Law Enforcement Will Soon Track All Cars Into And Out Of The SB Mountain Region

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will soon intensify its electronic dragnet to ensure that it will know in real time all vehicles that are present in the San Bernardino Mountains and have a permanent record of when those vehicles entered and left the region.
Though the sheriff’s department has not publicly disclosed the precise locations where it has previously located automated license plate scanners, the capability the systems provide has been of use in collaring criminals in various areas around the county.
On numerous occasions, the devices, which are designed to make an electronic reading of license plate numbers as they pass by a certain location and both catalog the information and provide an alert in the cases where the marking of specific vehicles have been programmed into the system’s digital processor, have assisted in both solving crimes and apprehending suspects or fugitives. The data has proven useful to the sheriff’s department as well as several of the county’s municipal police departments.
In the less remote areas of the county, where a vast multiplicity of routing and access options exist, the license plate readers, while still effective in certain cases, are less than comprehensive in the information they provide.
Within the next several weeks, the sheriff’s department will acquire six more of the devices and position them so they will provide an all-encompassing profile of vehicles going into and emerging from the San Bernardino Mountains.
The concentration of the capability on the limited venues of ingress and egress to the mountain communities will take place pursuant to action this week by the board of supervisors, which authorized the county’s purchasing agent to place a $155,682 order with Vigilant Solutions, LLC for an automated license plate reader (ALPR) system, including equipment, software license and a four-year extended warranty.
According to sheriff’s captain Samuel Fisk, Captain, “The Department uses Vigilant Solutions, LLC ALPR systems to read license plates and compare the information with a state database alerting officers when vehicles of interest are observed. Vigilant has proprietary software which organizes and interfaces information with the department’s secured network.”
The county did not seek bids on the most recent license plate tracking system acquisition.
“The department is requesting authorization for the purchasing agent to issue a non-competitive purchase order with Vigilant for proprietary equipment, software and warranty of six fixed ALPR systems to be deployed in the county’s mountain region,” Fisk wrote in a report to the board of supervisors dated March 7, 2017. “Maintaining Vigilant Solutions as the vendor for ALPR systems will provide continued compatibility and eliminate costs associated with data conversion and validation to a different vendor’s system. Additionally, a transition to another vendor’s system will require that personnel incur costs to develop, test, configure, evaluate, and re-train on a new interface with the department’s secure network. Purchasing concurs with the non-competitive justification of proprietary equipment.”
There are six practical routes for vehicle-borne travelers into the San Bernadino Mountains, which include the communities of Crestline, Twin Peaks, Blue Jay, Lake Arrowhead, Running Springs, Arrowbear, Skyforest, Green Valley Lake, Valley View Park, Big Bear, Forest Falls, and Angeles Oaks. Those routes consist of Highway 138 on the west end, which originates near Cajon Pass to the northwest of the mountains and passes around the west side of Silverwood lake and up to Crestline; Route 173, which departs from Highway 138 at the Mojave River Forks on the northwest side of Silverwood Lake and then loops to the east at the periphery of Summit Valley south of Hesperia and then up the northwestern face of the San Bernardino Mountains including a stretch that is a one-lane jeep trail that is the only unpaved span of any California state highway, skimming the easterly and southerly sides of Lake Arrowhead and meeting State Route 189, Lake’s Edge Road, at the south entrance to the Lake Arrowhead mall; State Highway 18 from the north, which originates in the Mojave Desert as a looping, circuitous road before ascending to Big Bear City and proceeding through several mountain communities, Big Bear City, Green Valley Lake, Arrowbear, Skyforest, and Valley View Park, before descending down the mountains south; State Highway 18 from the south, which originates as Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino and at State Route 210 becomes Route 18 a few miles below the San Bernardino Mountains foothills and exists as a four-lane expressway that climbs at an initially gentle grade until it turns east and in a series of steeper switchbacks with panoramic views of the San Bernardino Valley, transitions into what is known as the Rim of the World Highway, and intersects with State Route 138 at Mount Anderson Junction south of Crestline; Route 330 from the South, which starts near Highland and runs northeasterly into the mountains at a six percent grade for roughly 15 miles to Running Springs, where it ends at State Route 18; and State Highway 38 from the south, which begins in Redlands as Lugonia Avenue becoming Mentone Boulevard, enters the San Bernardino National Forest moving through and adjacent to Mill Creek Canyon and then past the north side of Mountain Home Village and at Valley of the Falls Drive steepens along the southern face of the San Bernardino Mountains and after a series of tortuous and winding curves reaches Angeles Oaks beyond which it moves through an even more intensive series of undulations and radius curves and reaches Barton Flats within the San Gorgonio Wilderness at the upper reaches of the headwaters of the Santa Ana River before it reaches an elevation of 8,443 feet below 9,114 foot-elevation Oxyx Peak, making it one of the highest highways in California, and then descends onto what at that point is called Greenspot Boulevard and then moves westerly to become Big Bear Boulevard where it intersects with and becomes indistinguishable for a span with Route 18 in the Big Bear area before separating and linking up with the afore-described span of State Highway 38.
This week, San Bernardino Police Chief Berguan told the Sentinel that he considers license plate scanners to be a “very useful and productive tool in our law enforcement efforts.”
He said his department does not have any of the devices but has made arrests with regard to a number of cases within the City of San Bernardino, including, murders, rapes and burglaries based on information relayed to his department from sheriff’s department license plate scanners set up by the sheriff’s department at the periphery of San Bernardino.

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