San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan and community leaders spoke to residents about the efforts his department is undertaking to reduce crime and violence in the city.
Burguan told approximately one hundred residents and community leaders in attendance at the Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday night that current efforts involve receiving grants from state agencies and private entities, as well as increasing patrols. He surmised that statistics demonstrate that African American males between ages 18-24 make up the bulk of numbers in terms of victims and suspects.
With the help of San Bernardino City Unified School District officials and at the demand of faith based leaders, Burguan believes actions are being taken to be proactive about the situation.
“We talk about how to put things into place to impact folks,” said Burguan. “But somehow we still fail to reach certain people. There are tons of opportunities for young folks that are at risk to find a way out of their existing lifestyle. I’m not sure what the answer is to reach all of them, but let me tell you, there are no shortage of efforts going on in this city to try to do just that.”
Burguan said he met with San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon earlier in the day to discuss a plan to add deputy support for the police department. According to the police chief, several deputies will be assisting the department to target specific heavy crime areas in the city for approximately two months.
“What are we doing right now? As of right now the entire city police department is on alert status,” explained Burguan. “We’ve cancelled days off…We’ve done that right now to increase our presence on the streets.”
The 24-year veteran of the department said of the known cases they have worked this year, 75 percent of the time suspects have extensive criminal history, multiple felony arrests, and are on parole or probation status–something that he says has become frustrating.
“As I go through case after case after case, I see the same reoccurring themes,” he said. “ I see gang involvement, drug involvement, extensive criminal history, people on probation, people on parole, people on DSPS status that have been released from jail as a direct result of AB 109 and Prop. 47. I’m not here to get engaged in a political debate about that. But I’m telling you right now, from a police chief’s viewpoint our entire agency is extraordinarily frustrated to see that same reoccurring theme time after time in almost every single case that happens.”
San Bernardino City Unified School District Youth Services Director Ray Culberson said ‘dynamic relationships’ that have been created between law enforcement, educators, and city officials have resulted in intervention support programs that steer youth in the right direction.
Culberson said he will not stand on the sidelines and watch the problem persist.
“It is a personal challenge that I have to make with myself,” he said. “I will not be the person who sees a kid with a problem and not try to address it.”
Resident Sharon Sadrudeen, a single mother of two, explained her son’s father was murdered near Arroyo Valley High School. She said if she had a wish, it would be for parents to become more involved and engaged with their children.
“There are no excuses,” she said. “Our children didn’t ask to come into this world. Change comes when we make change. We can’t expect this gentleman (Burguan), or Dr. Marsden or mother [Dr. Margaret] Hill to do it. It begins at home.”
Faith based leaders and educators continue to seek resolutions to gun violence
Community leaders emphasized communication and collaboration in the latest forum to bring up ideas and solutions to reduce violence in the City of San Bernardino.
The Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) held the public meeting at St. Anthony’s Church last Wednesday — asking officials from the San Bernardino Police Department to create a task force, maintain collaboration with community organizations, and seek state and federal funding to create and support an intervention program.
Common Ground for Peace, an ICUC intervention plan that garnered motivation from Operation Ceasefire in Richmond–will be a product of collaboration and communication between faith based leaders, residents, and law enforcement.
ICUC asked SBPD police captains Raymond King and Paul Williams to ask Chief Burguan to respond to three requests: creating a taskforce to secure grant funding that will demand monthly meetings to coordinate Common Ground for Peace; remaining committed to the intervention program; and seek state and federal funding to prioritize putting an end to crime and violence in the city.
Reverend Bronica Martindale-Taylor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church said success for Common Ground for Peace will be determined through the community’s ability to work together.
“People have established key relationships with groups,” she said. “Until we acknowledge and approach one another, we will continue to remain fragmented.”