Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/24/2012 05:21:29 PM PST

On Dec. 4, once James Ramos and Robert Lovingood are sworn in as San Bernardino County’s new 3rd and 1st district supervisors, the board will begin discussing the appointment of a new sheriff.

Sheriff Rod Hoops, who announced he was retiring after 34 years with the department, has recommended to the board that Assistant Sheriff John McMahon succeed him.

But McMahon has competition.

Former Deputy Chief Keith Bushey and Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Paul Schrader, who ran against Hoops in 2010, have also put their names in the hat for the job.

McMahon, 48, has worked for the department for 27 years and oversees criminal operations, including all patrol stations, specialized investigations and SWAT.

“We’re facing some serious challenges in the future with realignment and the budget. I understand that very well, and I’m prepared to deal with that,” said McMahon, a Phelan resident.

He said he believes he has the support of the majority of the rank-and-file in the department and has been working with county Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux on building a solid working relationship.

Among McMahon’s top priorities will be seeing construction of the Adelanto Detention Center through. He said the jail is roughly a year shy from completion and will add 1,400 beds, alleviating overcrowded conditions at the county’s other jails.

In addition, McMahon said he will push for more state funding for the building of classrooms and facilities for skills training for inmates so they have the tools necessary to become productive members of society upon their release from custody, which makes them less likely to re-offend.

Bushey is a former Los Angeles police commander who was involved in such high-profile criminal cases as the death of comedian John Belushi in 1983 and the 1994 slayings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in Brentwood, in which former NFL pro O.J. Simpson became the prime suspect.

Bushey also served as a law enforcement community liaison to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and was the former San Bernardino County Marshal before becoming a deputy chief in 1999, when the Marshal’s office merged with the Sheriff’s Department.

Bushey, who is a staff instructor for the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, says he has a great deal of respect and admiration for McMahon, but doesn’t believe he has the skills and experience necessary to lead an organization of more than 3,500 employees with an annual budget of $440 million.

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