesses find the time & effort to report these crimes “just not worth it”.

A step in the right direction is found in the ballot initiative: the“Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act”.

The initiative fixes four specific flaws contained in recent criminal justice reforms that were intended to reduce the state’s prison inmate population.  Reduction has happened and the County inmate population has gone from 6,200 to 4,700.  However, some loose ends need to be addressed.  More can be found at

Beginning 6 weeks ago, all persons being booked for criminal activity are screened by a nurse and issued a mask.  Our County facilities have a 7,500-inmate bed capacity with plenty of room for social distancing.  Inmates that have symptoms are evaluated and tested.  The inmate segment involved is then isolated and the inmate is quarantined for 14 days and then re-tested.  Additionally, they have reduced inmate exposure by scheduling “out of cell time” into small shifts.

The Governor has ordered the housing of the homeless and the County has contracts with hotels.  In the past there has been reluctance on the part of the homeless to accept services but there is now greater interest.  Those that test positive for the virus may be housed in the 20 some trailers supplied FEMA and parked in Glen Helen Regional Park.  The Sheriff speculated that this population will likely return to their prior ways after the pandemic is over as mental health is a major underlying issue for many of these people.

There will be budget impacts for the Sheriff’s department from the current emergency as funding is based on sales tax.  This year they have a roll over budget as they did last year and due to AB 109 they have reserves that will potentially last 6-12 months.  Currently they are on target with the budget but all planned increases in programs and or staffing are on hold.  There is some concern that some of the 14 contract cities may have difficulty paying the County for services.  They are focused on keeping the department and system “whole”.

A Q & A period followed.


AB 2737 (Garcia) was discussed.  The land use bill would create a separate committee in CARB.  The legislature has expressed that they will only address bills about COVID-19, homeless and wildfires.  The bill has been peppered with COVID-19 references seemingly to comply with the restrictions.

M/S/P: A letter of opposition on AB 2737 will be sent.  Abstaining-Thomas Rice, Dan Roberts & Kristine Scott

Meeting adjourned at 9:08 a.m.