SBSO Sheriff

Saturday, June 27, 2015 – 10:30 a.m.

An employee lawsuit against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has ripped open Pandora’s Box after it came to light this week.

The case, Jordan et al v. County of San Bernardino, makes powerful claims of misconduct, cover-ups and whistle-blower retaliation. If even a fraction of the conduct is true, it won’t bode well for the agency’s current management.

The case has two focal points, or should I say epicenters.

The first is the High Desert. The other is the Sheriff’s Executive Staff.

The blog briefly touched on the traffic ticket quota situation at the Victorville Sheriff’s Station on Friday, where management was allegedly mandating a 200 citation per month quota on deputies assigned to traffic enforcement duties.

Then we have an allegation of a manager, also at Victorville, ordering an employee to fix red light camera tickets for friends, particularly female acquaintances.

But the most troubling allegation is against what is referred to as the High Desert Narcotics Enforcement Team, which targets enforcement along the Interstate Highway 15 and 40 corridors.

The crux of this particular allegation is that certain deputies assigned to the team, rather than using the standard dispatch tow rotation, referred all towed and stored, or impounded vehicles to one exclusive tow company. Certain of the seized vehicles, when ready for lien sale to recover towing and storage fees, were offered to the same deputies to purchase at a price well below book value. Once title was transferred, the deputies could either keep the vehicle, or sell it for profit.

In other words, sworn officers, who seized private property, were allegedly allowed to re-acquire the same property for personal gain.

Sources tell that personnel involved received a slap on the hand.

In a similar case, the Monterey County District Attorney has leveled felony charges against six King City Police Officers in a tow company scheme to seize vehicles and obtain them in some cases for free.

But San Bernardino County has chosen to essentially sweep the matters under the rug and target the whistle-blowers.

The case has survived a demurrer challenge and is slated for trial later this year. Depositions are currently in progress.