October 10, 2023 Minutes- Lt. Julius McChristian, Legislative Unit, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department -Hybrid Meeting

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Dr. Sam Gibbs, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Lowell King, Steve Lambert, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Michael Lewin, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Brian Nestande, Cat Pritchett, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, LaShe Rodriguez, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, and Michael Wells.

Guests:  Kelly Kessler.

Announcements: 1) The 2023 California Economic Summit will be held October 11-13, 2013 in Indian Wells.  For more information go to www.cafwd.org/summit/ 2) Congratulations were expressed to San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) for their 50 years of successful work and collaboration for the good of its residents.

Kevin Dyerly, Chair presiding.

Staff reported that at the 2023 Mobility 21 Southern California Transportation Summit Laura Friedman, Chair of the California Assembly Transportation Committee made a disparaging characterization of San Bernardino and, by inference, the entire Inland Region. She has made numerous public remarks about our region that are both uninformed and excessively negative.  Staff distributed a draft letter for the Board’s recommendation. Discussion ensued.
Motion by L. Goodwin/Second/Passed: The draft letter will be reviewed by the Legislative Committee. Once approved, the letter will be sent to: Laura Friedman, Chair, California Assembly Transportation Committee, Inland Empire Caucus Members, Assembly Transportation Committee Members, Assembly Leader Robert Rivas, and Governor Gavin Newsom.

Motion by L. King/Second/Passed: Minutes from September 26, 2023

Cat Pritchett introduced Lt. Julius McChristian, Legislative Liaison for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department joined us in person to discuss the Sheriff’s challenges in addressing homelessness and fentanyl use in our County.

The fight against the drug fentanyl is ongoing and increasing as there is an increase in usage and calls regarding overdoses. The Department has established a policy for all patrol deputies to carry a 4mg dose of Narcan which can have lifesaving effects while they initiate a call to the Overdose Response Team (ORT). Originated as a temporary program in 2021 by the Gangs and Narcotics Division, in July 2022 it became a permanent program that has 6 full time members that include 1 Sargent, 3 Detectives, 1 Deputy and 1 District Attorney Investigator. The ORT works with the District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for state and federal cases.

Our County has seen significant seizures of counterfeit pharmaceutical pills which have been found to be laced with fentanyl, causing overdose deaths. These drugs are being branded or referred to as “percs” and “oxys”. Use of Xanax is on the rise with high school kids in our County and it is not uncommon for Xanax to be a counterfeit pharmaceutical containing fentanyl. A mere 2mg. of Fentanyl is deadly.

Current legislation combating fentanyl:

  • AB 1027 (Petrie-Norris) **On Governor’s desk**
    Requires social media companies post policies regarding the sale of controlled substance on the platform to require information that violates the polices to be stored for 90 days and to provide for when that information can be shared with law enforcement.
  • SB 10 (Cortese) **On Governor’s desk**
    Requires comprehensive school safety plans of schools serving students in grades 7 to 12 to include a protocol in the event a student is suffering or is reasonably believed to be suffering from an opioid overdose.
  • AB 33 (Bains) **On Governor’s desk**
    Establishes the Fentanyl Misuse and Overdose Prevention Task Force that is dedicated to combating fentanyl addiction and death. This Task Force will bring together law enforcement, public health officials, and healthcare providers to coordinate an effective response to the problem.

Homelessness is an extremely complex social problem that impacts the quality of life in our communities and there are no easy solutions. We must recognize that there is a fine line between homelessness as a social issue and a criminal issue.  In 2014, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department implemented the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE) program to address issues related to the homeless population across San Bernardino County. In 2022 California had an estimated 171,000 homeless people, more than any other state in the U.S. San Bernardino County has approximately 4,195 homeless. The highest concentrations are in San Bernardino (40%) and in Victorville (20%).

In June 2023, the County Board of Supervisor implemented Laura’s Law in San Bernardino County allowing for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment for those with severe mental illnesses who have a history of hospitalizations, incarcerations and various acts of violence. Utilizing Laura’s Law, the Sheriff’s Community Service and Reentry Division team deploys throughout the county in support of “Operation Shelter Me.” This program will partner with trained staff including Sheriff’s Deputies, Probation Officers and Social Workers to locate and contact the most vulnerable homeless individuals in our community to house as many people as possible while the County Department of Behavioral Health builds its plan for Laura’s Law. The HOPE Team believes there are approximately 100-150 unhoused persons around the County who would likely qualify for services under Laura’s Law.  Additionally, Sheriff Shannon Dicus has initiated establishing a homeless shelter and crisis center on County jail property starrting with the Verdemont Boys Ranch in Devore.

Current legislation addressing homelessness:

  • AB 67 (Muratsuchi) **Did not pass the legislative process**
    Would establish the Homeless Courts Pilot Program, to be administered by the Judicial Council as a grant program for the purpose of providing comprehensive community-based services for homeless individuals who are involved with the criminal justice system.
  • SB 35 (Umberg) **Signed into Law**
    This bill is intended to clean up the CARE Act and address concerns raised by certain stakeholders in advance of the implementation date. Among other things, the bill is intended to provide protection for county entities that are obligated to obtain medical information about CARE Act respondents and ensure that the CARE Act does not inadvertently run afoul of state and federal law.

Q & A period followed
Meeting adjourned 8:30 a.m.