In early 1997, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department recognized that there was a growing trend of crime on school campuses in the County. A committee of deputies, lawyers, judges, probation officers and school officials was formed to assess the problem and to design a program that could offer a safer campus to our students. The result was Operation CleanSWEEP, a multifaceted program that seeks to enhance the security of all students in county schools, while at the same time establishing responsibility, discipline, and accountability in respect to student’s actions.
In September 1997, Sheriff Gary Penrod launched Operation CleanSWEEP on several county high school campuses. Three components (among others) made available to the schools are the Juvenile Citation Program, the School Security Assessment, and Special Projects.
The Principals and Administration use the Juvenile Citation Program at the school campus. The staff are instructed by deputies and made “proctors” after they learn how to recognize the crimes of PC415, PC308B, PC374.4, PC488/490.1, PC594(a)(1) & (2), PC640.6, PC647F, BP25662 and HS11357E. For each of these incidents that occurs on campus, the trained proctor will write the student a citation. A deputy will then review the citation and issue a copy to the juvenile. All juvenile citations are heard in adult superior court..
When the juvenile shows up in court, he or she will face the judge, or Hearing Officer, who will impose a disposition such as dismissed, convicted, or convicted with a suspended sentence. Sentences can range from community service, anger management or smoking cessation classes, improvement of school grades, or an actual monetary fine. Fines can range anywhere from $100 to $400 or more, and yes, if the student is not working and can’t afford to pay, his or her parents must pay the fine, though the court will work with the student to hold him or her accountable.
The second aspect of the CleanSWEEP Program is the School Security Assessment. In this program a team of deputies meets with the school administration to assess the overall security of the campus. Several tests are used, including questionnaires to staff and students, as well as a physical survey of the campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Once the assessment is complete, recommendations are made to the administration on possible corrective measures.
The third aspect of CleanSWEEP involves special projects and presentations for students, their parents and the school staff. Sexting and gang presentations are just a few of the offerings currently scheduled at participating schools. Training will be tailored to fit the needs of the campus and the school community.
In the 13 years Operation CleanSWEEP has been in effect, there has been a substantial effect on crime on every campus where it is utilized. The increased cooperation and partnership between all of the agencies involved has resulted in both students and administration at these schools reporting they feel their campus has a safer learning and living environment.
For more information on the CleanSWEEP Program, please contact Clark Morrow at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Public Affairs Division, (909) 387-3700.
San Bernardino County of Superintendant of Schools