COUNTY SUPERVISORS HOLD A COVID-19 PRESS CONFERENCE

County Supervisors, and heads of about a dozen county departments on the front lines in dealing with the COVID -19 crisis yesterday morning held a press conference on county government’s efforts to respond to the expanding public health emergency. Reporter Mike Lipsitz files this report…

The primary message from yesterday’s press conference was for the pubic to do the right thing. Board Chair Curt Hagman urged that everyone protect themselves and keep from spreading the virus to your friends, coworkers and loved ones. Stay home, observe social distancing, and isolate yourself if you suspect you may be infected.

Trudy Raymundo

County Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo, reported 38 confirmed cases of novel Coronavirus and one death. She emphasized that the core mission of her department is to protect the two million residents. Testing remains a top priority because, she said, “we know that we do not understand the extent or the magnitude of this disease right now in our county simply because our test capacity has been limited.” A pilot appointment only, drive-through test event will be held tomorrow. The when and where will be announced on the county’s COVID-19 website wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/coronavirus.  Because of the limited number of tests (about 400), only those who meet certain criteria will be given an appointment. Those criteria and an application for the test may be found at the county’s Covid-19 website as well. Tests are taking five to seven days for results to come back except in critical circumstances where immediate results are called for. More test sites will be established throughout the county. The county has established a COVID-19 public hotline at 909-387-3911 for general, non-medial information and online at https//BIT.LY/SANCOVID.

Curt Hagman

Board Chair Curt Hagman said county hospitals are prepared. County is not sharing locations of those who have contracted the virus. There are plenty of supplies; don’t hoard, allow supply chains to catch up. County services are all operating. Do your part, heed the orders to stay home and observe recommended practices. Test kits are in short supply. The county has administered just 460 tests thus far.

Concerning short term vacation rentals, County Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo said the order prohibiting such rentals is being amended for clarity. She emphasized that the governor’s order is to stay home. that means your home and not someone else’s home. That is part of an effort to flatten the curve of new infections by practicing social distancing.

The podium at the County’s press conference on the coronavirus was sanitized and disinfected between speakers.
Video screenshot

Dr. Webster Wong, Chief of Medical Staff at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, said, “We are preparing for the unexpected and to respond to any surge of sick patients.” As for medical advice to prevent the spread of this virus, Dr. Wong advised everyone to:

•        Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

•        If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

•        Use social distancing of at least six feet because the virus is easily spread; it can survive in the air or on surfaces for long periods of time.

•        Do not touch your face especially with unclean hands.

•        Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

•        If you have cough, fever, or have been exposed to someone with the virus but do not have breathing problems, stay at home in isolation, rest, hydrate, control your fever with medication.

•        If you have these symptoms and have an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, unstable asthma or are immunocompromised, please call Arrowhead Regional Medical Center or the County Health Department to be screened. I

•        And if you have any of the above conditions, and have breathing problems, go to the emergency room,

Dr. Rodney Borger, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, said his department regularly prepares for disasters including global pandemics. He reassured the public that there is a strong plan and that “together we will get through this.” They are preparing to rapidly increase hospital capacity with a goal of 30 to 50 percent. A high-level viral containment unit has been established. A number of things are in short supply, masks, gowns, gloves, and tests are in limited supply. By mid-April, ARMC aims to have sufficient quantities of tests and same day results.

Dan Munsey

County Fire Chief Dan Munsey said the outbreak is much like a fire. His department is working closely with other departments. Calls to 911 are segregated with suspected COVID-19 cases handled separately. All fire personnel are closely monitored several times a day. Responders have the equipment needed, although much of it is in short supply. When you call 911, suspected cases are asked to wait outside the building for protection of first responders. Fire departments throughout the district are working together.

Supervisor Jose Gonzales addressed Spanish speakers advising everyone to observe recommended practices such as social distancing, hand washing and other strategies to slow the spread of the virus.

Ted Alejandre

Ted Alejandre, County Superintendent of Schools representing 33 school districts and over 400,000 students, 19,000 teachers and other administrators and employees, said all schools are closed until May 1, but the county continues efforts to see that students continue to learn as well as receive nutritional support. The schools are attempting to leverage best practices for continued learning.

Daniel Munoz, County Director of the Office of Emergency Services, plays a critical-behind-the scenes support for the agencies involved in the crisis. OES helps coordinate all the first responders and others involved.

