In early 1997, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department recognized 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 Speakers.
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 specific misdemeanors that are handled as infractions in court. For each criminal incident 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 a judge, 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, specially trained personnel meet with the school administration to assess the overall safety of the campus. Several methods are used, including a physical survey of the campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Once the assessment is complete, options for change are made to the administration for possible corrective measures.
A wide variety of speakers and presentations are available to CleanSWEEP schools, including such topics as Sexting, Cyberbullying, Weapons on Campus, Drug Abuse Recognition, and others.