Two weeks ago, it was San Bernardino.
This time, it was Yucaipa‘s turn to be targeted for a sweep by area law enforcement.
“Yucaipa has had problems in the past with the white supremacist gangs,” said sheriff‘s Sgt. Paul Morrison. “And now we’re seeing heroin making a comeback in greater numbers.”
As the 100 peace officers with the San Bernardino Movement Against Street Hoodlums prepared to go out into Yucaipa’s streets on Friday to search for people with warrants, drugs and gang affiliations, they chatted about their lives, sports and what they did on their last day off.
One deputy who wanted to remain anonymous said that one of the ways he prepares to deal with possibly volatile situations is by working out at the gym and keeping fit.
That philosophy proved to be the mind-set during the Yucaipa sweep.
“This one individual always runs from us when he sees us coming,” Morrison said. “These deputies are in great shape and are usually able to get the person that’s trying to flee from them.”
Participating in Friday’s Yucaipa sweep were, the Fontana, Upland, Montclair, San Bernardino, Redlands and Barstow police departments, the California Highway Patrol, the state Parole Department, the county Probation, San Bernardino County and Riverside County sheriff’s departments and the District Attorney’s office.
More than 50 people were arrested. The sweeps occur biweekly.
“It’s an impressive sight when you see patrol cars from all over the county at every corner with its red and blue lights on making contact with people,” Morrison said. “There are many good, good people here that work hard at making a living, but then there’s those that need extra attention and that’s where the sweeps come in to play.”
It’s not over after the arrest is made.
Officers take the people arrested to a command center where their journey through the justice system begins, or in some cases continues.
“We do all the processing here by doing an in-the-field inmate intake before transporting them to jail,” said sheriff’s Detective Grant Ward. “We run their fingerprints and do a records check as well as having a nurse draw blood for evidence of drug use.”
The tools for an operation of this size make the sweep work like a well-oiled machine, Ward said.
“With technology comes progression,” Ward said. “We use a live-scan type of instrument that sends the person’s fingerprint right to the computer it’s paired to.”
Within minutes, if someone has a criminal record, it comes up from local, state or even federal databases.
The technology is similar to the biometrics and identification systems that the armed forces have been using for years during combat operations to identify enemy combatants.
After attempts to hide one’s identity by changing facial features and removing fingerprints by abrasive means, the military uses smart technology to match an iris scan, a photograph and a fingerprint to come up with the identity of the person scanned.
“We have all kinds of technology at our fingertips to make it easier to identify the person in question,” Ward said. “Biometrics is the key to identifying someone and denying the anonymity desired by people that want to stay out of jail.”
Once suspects are picked up in the sweep, processed and identified, they wait to be transferred to a jail assigned to the sweep.
“It takes quite a bit of logistics for an operation of this magnitude to work this smoothly,” Morrison said. “Without agencies working together in unison and the technology used, we couldn’t effectively clean up the streets to make the citizens of San Bernardino County safe.”