Sheriff John McMahon

County Sheriff John McMahon reported procedures at county jails have changed in response to the outbreak. New detainees are tested and isolated if showing any signs of the virus. Bookings are down approximately 18 percent since the crisis began presumably because of fewer people on the streets and other reasons. The sheriff’s department continues to maintain public safety.  

2ND VIRUS DEATH IN THE COUNTY, 54 CONFIRMED CASES

A 46-year-old man with underlying health conditions is the second person in San Bernardino County to die from the novel coronavirus, officials said Wednesday evening. As of this morning, there are now 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, up from 38 reported yesterday. Tuesday, the county reported its first death from the virus, a 50-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Earlier Wednesday, public health officials announced plans to offer a pilot coronavirus testing site by the end of the week. Details will be posted on the county’s website today. Officials plan to update the county website with the latest number of cases at 5 p.m. daily.

SCHOOL DISTRICT CREATING ONLINE CLASSES

With countywide school closures being extended through May 1, Morongo Unified School District teachers are working to transition their curriculum, lessons, and assignments to students electronically. Reporter Andrew Dieleman has the details…

To help students continue their education during the school closure, MUSD announced that beginning Monday, March 30, school lessons will be provided to students through digital education platforms, such as Google Classroom, Class Dojo, or Remind. MUSD teachers are currently being trained to transition assignments for students to the digital platforms. Completed work will not be graded and students will not be penalized for not completing the work. Students who do not have access to a computer or internet can contact their school’s principal for additional support in accessing the curriculum. More information will be provided as the online classrooms are completed.

STATE ASSEMBLYMAN CHAD MAYES ON THE Z107.7 “UP CLOSE” SHOW TOMORROW

California Assemblyman Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley will be the guest on the Z107.7 Up Close Show tomorrow, March 27. Mayes, the former Republican minority leader in the California Assembly, left the Republican party in December and is now running for re-election to the Assembly as an Independent against Republican candidate Andrew Kotyuk. Call 760-366-8471 tomorrow with your questions, comments, and concerns, and talk to Assemblyman Chad Mayes during the Up Close Show on Z107.7, starting at 10 a.m.

SEVEN NAMED MORONGO BASIN LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS OF THE YEAR

The Morongo Basin chapter of the International Footprint Association was to have recognized its Officer of the Year honorees at a ceremony in Yucca Valley tonight. However, the event was cancelled due to public safety concerns. Managing editor Tami Roleff introduces us to the seven officers who are being honored this year…

The Morongo Basin chapter of the International Footprint Association honors an officer from each of the branches of law enforcement in the Morongo Basin. Officers of the Year for 2019 are California Highway Patrol Jake Griffith; Deputy Adrian Garcia from Joshua Tree Court Services; Ranger Nathan Lewis from Joshua Tree National Park; Deputy Natthaniel Campos, of the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station; Probation Officer David Magana; and from the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Special Agent Doreanne Bati from Naval Criminal Investigative Services and Sergeant Ryan Boardman of the Provost Marshal’s Office. Summaries of why each officer was nominated can be found with this story at z1077fm.com.

CHP Officer Jake Griffith

The Morongo Basin Area of the California Highway Patrol is very proud of their 2020 Officer of The Year nominee. 

This outstanding individual was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in Rapid City, Michigan.  He attended Douglas High School, which is near Mount Rushmore, where he prepared himself for his college education.  He attended and graduated from the United States Naval Academy, Class of 2002, with a degree in General Science, where he studied physics, advanced mathematics, chemistry, engineering, biology and computer science.  He has continued his education and earned a Master of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from Marshal University.  He met his wife Nina, originally from Berlin, Germany, while attending college in Annapolis in 2000 through mutual friends.  They fell in love and were married in 2003.  They have two children, ages 9 and 10.

He has served in the United States Marine Corps and held the ranks of Second and First Lieutenant before attaining the rank of Captain where he has served in many capacities including, Fleet Support Division of Marine Corps Logistics Command, Head of the Maintenance Branch for Marine Corps Logistics Command Company West, Base Motorcycle Safety Officer in Charge, Antiterrorism Officer, Alternate Physical Security and Safety Officer.  He has attained and is currently a Major in the United States Marine Reserve and throughout his active and reserve time has served two tours under Operation Iraqi Freedom and one tour under Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  His present position is the Exercise Officer for reserve forces in Europe and Africa.  He has also held positions as Civil Liaison Officer with 1st Civil Affairs Group, as well as deputy Operations Officer and Foreign Security Force Advisor with Task Force Southwest, II MEP, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel/Resolute Support.  He has been awarded numerous commendations to include the Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the NATO Medal.  

