Officers SMASH into streets for gang sweep
Task force coordinator: 'Gang activity will not be tolerated'
More the 60 officers from nine departments across San Bernardino County swarmed Barstow-area streets on Friday night with one objective in mind: "To throw as many crooks in that jail that need to be in jail and let the citizens of Barstow know that gang activity will not be tolerated," Sgt. Gaylen Bohner said.
Bohner coordinates the San Bernardino County Movement Against Street Hoodlums task force focused on curbing ganging activity countywide. On Friday, police officers from Colton, Redlands, Ontario, Fontana and other organizations made the trip up to Barstow to assist the Barstow Police Department, Barstow sheriff's station and California Highway Patrol station in efforts to control Barstow's criminal element
"You do one of these gang sweeps out here, and you never know what you are going to find," said CHP officer Jeff Moran.
By 8 p.m., the sweep netted 23 arrests of suspected gang members either on probation or parole or wanted on warrents. With four hours left in the sweep, Det. Scott Landen of the Barstow station expected that number to reach into the 40s by the end of the night.
"Hopefully, we will have an impact on crime in Barstow, slowing things down a bit and letting people know we're out there," Landen said.
Sheriff's deputies set up a command post at the Bureau of Land Management building and Barstow Road. Participating officers met there first, received their instructions from local gang experts and then hit the streets. Landen said for the first part of the evening, the sweep would focus on specific offenders with ties to known gangs.
Armed with lists of names and addresses of parolees, people on probation and wanted on warrants, the officers, many of whom had never been to Barstow before, started knocking on doors, making contact and arresting gang members. Once the SMASH officers exhausted their lists, Landen said, they stuck around and saturated the streets with patrol cars.
CHP officers from the Barstow station arrested two suspected members of a local gang during the sweep on Friday. Officer Tad Jeffrey said one of the suspects had a $100,000 warrant for his arrest and the other, a parolee, had drugs in his possession.
Connie Standley, a deputy district attorney in Barstow who handles a majority of the area's gang cases, said possession arrests — drugs or guns — are the most common arrests made during these sweeps. Gang members in possession of guns, she said, pose a serious problem.
"Why do they have guns? They have guns to shoot at other gang members or use in drivebys," she said.
Standley said sweeps help the district attorney's office keep track of area gang members and get them off the street.
"It's a way to get someone already on probation more time, stricter terms or send them to prison," she said.
Friday's sweep was the first in Barstow in a few years. Deputies and detectives from the Barstow station participated in a similar sweep in Rialto on Thursday. Eighteen people were arrested during that sweep, Landen said.
BS Ranch Perspective;
It is always good to do a sweep every now and again, Just like your home you have to sweep the rooms to get the dust out the room and clean the room and keep it clean from Parasites from crawling in the dark in those rooms. Looking at this in the same way only at the city streets, the Sweeps are needed to find out where gang members have crawled off to live, some of the gang members are bad people and there moving around needs to be kept in check, and the way that Law Enforcement does this in one way is to do sweeps and ask the Gang members that hang out with the really bad ones, find out where their friends are. In most cases we find out and are able to keep an updated address book on these gang members so when a crime that happens that they are most likely the suspect for, it is our job then to act on it!! This is a great tool for Law Enforcement and well, a wonderful tool to keep records up to date.
The only bad part about a sweep in the high desert is that they look for another welcome city for their Gang to move to, where they can set up and move to do their crime plans, soon they are looking at Rialto again it is a Central location and there are plenty of Apartment Complexes that are under rented and looking for people that will be able to pay their rent, IF a Gang Member comes in and says that he will pay his rent a year in advance, who or what owner would pass that one up??
The bad part is that the Gang Member is only willing to pay three months in advance and then they will start to given the land owner a bunch of headaches and they will stay on the premises as long as they can. Soon they will be running that area and we will have another Winchester Apartment complex all over again and the City of Rialto will have to purchase a huge Apartment complex tearing it down and then rebuilding it again only to have a non-profit agency to run it. weird but has been working with minimal problems so far.