He entered the CHP Academy in 2008 and now holds an advanced POST certificate.  He has completed the Robert Presley Institute in Homicide Investigation and is has served on the San Bernardino County Auto Theft Task Force, where he has been credited with countless vehicle recoveries with an estimated value into the millions of dollars.  He has written and served countless search warrants for chop shops and insurance fraud cases.  He is a Drug Recognition Expert and has logged over 320 arrests, the majority for drug influence.  He is a Drug Recognition Expert Trainer and teaches both CHP and allied agency officers in the detection and apprehension of drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  He has been recognized as an expert in the field and has testified in court to secure convictions in vehicular manslaughter and other felony cases.  He currently is assigned road patrol duties in the Morongo Basin Area and also serves as the Area Vehicle Identification Number Officer, where he inspects and verifies vehicles for possible fraud or theft related issues. 

This past year, he was tasked with starting an explorer post at the Morongo Basin CHP Area.  He was hand selected by his supervisors to become the lead advisor due to his military background as a Major in the United States Marine Corp and a graduate of United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.  He jumped right in, contacted the local high school principals and began recruiting.  Due to his efforts, we were able to recruit six dedicated applicants and recruitment is continuing.  After a lengthy background process, the applicants became cadets and he, with the assistance of associate advisors, began the Level 1 Explorer Academy.  The Area has been very pleased with his leadership and guidance in the role.  His hard work and dedication to the program has been pivotal in its success and undoubtedly will build the confidence, character, and professionalism required for these young people to move forward in life and become law enforcement officers. 

He was nominated by his peers and supervisors alike and based on all these things, it is with distinct pleasure that the California Highway Patrol, Morongo Basin Area, nominates Officer Jake Griffith as the 2020 Officer of The Year.

Deputy Natthaniel Campos

Deputy Natthaniel Campos graduated from the 186th class of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Academy, in 2012. Campos was assigned to the High Desert Detention Center from September of 2012, until July of 2013. From July 2013 until present, Campos has been assigned to the Morongo Basin Station. In January of 2018, Campos was assigned as the CFS/APS Deputy, in the Detective Bureau.
Campos’ primary duties include investigating Child and Family Services (CFS) and Adult Protective Services (APS) follow ups, to determine if a crime occurred. When there is evidence of a crime, Campos is diligent to assure the victim receives justice. Campos partners with CFS/APS, the Children’s Assessment Center, as well as the Sheriff’s Department Crimes Against Children Detail. Campos has received training in Children’s Forensic Interviews, Child Abuse Investigation, and Sexual Assault Investigations. Campos conducts frequent briefing training to teach newer deputies about child abuse cases, and interviewing children.
Campos investigated a report of physical abuse to a 4-year-old female and recognized signs of severe child abuse present in the child. Campos assisted the Crimes Against Children Detail by arresting the mother for multiple serious felony crimes. Campos investigated a report of child sexual abuse, resulting in the arrest of a family member for the crime. The suspect was found guilty on all charges and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Campos is one of the Search and Rescue coordinators at the station. He led 6 missions within the last year, looking for missing hikers, children, and disabled adults.

Campos is a field training officer, who trained five new deputies in all phases of training.
Campos is an established leader among his peers and is known as a tenacious investigator, who will not stop until all leads are exhausted. I am proud to present Deputy Natthaniel Campos as the recipient of the Morongo Basin Footprint Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.

Joshua Tree Court Services Deputy Of The Year Adrian Garcia

Deputy Adrian Garcia became part of the Joshua Tree Court Services team in October 2017. Prior to his assignment to Court Services Deputy Garcia worked patrol for 16 years in the Morongo Basin. He provided law enforcement services to the County area of the Basin as well as to the Town of Yucca Valley and the City of Twentynine Palms. Due to Deputy Garcia’s extensive patrol experience he was selected to be a Field Training Officer and during that assignment he trained 16 new deputies.

Upon arrival in the courts deputy Garcia immediately familiarized himself with the various aspects of performing the duties of a criminal court bailiff as well as the duties of a custody officer.

Deputy Garcia is respected by his peers, court staff and the various judges of the Joshua Tree Court District. He possesses excellent interpersonal skills which makes him highly effective in dealing with the public. He is a diligent employee who can be relied upon to complete any assigned task without supervision.

Deputy Garcia is an excellent team member and works well with the various court staff personnel which is a prerequisite for successful integration into the court system working environment.

Probation Officer David Magana

Officer David Magana has been employed with the San Bernardino County Probation Department as a probation officer for almost 2 years. He is currently assigned to a juvenile supervision unit in Joshua Tree, California. Many of the youth he supervises live in remote areas, lack transportation, and suffer from poor family dynamics.

Officer Magana has spent countless hours working and guiding youth and their families to improve communication skills, family dynamics, and behavior modification. Most probation officers submit referrals for services when the youth and their families are in need of individual and family counseling; however, Officer Magana goes beyond the call of duty to ensure his youth are receiving the necessary services and tools to better themselves and to improve family relations.

On one particular occasion, a youth on his caseload failed to appear to her court hearing in San Bernardino, due to a lack of parental guidance and transportation. The Court continued the hearing to another day. However, a few days prior to the rescheduled hearing, the youth called Officer Magana in a state of panic; she was in fear of the Court issuing a warrant, because she was unable to find a way to get to her hearing. Officer Magana recognized the youth was trying to do the right thing and wanted to assist her. He called the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office to see if the matter could be rescheduled. However, the court date could not be rescheduled, so he decided to take action; on the day of the hearing, he and another probation officer drove to the youth’s home in 29 Palms, picked her up, and transported her to court in San Bernardino. He then drove her home following the court hearing.

After that occurrence, Officer Magana realized the youth and her family were in need of intervention, as her parent was not involved and there was immense turmoil within their relationship. Additionally, the youth’s home life was extremely unstable and her attendance in school was extraordinarily poor. Like most probation officers, Officer Magana submitted a referral for counseling services for the youth and her mother. The counseling services consists of family, parent, and individual counseling, which also includes Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings.

Not only did Officer Magana submit a referral for counseling, he went the extra mile to ensure her success and believed it was necessary to be a part of her treatment. He attended the very first CFT meeting, and continues to be included in every CFT meeting with the youth, her mother, and the CFT counselors. Because of his efforts and rapport with the family, the youth and her mother have made tremendous progress.

Officer Magana is not just involved with that particular youth, he makes it a priority to attend most CFT meetings for all of his youth who are referred for services. Officer Magana is diligent, caring, treats everyone with respect, improves morale with his clients, carries a positive attitude, and is always willing to go the extra mile to help his clients reach success.

Joshua Tree National Park Ranger Nathan Lewis

Nathan Lewis is a true ranger’s-ranger. The position employs multiple disciples to include law enforcement, search and rescue, EMS, and wildland firefighting. These disciplines are executed not only in developed areas of national parks but also in extreme backcountry wilderness. Lewis is an absolute professional that takes every opportunity to hone his skills for any emergency, despite geographical and logistical challenges.

Lewis’ supervisor Dustin Waters writes: “Ranger Lewis serves as a prime example of a dedicated, professional law enforcement officer. He is methodical and detail-oriented, always willing to help, and takes on new tasks with enthusiasm. Whether he is developing a backcountry patrol program, or putting together training with search and rescue staff, and even helping me with my own reports, Ranger Lewis can be counted on time and time again for his thoroughness. He realizes the importance of working on a team. He is an excellent team resource for his knowledge of the law. I periodically catch him reviewing agency policy. Ranger Lewis completes his own investigations with meticulous organization and in a timely manner.

In the year I have supervised Ranger Lewis, I have seen him perform as incident commander on a complex, multi-day search and rescue… provide guidance on and participate in the removal of illegal climbing bolts; teach EMS coursework; assist resource management multiple times in park helicopter operations as a helicopter crew member. These are just a few examples of how he performs on a daily basis. He is a pleasure to supervise and a joy to work beside on incidents. In my opinion, Ranger Lewis possesses the essential qualities of a model Law Enforcement Park Ranger.”

Sergeant Ryan Boardman

Sergeant Ryan Boardman is an exemplary Marine and Law Enforcement professional who consistently displays motivation, drive, and leadership far above his peers.

The experience and knowledge Sergeant Boardman possesses has made him an irreplaceable asset to the Marine Corps Police program. Sergeant Boardman is a capable Watch Commander with who navigates the position with ease, proficiency, and little to no assistance from his superiors. Sergeant Boardman partook as the reporting official for (220) criminal and non-criminal cases including suicide attempts, larcenies, DUI’s, assaults, and domestic violence cases; all of which were highly detailed and free of discrepancies. He has earned the respect of those under his charge as well as his superiors, with a constant display of exceptional leadership abilities. He possesses an unmatched work ethic and constant desire to go above and beyond his duties of what is expected at his rank. As a result, he was hand-selected by the Combat Center Command to ensure the safe transportation and security of the Commandant of the Marine Corps and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps during their visit aboard the Combat Center. Later, Sergeant Boardman was nominated and awarded Marine Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for the Combat Center.

Sergeant Boardman also volunteered as an Instructor for HQBN’s Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar ensuring the successful graduation of (43) Lance Corporals as well as, an instructor for Corporal Course ensuring the successful graduation of (47) Corporals of Marines. Sergeant Boardman volunteers at Full Psycle in Palm Springs, assisting clients improve their nutrition and physical insight, training new instructors, and assisting other staff while he is off duty. He also volunteers at the Single Marine Program (SMP) aboard the Combat Center with various events. As a result of his commitment to the Marines and community, he is a key player in making the local communities grow, become cohesive, and raise their fitness levels and morale.

For dedication to his profession, the Marine Corps, and his unwavering on and off duty conduct, it is with utmost enthusiasm that Sgt. Ryan Boardman is recommended for Morongo Basin Footprint Association Law Enforcement Officer of the year.

NCIS Special Agent Dorieanne Bati

Special Agent (SA) Dorieanne Bati, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Resident Agency Twentynine Palms, performed superbly and set herself apart from her peers in the area of general crime enforcement. She has been a Special Agent with NCIS since September of 2017. Prior to joining NCIS, SA Bati served as a Security Specialist for Intelligence Related Contracting and Special Programs at the SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, San Diego and as a Force Protection Security Assistant at Naval Base San Diego.

Since arriving at NCISRA Twentynine Palms, SA Bati has epitomized the qualities every Special Agent should exhibit: professionalism, resourcefulness, and attention to detail. SA Bati’s efforts and dedication at NCISRA Twentynine Palms, have directly contributed to the NCIS mission of protecting Navy and Marine Corps personnel, family members, DOD personnel and other assets. SA Bati strives to achieve excellence in every case, and this drive has fostered the respect of her peers and led to the successful prosecution of multiple serious criminal cases during 2019. In 2019, SA Bati held amongst the highest caseload at NCISRA Twentynine Palms, initiating and participating in 31 investigations in 2019.

Assigned to the General Crimes squad, SA BATI worked the full spectrum of criminal investigations, to include sexual assault, death investigations, larcenies, narcotics, child physical/sexual investigations, child exploitation, child pornography and domestic violence. Additionally, SA Bati is a Major Crime Response Team Member in a high tempo office, Fire Warden, and Primary Evidence Custodian.

In addition to overseeing and conducting criminal investigations, SA Bati is proactive at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms. She initiates in crime reduction strategies by conducting briefs on sexual assault, narcotics, child pornography, and additional general crimes investigated by NCIS to generally 100-200 Marines a week. In addition, she conducted numerous NCIS Counterintelligence and Insider Threat briefs.

SA Bati is proactive in coordinating and conducting investigations with local state and federal law enforcement partners. In 2019, SA Bati has worked with the FBI, DCIS, HSI, California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, and other organizations throughout the NCISRA Twentynine Palms area of responsibility. This interaction promotes interagency support and information sharing.

Despite her junior tenure with NCIS, SA Bati consistently displayed admirable traits, and she was selected to lead the NCIS Twentynine Palms office after the departure of the previous supervisor. During the summer of 2019, SA Bati served as acting Supervisory Special Agent, wherein she regularly briefed NCIS Field Office Camp Pendleton management on all high profile investigations, and maintained oversight and review an all active cases. She served as acting supervisor while simultaneously maintaining her current caseload.